democraciaAbierta

Bolsonaro’s lies

Is Brazil's government fascist? Given its anti-Semitism, stifling of the press and persecution of political dissenters, a former MP argues that there's no room for doubt.

Jean Wyllys
10 July 2019
President Jair Bolsonaro and Minister Sergio Moro during a match between Brazil and Peru, valid for the Copa America 2019 final in Rio de Janeiro
Bolsonaro and Moro
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Nayra Halm/Fotoarena/Sipa USA

Bolsonaro leads a government built on a lie. On lies. Elected on a campaign based on fake news, insults to opponents and speeches of hatred against LGBT people, women, quilombolas (Afro-Brazilian residents of quilombo settlements) and “communists”, when he assumed the presidency Jair Bolsonaro decided to run the country using the same ingredients and surrounding himself with people so morally corrupt as to carry on his fascist-like enterprise.

Even though the Brazilian press is still cautious about using this word (and even the expression "far-right government" used by the European press to refer to the Bolsonaro administration), the truth is that the country is under a fascist-like government.

And if two key elements had been missing – anti-Semitism and the use of the state apparatus, especially the police, to stifle the press and persecute political dissenters – and thus prevented us from characterizing Bolsonaro and his gang as fascists once and for all, that is no longer the case.

1:

On its official website and its verified Twitter profile, the Brazilian Army recently honored and treated as a "martyr" Eduard Ernest Thilo Otto Maximilian von Westernhagen, a Nazi major who was decorated by Hitler and killed in Brazil by members of the Colina, a resistance group against the military dictatorship and its state terrorism.

The Nazi efforts were not only based on the idea of "ethnic cleansing", but also on the idea of "sexual correction". This venture exterminated about ten million people during World War II (1939-1945); of those, six million were Jews and the rest were homosexuals, Roma people and communists.

The tribute by the Brazilian Army to an officer decorated by the leader (the führer) of this monstrous movement is more than a disrespect to the memory of its victims: it is ill-concealed anti-Semitism.

I would love to know which members of the Jewish community who voted for Bolsonaro think of this tribute to the Nazi officer (many of whom even laughed at Bolsonaro’s insults against the quilombolas at the Hebraica club in Rio de Janeiro). But regardless of their thoughts, we already know what consequences the Nazi anti-Semitism had for European Jews in the early 1940s.

2:

Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister Sérgio Moro – after being unmasked in the conspiracy against former President Lula and Brazilian democracy as a judge of Operation Lava Jato, which was denounced by The Intercept – decided to use the Federal Police to try to intimidate the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, editor of the prestigious news site, and to persecute me over a conspiracy theory.

Great! Let the Federal Police investigate. If the investigation is serious, they will find nothing that proves the conspiracy theory.

The medium that published the news that the Federal Police will take part in this deplorable scheme is the far-right site O Antagonista, a kind of Brazilian news sewer.

O Antagonista also reported that the Federal Police, under the guidance of Sérgio Moro, requested the bank activity of Greenwald from COAF (Council for Financial Activities Control). This week, the site also reported that — at the request of José Medeiros, a “low clergy” representative of Congress and a member of the government coalition – the same Federal Police will investigate the fake news that say I sold my mandate to Greenwald and his husband, Representative David Miranda.

Great! Let the Federal Police investigate. If the investigation is serious, if the Federal Police does not resort to the tactics used by Moro throughout Operation Lava Jato – that is, lawfare, fabrication of "evidence", and brazen lies; if the Federal Police act as an honest and republican institution, they will find nothing that proves the conspiracy theory.

And afterwards – unlike the rector of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Luiz Carlos Cancelier, who died by suicide in 2017 after being falsely accused of corruption and unjustly imprisoned by the Federal Police – I am going to file a lawsuit against the Brazilian government for moral and material damages caused by the Federal Police against me and my family for an amount three times higher than what they accuse me of selling my mandate for. The deputy José Medeiros, who requested the investigation, will also be named in the lawsuit.

The Brazilian government and the Federal Police are aware of the real reasons that led me to flee the country. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) gave them a powerful report of the very serious death threats that my family and I had suffered and demanded a precautionary measure to protect us, which was ignored just like the previous formal denunciations that I had made.

If the Federal Police – which did nothing to investigate the death threats against me, even when I was living under protection of the Legislative Police by determination of the mayor, Rodrigo Maia, and which ignored the recommendations of the IACHR – now choose to spend public resources on an investigation motivated by a conspiracy theory started by a fake Twitter profile, they will show their political bias.

I'd like Judge Moro to hand over his cell phone to a serious investigation that could confirm or deny what The Intercept alleges.

From now on, I will call upon all international human rights organizations; I will formally denounce this political persecution, starting with the IACHR itself, and, if necessary, I will bring the case to the Court. The democratic world will know about this political persecution.

Over here on this side, everybody is aware that this is an attempt to divert public attention from the crimes committed by Sérgio Moro as a Lava Jato judge that were denounced by The Intercept.

I'd like Judge Moro to hand over his cell phone to a serious investigation that could confirm or deny what The Intercept alleges. I suggest the same to the prosecutors of the Federal Public Ministry that integrated the Operation Lava Jato.

To the serious Brazilian press I ask: how much longer will you ignore the president and his three sons’ recurrent lies and slander against me? When will you address the issue with the forcefulness that the issue requires? For how long will you pretend not to notice that Moro is trying to intimidate Greenwald, which will end up compromising all of the free press?

I'd like to ask the idiot bolsonaristas on social media if they aren’t tired of believing the fantasy that the lies they spread against me are going to destroy me. This is the fifth lie they have fabricated since I left the country, and I’m still standing!

If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear.

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