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News > Latin America

Brazil: Artists, Activists Warn 'Bolsonaro a Threat to Brazilian Democracy,' Could Introduce New Dictatorship

  • Brazil's leading presidential candidate and far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro.

    Brazil's leading presidential candidate and far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 September 2018

Over 150 artists and 190,000 Brazilians signed a manifesto warning of the threats opposed to democracy by presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, and Gilberto Gil are among 150 Brazilian artists and public figures who signed a petition denouncing leading presidential candidate Jair Bolsonato as “a clear threat to our fundamental civilizational heritage,” and warning his election could signal an authoritarian turn for Brazil.

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The group didn't endorse a presidential candidate but expressed concern about a Bolsonaro presidency. “We have known 20 years of shadows under the dictatorship, initiated with the backing of not a few actors in society... It’s never unwarranted to remember how throughout history and to this day fascist, Nazi leaders and many other autocratic regimes were first elected with the promise of rescuing the self-esteem and credibility of their nations, before submitting them to the most varied authoritarian excesses,” the manifesto titled Democracy Yes, or Democracia Sim said.

Bolsonaro, who is leading the polls with 28 percent of likely voters is an open supporter of Brazil's dictatorship (1964 - 1985) which was responsible for arbitrary arrests, torture, murder and forced disappearances.  

As a legislator, Bolsonaro dedicated his vote in favor of impeaching democratically-elected president Dilma Rousseff to dictatorship-era Colonel Carlos Brilhante, "the terror of Dilma Rousseff." Brilhante was convicted of torture and ran the detention center where Dilma was tortured in her youth.

He has also said the dictatorship's mistake was to torture people and not kill them, and has spoken against LGBTI groups, women, and Afro-Brazilians.

The signatories called themselves a politically diverse group that share a "common commitment to democracy. With freedom, plural coexistence and mutual respect. And we believe in Brazil. A Brazil formed by all its citizens, ethical, peaceful, dynamic, free from intolerance, prejudice, and discrimination."

Since the manifesto was published Monday, over 190,000 people have signed it.

The manifesto is the latest campaign against Bolsonaro in the lead-up to Brazil’s October 7 elections. Another campaign against Bolsonaro's candidacy is being promoted by Brazilian women under the hashtag #EleÑao, or #NotHim.

The #EleÑao campaign has successfully increased Bolsonaro's unfavourability rating among Brazilian women to 50 percent. Bolsonaro once told a fellow legislator he would not rape her because she was not "worth it." This and other comments sparked the women's campaign. 

On September 29, women have organized a nationwide protest against Bolsonaro. 

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