Brazil Elects Their Own Donald Trump, Bolsonaro Starts Presidency Off With Purging Restrictive Gun Laws, and Leftist and Communist Officials

Brazil has elected their own president who is on the path to trumping the Communist influenced officials in Brazilian government offices. With the new right-wing president and former Army Captain Jair Bolsonaro, replacing the former centrist president Michel Temer, who was vice-president to the previously impeached democratic socialist president Dilma Rousseff. Rousseff’s presidency was cut short due to numerous scandals leading to the senate’s decision to impeach her in reaction to the 2015-2016 protests by millions of Brazilians for her role in her political party, Brazil’s Workers’ Party, in taking bribes for contracts in the state owned energy company, Petrobras. This scandal is what ignited the investigations that brought to light many other scandals she Rousseff was involved in, which lead to her impeachment with a 61 out of 81 of the senators voting for her impeachment. Her powers were suspended on May 12th, 2016 and transferred to her vice-president, Temer, who immediately took the role as acting president, then was sworn in on August 31st, 2016 to serve the remainder of the term.

Jair Bolsonaro is a major swing to the right from both previous presidents, and with the strong leftist influence now voted out, the country is seeing immediate change brought upon the newly elected right wing party. While many have been in disfavor with the previously corrupt leftist government, the country has been swept with many changes that many still initially opposed, but are now starting to turn favor, such as gun control. Brazilian gun laws resulted in the lowest legal gun ownership in South America, with the highest gun violence rates. One of Bolsonaro’s policies including relaxing gun control measures to help ordinary civilians have the means to protect themselves. While the left has strongly opposed this proposition, the  general population is increasing in support of this new policy, from back in 2015 with only 30% of polls showing favor to a current poll increasing support to 51%, a significant increase in response to recent years which brought up an influx to the homicide rate. Brazil’s homicide rate hit record high back in 2017 with 32.4 out of 100,000 people were murdered. In contrast, Mexico had a lower crime rate with 25 out of 100,000 people losing their lives by homicide. The United States homicide rate is 5 out of 100,000 people killed back in 2015( the most recent year in which data is available). Bolsonaro vows to loosen the restrictive gun control measures in aims to quell the homicide rate that has been seen on the rise since the 2003 Disarmament Statute, which declined the murder rate 12% in the first 4 years, but then has risen further than before as fewer Brazilians were able to defend themselves from the crime.

Bolsonaro also plans on countering Russian influence over Brazil, calling them “Soviet forces”, by offering to host a U.S. Military base in the country. Not only has this decision been made to prevent post-cold war communist countries, but also for a hopeful cooperation between the United States and Brazil. Bolsonaro calls Donald Trump the “Most powerful man in the world”, and hopes to take example from the U.S. president on rebuilding the military to protect the country from socialism, and political correctness. A meeting between the two leaders is anticipated in the future.

The decision to have a U.S. base in Brazil is one method at reversing the previously democratic socialist dominated government. In the span of a few years the country went from electing Democratic Socialist for the past 4 presidential terms, rapidly to the right after Centrist and vice-president to the former Rousseff, Temer, served the remainder of Rousseff’s second term. 

Bolsonaro has started a purge against left-wing government officials, dismissing approximately 300 people with the goal of eliminating centrist and left wing influences on Brazilian politics. President Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni calls this “cleaning house” necessary to remove many of these officials who are working on temporary contracts and removing them is vital to “do away with the Socialist and Communist ideas that during 30 years have led us to the chaos in which we live”. The new president is hopeful to keep communism out of Brazil, chanting with the crowd, Brazilian flag in hand, “Our flag will never be red”.

-By Mike Klusa