Jair Messias Bolsonaro (; born 21 March 1955) is a Brazilian politician and retired military officer who is the 38th president of Brazil
. Elected in 2018
as a member of the conservative Social Liberal Party
before cutting ties with them, he has been in office since 1January 2019. From 1991 to 2018 he served in Brazil's Chamber of Deputies
, representing the state of Rio de Janeiro
Bolsonaro was born in the town of Glicério
, in the state of São Paulo
. He graduated from the Agulhas Negras Military Academy
in 1977 and served in the Brazilian Army's
field artillery and parachutist units. He became known to the public in 1986, when he wrote an article for ''Veja
'' magazine criticizing low wages for military officers, after which he was arrested and detained for 15 days. A year later, the same magazine accused him of planning to plant bombs in military units, which he denied. After being convicted by a lower court, the Brazilian Supreme Military Court acquitted him in 1988. He moved to the reserve in 1988 with the rank of captain
and ran for the Rio de Janeiro City Council
that year, elected as a member of the Christian Democratic Party
. In 1990 Bolsonaro was elected to the lower chamber of Congress and he was reelected six times. During his 27-year tenure as a congressman, he became known for his strong support of national conservatism
. He is a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage
In foreign policy, he has advocated closer relations to the United States
During the 2018 presidential campaign
, he started to advocate economically liberal and pro-market policies. A polarizing and controversial politician, his views and comments, which have been described as far-right
, have drawn both praise and criticism in Brazil.
Bolsonaro announced his candidacy for president in March 2016 as a member of the Social Christian Party
. He left the party in 2018 and joined the Social Liberal Party, and then launched his presidential campaign
in August that year, with retired general Hamilton Mourão
as his running mate. He portrayed himself as an outsider
and a supporter of family values
. He came in first place in the first round of the general election on 7October 2018
, with Workers' Party
candidate Fernando Haddad
coming in second. The two candidates had a runoff
on 28 October 2018, and Bolsonaro was elected with 55.1% of the popular vote.
Bolsonaro placed many army officers in key positions in his cabinet. Before his inauguration, Bolsonaro said he would fill positions in his government based only on technical qualifications and skills rather than ideological sympathy. During his presidency, many appointees clashed ideologically with the government. His minister of Justice
, the Secretary of Government
, the head of the postal service
and other government officials fell out of favor with Bolsonaro and resigned. He focused on domestic affairs in his first months in office, dealing primarily with the fallout of 2014 Brazilian economic crisis
. The economy did recover, albeit slowly, during his first year in office, while crime rates fell sharply. Multiple controversies marked his administration's first years. In 2019, Bolsonaro left the Social Liberal Party amid a confrontation with other members and formed the Alliance for Brazil
. During his presidency, he rolled back protections for indigenous groups
in the Amazon rainforest
and facilitated its destruction through deforestation
Bolsonaro's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil
was criticized across the political spectrum; he sought to downplay the pandemic and its effects, opposed quarantine measures, and dismissed two health ministers, while the death toll increased rapidly. As a result, public opinion, which had been favourable during his first year in office, turned negative throughout most of 2020, briefly becoming positive again after authorising emergency payments before turning negative once more in 2021.
Bolsonaro was born on 21 March 1955 in Glicério
, in São Paulo
, in southeast
Brazil, to Percy Geraldo Bolsonaro and Olinda Bonturi. His family is mostly of Italian
descent, with some German
ancestry. On his father's side, he is the great-grandson of Italians from Veneto
Bolsonaro's paternal grandfather's family comes from Veneto, more precisely Anguillara Veneta
, in the province of Padua
. His great-grandfather, Vittorio Bolzonaro (the surname was originally written with a Z), was born on 12 April 1878. Vittorio's parents immigrated to Brazil when he was ten, together with his siblings, Giovanna and Tranquillo.
His German ancestry came from his father's maternal grandfather, Carl "Carlos" Hintze, born in Hamburg
around 1876, who immigrated to Brazil in 1883.
His maternal grandparents were born in Lucca
, in Tuscany
, and went to live in Brazil in the 1890s.
Bolsonaro spent most of his childhood moving around São Paulo with his family, living in Ribeira
, and Sete Barras
, before settling in Eldorado
, in the state's southern region, in 1966, where he grew up with his five brothers.
