Brazil is the fifth largest country on Earth, and with the electoral victory of Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency, its politics just took a giant step to the right.
The former army captain has appalled critics with his horrifying pro-torture stance and his yearning for the “good old days” of Latin American dictatorships. He has even been charged with hate speech by Brazil’s attorney general. And yet as Brazil struggles to recover from the worst recession in its history, a government corruption scandal that took down political leaders, and an escalating crime rate, the electorate wanted change.
Despite an opposition campaign called “Ele Não,” or “not him,” rising up against Bolsonaro, he won 55.2% of votes cast in Sunday’s election, with a promise to restore law and order and promote his version of family values. Bolsonaro, who has earned the nickname the “Trump of the Tropics,” takes office on January 1.
Here are five things to know about Bolsonaro:
- A thing for dictatorships. “The dictatorship’s mistake was to torture but not kill,” he told a radio interviewer in 2016, per USA Today.
- Fierce homophobia. USA Today reports that in a 2011 interview with Playboy he said, “I would prefer my son to die in an accident than show up with a moustachioed man” adding that he “would be incapable of loving a homosexual son.”
- Racism. He’s reportedly referring to black activists as “animals” who should “go back to the zoo,” according to The Independent, and in reference to a black settlement in Brazil that was founded by the descendants of slaves, he said: “They do nothing. They are not even good for procreation.
- Misogyny. As the BBC notes, “In one infamous incident in 2015 he told a fellow lawmaker she was too ugly to rape.”
- Stabbed during his presidential campaign, he kept campaigning during his three-week stay in the hospital, connecting with voters via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. An investigation by Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha De Sao Paulo, claims that “Bolsonaro’s WhatsApp offensive has been secretly boosted by several unnamed corporations” to the tune of $3.2 million to help promote pro-Bolsonaro messages, and attack his opponent Fernando Haddad with false stories.
- The American right wing likes him–and he likes them. According to The Independent, Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo recently tweeted a photo with former White House strategist Steve Bannon, claiming to share “the same worldview” as Bannon. President Trump, meanwhile, reportedly called Bolsonaro to congratulate him on his win.
John Oliver tried to warn Brazilian voters against voting for Bolsonaro in a recent episode of Last Week Tonight.