Op-Ed: Brazil Move to Embrace the Rhetoric of Populism and the Arab World.
Updated: Oct 2, 2019
New York: It is unusual for Brazil's presidential elections to attract attention from many friends and followers on social networks from outside of the Americas, who are questioning why there is a popular right-wing populist candidate for President such as Jair Bolsonaro, who is known to have a history of racism, xenophobia, homophobia and made misogynistic remarks and pro-torture and extrajudicial police killings.
Brazil for those who do not know is one of the countries of the new world and it is also a country where there is a great ethnic diversity, immigrants and refugees, high rates of crime, institutional corruption from the highest to the the lowest levels in all the state organs, poor income and wealth distribution and terrible system of class contrast. But the root of all evils in this growing country was the military junta rule which lasted for more than twenty years from 1964 to 1985 and was the stage where corruption was instigated at all levels of the state as a means of control and reward by the military rule.
During the last decade, I made several visits to Brazil and the last one was a year ago and wrote about the beginning of the impeachment process of former President Dilma Rousseff two years ago, and the imprisonment of former President Lula da Silva, who was considered by Arab intellectuals and public opinion as the messiah and new prophet of Socialism. He also had a record of corruption that is not very different from the general state and current president Michel Temer is not better off as he is pursued by corruption cases from every side.
The trial of former Socialist president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his imprisonment in a corruption case for more than nine years in one of dozens of cases he is currently trialed for is a model of fighting corruption and trying to establish a state of law. By the way, it is not the only case that he is tried for but the beginning, despite the reforms that he made during his first term, during which Brazil underwent radical reforms in the economic and social justice was filmed, especially in the countries of the Middle East and the remains of socialist countries in Latin America such as Cuba and Venezuela and Bolivia as a prophet the new Messiah that will spread justice throughout the globe !!! But Lula da Silva was no more than an ordinary politician as he began to slide into the path of corruption and abuse of power.
His successor, the former president "Dilma Rousseff” was no better and inherited a network of solid corruption and her inability to fight and cut off its octopus arms and its continuation in its alliance with the failed regimes in South America such as Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia led to her impeachment by the Parliament before the end of her term as president on the ground of accusations of corruption and exploitation of power and she is awaiting trial on those charges.
"Michel Temer" Rousseff successor and her deputy, who is the current president is of Lebanese origins is not far from suspicions and surrounded by accusations of corruption is also under Parliament investigation for more than a year and discussions on his impeachment his term is soon ending but his corruption files will remain open even after the end of his presidency.
Since 2002, all presidents of Brazil have been left-wing, but this has not prevented the corruption of the elite in society. Many Brazilians have turned to the right wing parties in recent years in an effort to find solutions to chronic problems of security, economy and injustice in the distribution of wealth. The right-wing populist candidate, “Jair Bolsonaro” , supported this trend and perhaps his romantic account of the military rule in which 434 Brazilian citizens were killed and thousands of citizens who were tortured during their 20 years of rule (of course this is a modest figure for what is happening in the Middle East), in-spite all of the horrible history of the military junta the people did not pay much attention to his speech and his views on racism, women and gays in a country as multi ethnic and diverse as Brazil.
The first round of presidential elections took place on Sunday, Oct 7th among 13 candidates, with the result that a decisive win for "Jair Bolsonaro " who won 46% of the vote which is short of 50% plus one to avoid a run off and followed by the candidate of the Socialist "Fernando Haddad" by 29% and the final round of elections is set to take place Oct 28th, which Bolsonaro is expected to win easily and be the first conservative populist president setting anew direction for Brazil and South America and the fourth-largest democracy and the ninth largest economy in the world.
Perhaps from this narrative my friends from the Middle East ask what is the benefit of all this? If all the politicians are corrupt and we have kings and Princes and Presidents who are committing unimaginable crimes every day including bloodshed and violation of all laws and human rights as well as financial and administrative corruption, by comparison this is the weakest charges to a politician!! But my Brazilian friend Renata Santos, who was a journalist in New York and chose to return to Brazil last year to take care of her parents and still keeps a journalistic insight told me during a dinner with her family: "Do not be surprised by this amount of corruption. Of the military rule that Brazil has witnessed, but it is better to try every president who takes power over his violation until the situation stabilizes. Every politician is learning that there is no immunity for him in what he does, and that there is no president above the law. We have experienced the military government for two decades, we do not want to go back to that era and we choose Democracy and the rule of institutions despite what you see, and this is a natural result but for the period that preceded it, and she added “Is this not better than to be like Egypt and Arab countries? !!!! " And there I was muted and could not answer her back.