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    Brazil's presidential hopeful Jair Bolsonaro has said Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet "should have killed more people." | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 April 2018

Presidential hopeful Jair Bolsonaro has been quoted as saying that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet "should have killed more people."

As Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva continues to appeal his corruption conviction ahead of October's presidential elections, campaigning is being ramped up by extreme right-wing Rio de Janeiro Congressman Jair Bolsonaro – a controversial figure who's been described as "a caricature of (U.S. President Donald) Trump." 

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In November 2017, Bolsonaro told the Financial Times that Brazilians enjoyed "total freedom" during the military dictatorship of 1964 to 1984, and that many traveled "to Disneyland and returned home."

Last year, during former President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment vote, Bolsonaro used his congressional speaking time not only to rally in favor of her ouster, but also to praise Carlos Brilhante Ustra, the colonel who headed the dictatorship's notorious torture program in the 1970s.

He cited Ustra as "the source of Dilma Rousseff's dread," referring to the fact that, as a young woman, she had been imprisoned for three years for being a leftist guerrilla and was tortured, including being electrocuted, under his watch.

Rousseff – showing considerable restraint – responded only by telling reporters that Bolsonaro's remarks were "regrettable." 

Bolsonaro has also proposed restoring military rule and has been quoted as saying that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet "should have killed more people." 

Other comments that have drawn criticism include "Women should earn less because they get pregnant" and "I'd be incapable of loving a homosexual son."

Presidential hopeful Guilherme Boulos, of the Socialism and Liberty party, has described Bolsonaro as a "caricature of Trump," cautioning that "Bolsonaro presents himself as someone who is going to combat criminality, but he himself is a criminal."

British Ambassador Vijay Rangarajan recently paid the 63-year-old father of five, a former paratrooper, a visit. 

It was an "interesting meeting," Rangarajan tweeted. "We spoke about investment, bilateral cooperation, social questions, security and diverstiy. It's fascinating and valid to clearly understand various political visions for the country, even from different perspectives."


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