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  • Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro reacts as he drives past before his swear-in ceremony, in Brasilia, Brazil Jan. 1, 2019.

    Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro reacts as he drives past before his swear-in ceremony, in Brasilia, Brazil Jan. 1, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 January 2019

Brazil's far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro was sworn-in Tuesday in Brasilia which has been militarized ahead of his inauguration. 

Far-right Jair Bolsonaro, who has vowed to crack down on left-wing opposition, progressive politics, and open up the Amazon harming the Indigenous population, was sworn in as Brazil's president Tuesday.

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The neoliberal, racist, homophobic, and misogynistic former army captain scored the Brazilian presidency after winning the October presidential elections with 56 percent of the vote. Ahead of his swearing-in, the capital Brasilia had been militarized. Around 12,000 troops from police and army were mobilized to provide security during the inauguration ceremony.  

The central area of Brasilia is witnessing a huge deployment of troops including reinforcement of armor and helicopters, with fighter-bombers ready to take off if any threat is determined. 

The movement of journalists is also restricted as they can only be in one of the four locations through which Bolsonaro will pass, namely, the Cathedral, the Congress, the Planalto, and the Itamaraty Palace.

Mounted policemen ride outside the Planalto Palace ahead of Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro's swear-in ceremony. | Photo: Reuters
 

The media is also warned against trying to jump fences that separate the buildings. 

Journalists criticized the restrictions saying that this is the first time such restrictions were imposed on them. They did not even face this much security during the G20 summit in Argentina where more high-profile figures were present compared to Bolsonaro’s inauguration.

"It is clear that the security of Jair Bolsonaro and the heads of state who are present requires imposing rules, but what happens with journalists is unthinkable and unacceptable," said Miriam Leitao, a journalist from TV Globo.

Firefighters spray water on the supporters of Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro outside the Planalto Palace ahead of Bolsonaro's swear-in ceremony. | Photo: Reuters
 

Bolsonaro’s politics and plans have worried many.  

Backed massively by conservative sectors of Brazil, including Christian evangelical churches, Bolsonaro has said he would block moves to legalize abortion and remove sex education from public schools, opposing what he calls "cultural Marxism" introduced by recent leftist governments.

One-third of his cabinet are former army officers, mostly fellow cadets at the Black Needles academy, Brazil's West Point, all outspoken backers of the country's 1964-1985 military regime.

Official guards walk outside the Congress ahead of Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro's swear-in ceremony. | Photo: Reuters

In an interview with Record TV on the eve of his inauguration, Bolsonaro lashed out at Brazil's bureaucracy.  

"The government machine is really heavy," he said. "There are hundreds of bureaucratic governing bodies across Brazil, of regulators as well. ... We have to untangle the mess."

His vow to follow Trump's example and pull Brazil out of the Paris Agreement on climate change has worried environmentalists. So have his plans to build hydroelectric dams in the Amazon and open up to mining the reservations of Indigenous peoples who are seen as the last custodians of the world's biggest forest.

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