His first name is a tribute to Jair da Rosa Pinto
, football player for Palmeiras
at the time of Bolsonaro's birth and who celebrated his 34th birthday on the same day.
In his final years in high school, Bolsonaro was admitted to the Escola Preparatória de Cadetes do Exército
(the prep school of the Brazilian Army
), which he entered in 1973. In 1974, he went to the Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras
(Brazil's main military academy
), graduating in 1977, as an Artillery
officer. He served in the 9th Field Artillery Group, in Nioaque
, Mato Grosso do Sul
. Later he studied at the Army Physical Training School in Rio de Janeiro
and served in the 21st Field Artillery Group and the 8th Paratrooper Field Artillery Group, from the Paratrooper Brigade
, both in the same city. His superior officers said he was "aggressive" and had "excessive ambition to get financial and economical gain".
The assessment referred to Bolsonaro's attempt to mine gold in Bahia
state; according to him, the activity was only a "hobby and mental hygiene". In 1987, he studied in the Officers Improvement School
, where he made the Artillery Advanced Course.
Bolsonaro's first rise to publicity came in 1986 when he gave an interview to the news magazine ''Veja''. He complained about low military salaries and claimed that the High Command was firing officers due to budgetary cuts and not because they were displaying 'deviations of conduct', as the command was telling the press. Despite being reprimanded by his superiors, Bolsonaro received praise from fellow officers and wives of military men, becoming a household name for hardliners and right-wingers who were growing disenchanted with Brazil's new civilian democratic government.
In October 1987, Bolsonaro faced a new accusation. ''Veja'' reported that, with an Army colleague, he had plans to plant bombs in military units in Rio de Janeiro
. After Bolsonaro called the allegation "a fantasy", the magazine published, in its next issue, sketches in which the plan was detailed. The drawings had been allegedly made by Bolsonaro. Official records unearthed by the newspaper ''O Estado de S.Paulo
'' in 2018 detailed the case. After an investigation by an administrative military bureau named Justification Board, Bolsonaro was unanimously considered guilty. According to this board, Bolsonaro had a "serious personality deviation and a professional deformation", "lack of moral courage to leave the Army" and "lied throughout the process" when denying frequent contacts with ''Veja''. The Supreme Military Court then analyzed the case. The general in charge of reporting the case voted to acquit Bolsonaro, arguing that he had already been penalized for the initial ''Veja'' article, that there was no testimonial evidence of his plans to plant bombs, and that there were "deep contradictions in the four graphological exams", two of which failed to conclude that Bolsonaro was the author of the sketches. Bolsonaro was acquitted by the majority of the court (9x 4votes). In December 1988, just after this ruling, he left the Army to begin his political career. He served in the military for 15 years, reaching the rank of captain.
Councilor of Rio de Janeiro (1989–1991)
Bolsonaro entered politics in 1988, elected city councilor
in Rio de Janeiro, representing the Christian Democratic Party
(PDC). According to the biography by his son Flávio, Bolsonaro "was a candidate for councilor because it happened to be the only option he had at the moment to avoid persecution by some superiors. His entry into politics happened by chance, for his desire was to continue in his military career".
He spent only two years in the Municipal Chamber of Rio de Janeiro
. He was described as a quiet, discreet and conservative councilor, and showed little participation.
His term as councilor was used mainly to give visibility to military causes, such as retirement benefits for former officers.
Federal Deputy for Rio de Janeiro (1991–2018)
In the 1990 elections, Bolsonaro was elected a federal deputy
for the Christian Democratic Party. He served seven consecutive terms, from 1991 to 2018. He has been affiliated with several other Brazilian political parties over the years. In 2014, he was the congressman who gained the most votes in Rio de Janeiro, with 465,000.
In his 27 years of service in the Brazilian National Congress
, he put forward one constitutional amendment and at least 171 bills, two of which became law. Bolsonaro, who claims to be persecuted by the left-wing parties, said most congressmen do not vote according to their agenda, but "by who the author of the bill is".
In January 2018, Bolsonaro abandoned the Social Christian Party
and switched to the Social Liberal Party
(PSL). After his arrival, the PSL adopted conservative
positions, and its social liberal group ''Livres
'' announced its departure from the PSL.
