Trump & Bolsonaro: A Neo-Fascist Love Affair.

AMAZON PINK DOLPHIN 4/11/2018

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Trump joy over Bolsonaro suggests new rightwing axis in Americas and beyond

US president says he will ‘work closely together’ with Brazil’s new hard-right leader while world’s far-right politicians share delight

A Jair Bolsonaro supporter celebrates in Rio on Monday. Bolsonaro is arguably the most rightwing leader elected anywhere in the world this century.
A Jair Bolsonaro supporter celebrates in Rio on Monday. Bolsonaro is arguably the most rightwing leader elected anywhere in the world this century. Photograph: Sergio Moraes/Reuters

A new axis in the Americas looked possible on Monday as Donald Trump expressed his delight at the victory of the extreme rightwing politician Jair Bolsonaro in the Brazilian presidential election.

The US leader said he had had an “excellent call” with the former army captain who openly admires dictatorship and torture. “We agreed that Brazil and the United States will work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else!” he tweeted.

The remarks suggest an affinity that could reshape politics in the region and beyond.

The US and Brazil already have a cordial relationship, but the suggestion of more military collaboration is likely to be viewed with concern in Venezuela, where Trump has threatened intervention.

Any change in trade relations would also alarm China, which is Brazil’s main source of exports as well as a target of sanctions threats by the US president.

Former army captain Bolsonaro, who has a general as his running mate, is arguably the most rightwing leader elected anywhere in the world this century.

He supports wider gun ownership, more lethal police actions, the opening of the Amazon to agribusiness, and fewer rights for indigenous and quilombola communities. He has been condemned for misogyny, homophobia and racism.

But, after years of rising crime, corruption scandals and economic austerity, voters saw him as the representative of change. Bolsonaro secured more than 55 million votes, giving him an almost 10-point margin of victory in Latin America’s biggest country and the world’s fourth largest democracy.

Nationalist politicians from the US to Europe celebrated the rise to power of an avowed admirer of dictatorship, while there was a muted acceptance by democratic governments and trade partners, many of which are weakened by internal division.

“Even in Brazil, the citizens have sent the left packing,” said Matteo Salvini, Italy’s extreme-right interior minister in a gleeful tweet that was shared by Richard Spencer, the US neo-Nazi leader.

In France, the far-right politician Marine Le Pen had previously refused to endorse Bolsonaro because she found him “extreme” and “unpleasant” but on Monday she blamed the left and wished the new president well.

“Brazilians have punished the widespread corruption and terrifying crimes that flourished under extreme leftwing governments, and good luck to the new President Bolsonaro, who will have to redress the very fragile economic, security and democratic situation in Brazil,” she wrote on Twitter.

But European government leaders and mainstream parties were notably less enthusiastic.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, congratulated Bolsonaro, but stressed the “democratic principles” that were the basis of the partnership between France and Brazil “to meet the great contemporary challenges of our planet, both in the fields of peace and international security and in the framework of diplomacy, and the commitments of the Paris climate agreement”.

Germany – which has played a key role in climate consensus building – has been more focused on its own domestic political problems, including news that Chancellor Angela Merkel will be stepping down as head of her party. Der Spiegel warned that Brazil is “flirting with a dictator” while an analysis piece in Zeit online warned that Bolsonaro represented a danger to freedom.

Columnist Alexandra Endres wrote: “That he is now president is a giant step in the direction of authoritarianism. And because Brazil is the largest country in South America, it will radiate to the whole region.”

Other Latin American countries – including the centre-right leaders of Argentina and Chile – were quick to congratulate Bolsonaro on Sunday.

Even Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro – who sits at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum – issued a somewhat strained statement of congratulations night, calling for the resumption of “respectful, harmonious diplomatic relations”. Brazil expelled Venezuela’s ambassador in December after its own envoy to Caracas was declared persona non grata for criticizing Maduro’s human rights record.

China, Brazil’s largest trading partner and investor, formally congratulated Bolsonaro and reminded him the bilateral relationship is based on the principles of “equality and mutual benefit”.

The government in Beijing is wary of a change of policy by their main supplier of soy and iron ore. During the campaign Bolsonaro promised to reduce the influence of China, which he warned was “buying Brazil”. This tough talk is further likely to endear him to Trump, who has imposed tariffs on Chinese goods.

Capital markets have spiked up along with Bolsonaro’s popularity on expectations that he will trim public finances, slash environmental controls and encourage mining and agriculture. Fortune magazine said “investors have cheered Bolsonaro’s ascent” and noted Brazilian funds jumped more than 12% on the Tokyo stock market after Bolsonaro’s victory was confirmed. Brazil’s currency, the real, has gained about 10% against the dollar in the last month.

In Canada, CBC News drew a scornful reaction on social media after it highlighted the business potentials offered by Brazil’s new leader. “Jair Bolsonaro, is a rightwinger who leans towards more open markets. This could mean fresh opportunities for Canadian companies looking to invest in the resource-rich country,” it tweeted.

Japan’s Asahi newspaper was among those that described Bolsonaro as a Latin American Trump, but the far more sinister level of political menace was more accurately captured by commentators who compared him to Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, who has captured the weak institutions of a new democracy and carried out a wave of killings.

As the Washington Post noted, his election marks the most dramatic shift to the right since the cold war-era military dictatorships in Latin America.

 

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By: Jonathan Watts
Source: The Guardian

 

EDITORIAL COMMITTEE:

Arno Ambrosius
Mariana Almeida
David Dunham
Gustavo López Ospina
Gertjan Storm
Editor: Pieter Jan Brouwer

“Amazon Pink Dolphin” is the official blog of SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras. The intention of the blog is to generate debate on environmental issues; the Amazon Rain forest in particular. Contributions and support are done on a voluntary basis and do not imply institutional affiliation.  Similarly opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the official position of SVSF.

 

All Title photographs of the Amazon Pink fresh water Dolphin are the creation of Kevin Schafer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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~ by SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras on 4 November, 2018.

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