Jair Bolsonaro, the leading candidate in Brazil's presidential race, has been criticized nationally and internationally for his sexist, homophobic, racist, and authoritarian comments. Most recently, a petition signed by 190,000 Brazilians warns about how Bolsonaro represents a “clear threat to our fundamental civilizational heritage.”
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teleSUR English takes a look at the candidate's eight most dangerous comments Bolsonaro has made during his political career to provide a glimpse into why many believe he poses such a threat to democracy and a “plural” Brazil.
1. In a 1999 televised interview, he said: "I am in favor of torture, you know that, and the people are in favor too. Through the vote, you will not change anything in this country. Anything! Absolutely nothing! Things will change, unfortunately, the day we start a civil war in here. And doing the work that the military regime did not do, killing about 30,000! Some innocent will die, it’s OK."
2. In 2016, he dedicated his vote in favor of impeaching democratically-elected President Dilma Rousseff to Colonel Carlos Brilhante, who ran the detention center where Dilma was tortured in her youth. “In memory of Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, the terror of Dilma Rousseff," he said prior to casting his vote.
3. In a 2011 interview with Playboy, he said: "I would be incapable of loving a homosexual child. I'd rather have a son of mine die in an accident than appear with a mustache next to him."
4. He also endorsed physical punishment to “cure” homosexuality in 2010, during a TV debate on a law to punish physical punishment against children.
“Yeah, I think there's the spanking for that. Just as you change a boy's aggressive behavior, you need a spanking, a whipping to be able to change the somewhat delicate behavior for a man.”
This is particularly dangerous in a country where one member of the LGBTI community is murdered every two days due to rampant homophobia.
5. "I wouldn’t rape you because you do not deserve it," Bolsonaro told Workers' Party legislator Maria do Rosario in December 2014. In an attempt to explain the phrase, he said: "She does not deserve to be raped because she is very bad, because she is very ugly.”
6. In 2015, Bolsanoro argued "women should earn less because they get pregnant. When she returns [from maternity leave], she will have another month's vacation, meaning she worked five months that year. "
7. In 2003, during a radio interview, he said: “It’s not that a person who can read and write is free of marginality. We have to adopt urgently, yes, against all and against everyone, especially human rights defenders, a strict birth control policy. Enough of giving the means for more and more couples to bring people who don’t have the minimum condition to be a citizen in the future.”
8. In a public event in 2017, flanked by a Brazilian and an Israeli flag, Bolsonaro said: “I went to a Quilombo (territory inhabited by Afro-Brazilian descendants of escaped slaves). The lightest Afro-descendant weighed seven arrobas (around 225 pounds). They do nothing. I think they don’t even serve to procreate. Over US$245 million is spent on them every year. ... There will be not one centimeter for an Indigenous reserve or for a Quilombola.”