October 4, 2018


'Brazil is at war': election plays out amid homicidal violence: Latin America's largest democracy suffered a record 63,880 homicides last year and the phenomenon is driving some to support the hardline policies of candidate Jair Bolsonaro (Tom Phillips, 10/04/18, The Guardian)

Ahead of Sunday's vote, the country's uncontrolled violence is fuelling support for the far-right pacemaker Jair Bolsonaro, who has opened up a 10-point lead over his closest rival, the Workers' party (PT) candidate, Fernando Haddad, with many followers citing security as their main reason for championing the 63-year-old politician.

Many are horrified at the rise of a pro-torture populist notorious for his vicious and incendiary remarks about women, black people, indigenous communities, human rights and Brazil's LGBT community.

But Latin America's largest democracy suffered a record 63,880 homicides last year - more than 6,000 of them in the north-eastern state of Bahia, where Feira is located - and Bolsonaro has promised no-nonsense fixes, including loosening gun laws.

"Why has violence gone up? Why have weeds overtaken your backyard? It's because you didn't eradicate them, so of course they'll grow," he told a campaign event in the Amazon earlier this year. "Have we eradicated crooks in Brazil? No!"

"If someone breaks into our house or our ranch we must have the right to shoot them - and if we kill them, it's their problem for dying, not ours," he added. "This is the only way we are going to put the brakes on these crooks."

Robert Muggah, the head of a Brazilian thinktank called the Igarapé Institute, said crime had been catapulted up the political agenda by both "a sense and an objective reality" among voters that things were on the slide.

Minds had also been focused by a series of "spectacular events of egregious violence" including prison massacres, a surge in bloodshed in north-east Brazil, the collapse of efforts to "pacify" Rio's favelas, the still unsolved assassination of Rio councillor Marielle Franco and the recent stabbing of Bolsonaro himself.

Physical safety is the minimum required of the state.

Posted by at October 4, 2018 4:02 AM