Brazil in Chaos

Brazilian Elections Cause Chaos Among Its People


Marina Mengual

Elena Morgan’20, half brazilian and star soccer player, shared her views with us.

With Brazil’s presidential elections in October 2018, there was extreme commotion in the polls. This direct democracy suffered from uncertainty, opposition, and riots. For Brazilian men and women, displaying their political views is extremely dangerous. This is the extent to which these elections have come. Former military captain Jair Bolsonaro, and Brazilian presidential candidate, was stabbed on September 7th, 2018. His counterpart, Luis Inacio da Lula Silva, Brazil’s most popular president in history, is currently in jail serving a twelve-year prison sentence for corruption and money laundering. In polls throughout the country, Lula was first with approximately 37.3% of votes, while Bolsonaro comes second with 18.3% percent. Lula’s popularity, was due to “the appeal of connecting to the common Brazilian people, those who are impoverished and struggling,” said Elena Morgan ’20.

In Brazil, voting is required by law. Punishments for not doing so range from being unable to apply for public jobs, to the inability of receiving important documents such as a passport, or identity card. The political system works in a multi-party fashion. There is a total majority and a runoff system. This means that if no candidate gets above 50% on the polls the two candidates with the best voting situation will run against each other. Many times, parties will conjoin to have a greater chance of victory.

“I feel like I am in a state of deja-vu where I am seeing history repeat itself as people choose to vote on economic issues and ignore a candidate’s character and just general lack of humanity.”

Bolsonaro and Lula, up until recently, were the two most supported candidates. Yet Fernando Haddad, has recently become the new running member in the PT party due to Lula’s recent imprisonment and thus inability to run. There have been conflicting views on which party should dominate in these elections between the PT(Workers’ Party) and the PSL (Social Liberal Party). Haddad is a part of the PT, while Bolsonaro is in the PSL.

Brazilians may be looking at a religious nationalist to be their next leader. The movement “Ele Nao” or “Not Him” in Brazil has started, in which people protest Bolsonaro’s political approach. His words fall under the category of hate speech towards multiple groups of people, including women, Native Americans and the LGBTQ community. Comparisons to Trump have been drawn within the Brazilian community, and right leaning citizens believe that this is something positive. Their interpretation of Trump’s election plan revolved around the idea of a corrupt economy, political system, and crime ridden streets. These leaders argue that with these three issues being especially prevalent in Brazil, this military dictatorship could be successful. However, many feel otherwise. “I feel like I am in a state of deja-vu where I am seeing history repeat itself as people choose to vote on economic issues and ignore a candidate’s character and just general lack of humanity,” Chloe Frajmund ’19 said.

The Brazilian currency, the real, has tremendously decreased in value, from 1.15 reais being worth one dollar, to that ratio turning to 4 to 1 respectively. Part of Bolsonaro’s economic agenda has to do with privatization of state companies, including oil and electrical companies such as Petrobras and Electrobras. According to surveys done by The Unified Worker’s Central, most Brazilians do not support the privatization of companies, yet Bolsonaro remains relatively popular. “This situation has brought up a lot in the Brazilian community. I personally don’t support Bolsonaro, but for sure it’s a topic that has divided families, ” said Morgan.

Jair Bolsonaro has been elected the new president of Brazil, as of October 28, 2018. He won with 55.2 percent of votes, and Haddad trailed behind with 44.8 percent. There is joy amongst those who no longer wanted the Worker’s party in control. For others, it is the beginning of possibly the worst times in the country.