Our friend Travis Waldron has written this important column for Huffington Post about the inauguration of the Trump-styled President Jair Bolsonaro, a man whose policies towards minorities in Brazil are cause for dark foreboding. Climate scientists are also horrified because the new president has pledged to privatize and destroy the Amazon, a key carbon sink that is vital to climate change being effectively challenged.
…On the evening of Oct. 28, 2018, members of the Brazilian military were parading through the streets of Rio again. Green Army jeeps honked their horns and flashed their lights; soldiers stood atop them as flag-waving crowds cheered their arrival. This time, though, the military was not coming to depose a president; it was rolling through celebrations of a new one. Jair Bolsonaro, a federal congressman and former Army captain, had just won the election to become Brazil’s 38th president. (The military later denied it was a parade, saying the soldiers were returning from a mission meant to guarantee the election; a video shot by a journalist depicted, let’s call it, a festive procession.)… Bolsonaro, whose presidency will begin with a New Year’s Day inaugural ceremony in Brasília, has routinely praised Brazil’s military dictatorship, which gave way to the return of democratic governance in 1985. And his rise to power shares many similarities with the military regime’s: Bolsonaro has seized on widespread discontent and fatigue with an incapable and corrupt political establishment, on fervid opposition to a leftist party that had spent more than a decade in power, on an economic collapse that Brazil has only slowly begun to escape, and on rising levels of violent crime.