If the popular media can be believed (they can’t), new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is in a lot of trouble. The narrative being circulated is that Bolsonaro, elected on a tough-on-crime platform to enforce a mandate against corruption, has skeletons in his closet and associations that de-legitimize his ongoing push to clean up the impoverished third-world nation that put him into power.
“We now have extraordinarily close links between President Bolsonaro’s son … and the most criminal and dangerous and terrifying militia in all of Brazil, clearly linked to the assassination of City Councilwoman Marielle Franco,” said Intercept reporter Glenn Greenwald, who is an opponent of Bolsonaro due to his comments regarding homosexuals, in a sensationalized report about recent Brazilian news.
The intrigue stems from Brazil’s Council for Financial Activities Control (COAF) finding that €270,000 ($305,000) was sent to chauffeur and bodyguard Fabricio Jose de Queiroz, who used to work for Bolsonaro’s son Flavio. It is speculated that Queiroz received cash from individuals who were officially employed at Flavio’s state legislature office supposedly as part of a kickback scheme that is commonplace in Brazil’s corrupt system. While this may be a noteworthy development, opponents of Bolsonaro have seized upon the story and amplified it to hamstring his young presidency.
Flavio is also close with Adriano Magalhaes da Nobrega, a controversial militant who was a former law enforcement officer before going rogue. Nobrega’s militia is accused of leading a death squad against lesbian feminist politician Marielle Franco last year. Franco’s widow, Monica Benicio, is a leading anti-Bolsonaro campaigner pushing a far-left agenda to depose the sitting President. Bolsonaro and his sons are on the record supporting citizen militias as the means to protect public safety and reduce skyrocketing rates of violence. Bolsonaro even issued an edict calling for more private gun ownership to put criminals on notice. Mere support of militias in an area known for its squalor and lawlessness is not evidence of a murderous agenda.
The arguments against Bolsonaro and his family echo the arguments made against Trump and supporters of the National Rifle Association by American liberals. Only in Brazil, extreme violence is a way of life throughout the nation and the problem is only worsening. The murder rate hit a record high in 2017 as an astounding 63,880 people were murdered – a tally of 175 people per day. Even the crime-stricken inner cities of America do not come close to reaching these shocking numbers. Bolsonaro’s tough talk regarding crime while waxing poetic about the policies of the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil until 1985 has alarmed human rights activists, but the crisis has undoubtedly reached epidemic proportions. Those who would like to dissolve the militias have no serious plan to reduce crime, other than living with the dangerous status quo.
It is just too early to tell if Bolsonaro is an authoritarian at the present time, so early into his tenure as President. This socialist politician who openly pushed LGBT beliefs in a machismo-laden nation known for violence could very easily have been murdered by another rival with no connections to Bolsonaro. However, we do know that an assassination attempt in the form of a vicious stabbing happened to Bolsonaro at the hands of a violent leftist terrorist. The attempted assassin, Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, was a Socialism and Liberty Party member for seven years before going on his rampage. We can only speculate about Bolsonaro’s possible role in violence and corruption, but we know for a fact that his opponents are guilty of all the crimes of which they accuse the President. Just as we cannot trust ANTIFA to give an accurate record of domestic terrorism in the United States, we cannot rely on Bolsonaro’s left-wing opposition to speak the truth about threats in Brazil.
To play devil’s advocate for a second, let’s assume that Bolsonaro was guilty of every accusation levied against him by his opponents. Should Brazil go back to suffering through communist hell because Bolsonaro is blemished? Should the criminals once again rule the streets because of some events that might not even matter in the grand scheme of things? Should the Brazilian people really forget about making their country great again because their leader is imperfect? It is hard to deny that Brazil was in complete shambles before Bolsonaro came into power, and his policy prescriptions would fix many of the nation’s structural problems. Bolsonaro intends to free the markets, re-Christianize the culture, restore national pride, and combat cultural Marxism. The people must stand behind him through thick and thin if they consider these ends to be worthwhile.
It would be difficult to find any leader in the world today or throughout the annals of history who was not on some level dirty. The U.S. deep state wants Americans to turn their backs on Trump because of certain shady associates and troubling connections. The Brazilian deep state similarly wants its people to lose sight of what is important. Any leader who stands against internationalism and the powerful special interests benefiting from this global system is inevitably going to be maligned with fake news reports and promulgated or exaggerated scandals. We must retain the discernment to separate the genuine from the counterfeit while being careful to avoid hysterical witch hunts against leaders who desperately need our support. Bolsonaro has put his life on the line — just as many leaders around the world including Trump have done — to save his nation. The least we can do is stand beside him and others as they attempt a truly gargantuan feat to stop globalism.