Brazil’s election of Bolsonaro poses huge threat to the environment (& democracy)

  • Published on October 30th, 2018

In a sad day for democracy and human rights around the world, Fascist Jair Bolsonaro has been elected president of Brazil, the 6th-most populated country in the world. Bolsonaro is infamous for making a multitude of racist, misogynist and homophobic statements, such as, “If I become President, there will not be a centimeter more of indigenous land.”

amazon defender of brazil

By Dan Bacher

Bolsonaro won with 55 percent of the vote of the Brazilian electorate. Workers Party candidate Fernando Haddad lost with 45 percent of the votes cast for him.

After Bolsonaro was elected, President Trump happily tweeted about his conversation with Bolsonaro:  “Had a very good conversation with the newly elected President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who won his race by a substantial margin. We agreed that Brazil and the United States will work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else! Excellent call, wished him congrats!”

Human rights, indigenous and environmental justice have a much different opinion of Bolsonaro. “The election of Bolsonaro to the Brazilian presidency hands the extreme right-wing politician a mandate to enact a series of sweeping changes to the country’s political, economic, social, and environmental order,” according to a statement from Amazon Watch.

Responding to the news, Brazil’s diverse social movements are mounting resistance to the president’s regressive agenda. Thousands of organizations recently united to repudiate his assertion that he “will put an end to all activism in Brazil,” while the National Indigenous Movement issued a statement, “In Defense of Democracy and Our Rights,” according to the group.

Amazon Watch said the “coming months will prove decisive to the advancement of these two diametrically-opposed visions for Brazil’s future.”

Amazon Watch Program Director Christian Poirier made the following statement in response to the election results:

“The ascension of the divisive and callous politician Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency poses enormous challenges for democracy, human rights, and environmental preservation in Brazil. His administration could undo decades of hard-fought socio-environmental advances and move the country back toward the dark days of its brutal military dictatorship.

“Bolsonaro’s victory represents a profound setback for human rights and ecological preservation in the world’s fourth largest democracy, with particularly drastic implications for the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous and traditional communities.

“His reckless plans to industrialize the Amazon in concert with Brazilian and international agribusiness and mining sectors will bring untold destruction to the planet’s largest rainforest and the communities who call it home, and spell disaster for the global climate.

“The immense scale of the threats posed by a Bolsonaro presidency demands a resounding response from grassroots to global levels. In this spirit, Amazon Watch will redouble its work in solidarity with our embattled partners, from remote communities in the Brazilian Amazon to national organizations to push back against his destructive agenda.

About the Author

Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento who focuses on California's water issues, a healthy environment for the salmon fishery of the Northwest, and the attempts by big agriculture and big oil to hog all the water.