Presidential campaign (2018)
On 22 July 2018, the PSL nominated Bolsonaro for president in the 2018 election
. The Brazilian Labour Renewal Party
also endorsed him. His coalition name was "Brazil above everything, God above everyone" (''Brasil acima de tudo, Deus acima de todos''). Though contested by two lawsuits, the Superior Electoral Court
of Brazil deferred them and his candidacy was made official on 6August. In August Bolsonaro announced that Antônio Hamilton Mourão
, a retired army general, would be his running mate.
According to political pundits, Bolsonaro moderated his tone early in the campaign, taking a less aggressive and confrontational style. Economically, he started to support less government intervention in the economy (in contrast to the past, when he defended developmentalist
policies). On the other hand, he maintained his tough stance on crime and his defense of "traditional family values". Bolsonaro also said he planned to cut taxes
across the board, particularly on inheritances and businesses, to generate growth and tackle unemployment. He also promised more austerity
measures and cuts in government spending, but had difficulty naming the areas where he would make cuts. He also said he would work to diminish the federal government's size and bureaucracy by enacting a wide variety of deregulation
measures. Bolsonaro's promises to restore security
amid record high crime
and to stamp out Brazil's rampant political corruption
won him huge popular support. In October, he announced he would name liberal
economist Paulo Guedes
as his finance minister.
On 9 August 2018, Bolsonaro attended the first presidential debate of the year, organized by the TV network Rede Bandeirantes
. A week later, there was another debate at RedeTV!
. On 28 August, he gave an interview to Jornal Nacional
, Brazil's highest-rated primetime news program, at Rede Globo
Bolsonaro was the first presidential candidate to raise over R$
1 million in donations from the public during the 2018 campaign. In the first 59 days, he amassed an average of R$17,000 per day.
After the Workers' Party
candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
was arrested in April 2018, Bolsonaro became the front-runner in the election, according to all major opinion polls.
'' poll from September showed Bolsonaro as the leading candidate in the first round with 28% of vote intentions, though runoff scenarios showed him losing to Geraldo Alckmin
, Fernando Haddad
and Ciro Gomes
and tying with Marina Silva
. Another ''Datafolha'' poll, conducted the week before election day, showed a considerable surge for Bolsonaro, who had 40% of vote intentions, or 36% when null or blank vote intentions were included. Haddad came in second with 25%, and Gomes third with 15%.
The first round of the election occurred on 7October 2018. Bolsonaro finished in first place with 46% of the popular vote (49.2 million). Since he failed to win 50%, he faced the second-place finisher, Haddad, in a runoff held on 28 October 2018.
After the first round, when his victory looked certain, Bolsonaro gave a speech by videolink to thousands of supporters who gathered at Paulista Avenue, in São Paulo. In the speech, he threatened to arrest, purge or kill "reds" and "petralhas" (a derogatory term for Worker's Party's members), and promised that members of the social movements MST
would be treated as "terrorists". He said: "This time, the clean-up will be even greater. This group reds"
if they want to stay, will have to abide by our laws... These red outlaws will be banned from our homeland. Either they go overseas, or they go to jail... Petralhada, you all go to the edge of the beach. It will be a cleaning never seen in the history of Brazil". The "edge of the beach", a Bolsonaro aide later confirmed, was a reference to a Navy
base at Restinga da Marambaia
, in Rio de Janeiro State, where the Brazilian military dictatorship
tortured and killed dissidents.
The speech was widely condemned by rivals, journalists and politicians.
Bolsonaro won the runoff election with 55.13% of the votes, and was elected the 38th president of Brazil. He took office on 1January 2019.
During the campaign, academics repeatedly raised concerns about the consequences of Bolsonaro's rise for the Brazilian democracy. In the news magazine ''Foreign Policy
'', Federico Finchelstein
, a historian at the New School for Social Research
who specializes in fascism, wrote, "Bolsonaro's vocabulary recalls the rhetoric behind Nazi policies of persecution and victimization. But does sounding like a Nazi make him a Nazi? Insomuch as he believes in holding elections, he is not there yet. However, things could change quickly if he gains power." Jason Stanley
, a Yale
philosopher who has published widely on Nazism, said that Bolsonaro "uses more tactics associated to fascism than he
American president Donald Trump". Harvard
's Steven Levitsky
said that Bolsonaro "is clearly authoritarian", but not a fascist. Similar concerns were raised by analysts in Portugal and Brazil. Others, such as Marxist historian Perry Anderson
, dismissed the "fascist" and "populist" labels altogether.
