I never get tired of discussing politics. Online, I post my opinions, share ideas I find interesting, and I always try to be in the loop of what’s happening around the globe as much as I can.
Most of the time, this much-needed exercise leaves me teary-eyed and broken-hearted. But THIS time, reading about the manifestations against Bolsonaro all around Brazil, I felt a profound sense of pride in my people.
Those of you who have been following me for some time probably know how much disgust I feel towards the current Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro.
(long post about Brazilian Politics after the cut. There’s a list of amazing NGOs doing awesome work at the end of the text if you can/want to help the situation of the many groups at risk in Brazil right now. They include LGBTQIA+ groups, Indigenous people, Black communities, feminist movements, and NGOs focused on proper education and food for impoverished children).
In 2018, before the presidential elections, I was walking down Paulista Avenue with one of my closest friends.
Filling one of the widest avenues in Brazil, there was a mob of Bolsonaro supporters holding placards that read “É melhor Jair se acostumando.” It’s a small word-play with Bolsonaro’s name; the idea is “You better start getting used to him”. Stationed on the edges of the avenue, police officers stood with guns attached to their waists, crossed arms, and expressions that ranged from pure disinterest to clear enjoyment.
My friend stepped closer to me. He is strong, brilliant, and one of the bravest people I know, and yet he was clearly uncomfortable, so—after I managed to recover from the slight shock of seeing him like that—we linked our arms and avoided the mob in front of us, walking back to the intersection with Consolação Avenue.
Once we were away from the mob and the officers, he looked over his shoulders and sighed.
“If you weren’t here, they’d probably have stopped me,” he said.
The mob was mostly White. I’m White.
My friend is Black.
“I don’t wanna think what will happen if that dude wins the elections,” he completed.
His fear was justified. Bolsonaro is a racist, misogynist, homophobic ex-military who preaches in favor of the Military Dictatorship period in Brazil, which killed thousands of Black and Indigenous people while also torturing anyone who spoke up against the military government.
“He won’t win,” I answered. I was born and raised in São Paulo, one of Brazil’s industrial, technological, and cultural hubs; I never thought people would turn a blind eye to how much damage Bolsonaro could make as a president. “He can’t win,” I added. “Not being who he is.”
My friend nodded. We hugged and walked and laughed it off (tried to). And when Bolsonaro won, we both cried.
I guess I was a tad too naïve.
He won. He won, and I never got used to the idea of having such a terrible president. Here are a few things that happened in his government and that are directly connected to him:
(most of the links here are from news articles in Portuguese)
- The number of neo-nazism sites in favor of white supremacy increased 400% in Brazil in 2020 compared to the same period in 2018 (before Bolsonaro was elected); this is one of the many consequences of his numerous racist speeches and a small proof of just how racist Brazil is.
- The number of military police attacks on low-income communities increased along with the number of COVID deaths.
- While, since February 2019, the world already knows that the rights of LGBTQIA+ people are threatened under the current far-right government, the advances in LGBTQIA+ rights n Brazil stopped after Bolsonaro was elected, and instead, there was a movement of retrocession.
- The fires in the Amazon Forest further increased by 43% in April 2021 (in 2019, after an increase of 63% in comparison to 2018, I wrote about one of the most terrifying fires in Amazon and how I could see the smoke from it from my home in São Paulo, 3000 km away).
- After promising to diminish deforestation in order to receive a large sum of money from the US, the Brazilian Senate is preparing to vote for a new Law Project that tries to make the licensing of land in the Amazon Forest more pliable. That means it’d be disgustingly easier for people to buy and explore the lands that should belong to the Brazilian indigenous people; all they’d need is an auto-declaratory license emitted online without the analysis of any environmental body.
- Under the pretext of “helping” the indigenous people, Bolsonaro defends mining and agriculture in indigenous peoples’ lands. This is one of the public declarations of repudiation written by the Yanomami people (one of the biggest indigenous communities in Brazil) about Bolsonaro and his visit to their land on May 27th, 2021.
- And then we have women’s situation, which you can see in the Brazilian annual of Public Security.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I didn’t add the investigations of corruption (including embezzlement of money for COVID-related services), the liberation of guns, the nepotism, the problem with vaccines, the damage of the far-right religious institutions the president supports, and the disrespect and verbal aggression towards women.
… And that’s why I felt so proud of my fellow Brazilians yesterday. :3 We’re a young people (Brazil is only 521 years old, while England, for example, is 1094, if you think about the creation of the kingdom of England), but we’re still doing our best. I might be away from my Land of Drizzle, but I carry my people in my heart, and I cry alongside them, as loud as I can,
♥♥♥ Fora Bolsonaro! ♥♥♥
And even though I can see Brazilians waking up and organizing themselves better, there are still people needing our help right now. If you want to help the situation in Brazil, please consider Donating! Here’s a small list of NGOs doing a lot of good in Brazil:
+ APIB (“Brazilian Indigenous People Articulation”) – to help the indigenous people in Brazil. (They also have a fantastic documentary subtitled in English you can watch here, showing the situation of the indigenous people in Brazil)
+ CUFA (“Unified Central of Favelas”) – to help the impoverished communities and Favelas in Brazil. (I use my credit card to donate to this one; if you’re outside Brazil, I think this might work for you too). If you want to help the Covid Relief specifically, CUFA has a project called “Mães da Favela” (Favela mothers), which you can donate to directly through this link.
+ To help the LGBT+ community in Brazil, I’m still searching for NGOs and projects that receive international donations. If you’re in Brazil or if you can make wire transfers, I suggest checking this list of fantastic projects (in Portuguese).