Another highly controversial aspect of the campaign was the alleged use of illegal digital communication strategies by some of Bolsonaro's most important financial supporters. According to an investigation by ''Folha de S.Paulo
'', one of Brazil's best-selling newspapers, "Bolsonaro has been getting an illegal helping hand from a group of Brazilian entrepreneurs who are bankrolling a campaign to bombard WhatsApp
users with fake news
about Haddad." The suspicions led to a formal investigation by electoral authorities and the Federal Police; Bolsonaro and allies denied any wrongdoing. Another controversial point was that Taíse Feijó, now an adviser in Bolsonaro's government, was among those paid to feed fake news to his supporters.
Stabbing attack during campaign
Bolsonaro was stabbed in the abdomen on 6September 2018 while campaigning and interacting with supporters in Juiz de Fora
, Minas Gerais
At first, his son Flávio Bolsonaro
stated that his father's wounds were only superficial and he was recovering in the hospital, but he later said the wounds seemed worse than initially thought and his father most likely would not be able to start campaigning personally before the end of the first round. He tweeted about his father's condition, explaining that the perforation had reached parts of the liver, lung, and intestine. He also said that Bolsonaro had lost a large amount of blood, arriving at the hospital with severe hypotension
(his blood pressure
was 10/3, equivalent to 100/30 mmHg), but that he had since stabilized.
The attack was condemned by most of the other candidates in the presidential race, and by then president Michel Temer
. The day after the attack, Bolsonaro was transferred to the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital
in São Paulo
, after a request from his family. According to the doctors, he was in an "extremely stable" condition.
Police arrested and identified the attacker as Adélio Bispo de Oliveira
, who, according to security agents, claimed he was on "a mission from God". He had been a member of the Socialism and Liberty Party
from 2007 to 2014. His social media posts included political criticisms of both Bolsonaro and Temer. But an initial Federal Police investigation concluded that Adélio had no help from political organizations and acted alone. A medical report produced for a second investigation concluded that Adélio is mentally disturbed, having a "permanent paranoid delusional disorder" which, according to Brazilian law, prevents him from being considered legally liable for his actions.
On 29 September, a month after the attack, Bolsonaro was released from the hospital and returned to his home in Rio de Janeiro. His condition prevented him from returning to the campaign trail for the remainder of the first round of the presidential election.
In the same weekend he left the hospital, thousands of people took the streets in dozens of cities in Brazil to protest against Bolsonaro and his political stances, chanting "'" ("Not him").
There were also rallies in support of the candidate in sixteen states.
Bolsonaro was sworn in as President of the Republic on 1January 2019, succeeding Michel Temer
. Bolsonaro began his cabinet formation
before winning the presidency, having chosen economist Paulo Guedes
as his Economy minister and astronaut Marcos Pontes
as his Science and Technology minister. Bolsonaro initially said his cabinet would be composed of 15 members; this figure later rose to 22 when he announced his final minister, Ricardo Salles
, in December. His predecessor, Michel Temer
, had a cabinet of 29 members.
is composed of 16 ministers, two cabinet-level positions, and four presidency secretaries including Chief of Staff Onyx Lorenzoni
Bolsonaro's ministries include Operation Car Wash
judge Sérgio Moro
as Justice minister and congresswoman Tereza Cristina
as Agriculture minister.
Bolsonaro has stripped the indigenous affairs agency FUNAI
of the responsibility to identify and demarcate indigenous lands
. He argued that those territories have very tiny isolated populations, who would be controlled by NPOs, and proposed to integrate them into the larger Brazilian society. Critics feared that such integration would lead the Brazilian natives to suffer cultural assimilation
Argentine President Mauricio Macri
was the first foreign leader to be received by Bolsonaro on a state visit to Brasília
since he assumed the Brazilian presidency.
The second inauguration of Nicolás Maduro
in Venezuela took place nine days after Bolsonaro's inauguration
. The disputed results of the 2018 Venezuelan presidential election
led to the Venezuelan presidential crisis
, as the National Assembly
rejected the results, considered Maduro an illegitimate ruler since his first term of office ended, and appointed Juan Guaidó
as acting president. Bolsonaro did not attend Maduro's inauguration and recognized Guaidó as the legitimate ruler of Venezuela, alongside Mauricio Macri
from Argentina and Donald Trump
from the US, among others. He said that "We will continue doing everything possible to re-establish order, democracy and freedom there". After allegations of campaign-finance fraud, Bolsonaro fired Gustavo Bebianno
, a top adviser and general secretary for the president. His party was accused of diverting public campaign funds to candidates who did not run for office.
Since his election, his popularity
is steadily declining. A ''Datafolha'' survey, published on 21 May 2019, showed that 34% of respondents described Bolsonaro's administration as "great or good"; 26% as "regular", 36% as "bad or awful", while 4% did not respond. This was the first time more Brazilians rejected the politics of Bolsonaro than affirmed it.
On 7 July 2020, Bolsonaro said that he had tested positive for COVID-19
. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil
, Bolsonaro and his administration have been accused of downplaying the crisis while the number of people infected by the virus in the country climbed exponentially by mid-2020. The president claimed that the coronavirus is no more deadly than the "common flu
" and that his priority is the economic recovery of the nation rather than the health crisis. He has constantly accused political opponents and the press of exaggerating the threat of the virus. On 25 July 2020, Bolsonaro announced that he had tested negative for COVID-19 in a fourth test since being diagnosed, although the following week he indicated that he had also started suffering from "mold in the lung
". Even so, he stated his opposition to mandatory vaccination against COVID-19. In August 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, Bolsonaro's popularity bounced back and showed signs of recovery, with the president registering his highest approval rating since his inauguration. In early 2021, his approval ratings fell again, mostly due to the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination controversies, and concurrent economic crisis that evolved under his watch.
Bolsonaro's political views have been described as nationalist
in nature, and he himself as an advocate of far-right
His supporters, however, claim that his views are more aligned with traditional right-wing conservatism
. His electorate is mainly formed by adults above the age of 34, the working middle
to upper class (mainly in the southeast region of the country), conservatives in general, college graduates, some centrists and the Christian right
. According to some polls, Bolsonaro's main support comes from the southeast
regions of Brazil. His voters are usually male and white
, with a noticeable gender gap, with Bolsonaro polling poorly among female voters (mustering only 18% support with this demographic).
Just before the 2018 election, however, it was reported that female support for him had risen to 27%.
Bolsonaro is viewed as a pro-life
politician, voicing opposition to most forms of gun control
legislation, arguing that law-abiding citizens have the right to self-defense, especially those living in rural areas. According to ''The Washington Post'', "Homicides hit a record high
of 63,880 last year ..
Bolsonaro's solution is zero tolerance. He has called for police to use more lethal force and wants to relax gun laws so that average citizens can defend themselves."
Bolsonaro often rejects accusations made against him of misogyny
, and says he is not "far-right", but simply right-wing.
Jair Bolsonaro is known for his strong opposition to left-wing policies
. Most notably, he has been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage
(particularly racial quotas),
immigration (particularly from Haiti, Africa and the Middle East, which he once called "the scum of humanity"),
land reforms, and secularism at the federal level,
among other things. He has also made statements in defense of the Brazilian military regime
(a dictatorship known for constant human rights violations). He argues that torture is a "legitimate practice" and says that he would try to pass new legislation regarding the introduction of life imprisonment to the Brazilian penal code. Bolsonaro supports the privatization
of state-owned companies and advocates free market policies,
although critics have stated that his policy-making record does not in fact show him to be a supporter of economic liberalism
In a 2017 interview with journalist Claudio Dantas Sequeira from ''O Antagonista
'', Bolsonaro said that his views are directly aligned with the centrist to right-wing United States citizens' views on gun ownership, abortion, gender politics, and trade, despite the "left-leaning media frenzy" against him. He reiterated that he intends to reverse some disarmament laws, improve public security, and also improve trade ties with the United States, which he said were broken during Lula da Silva
's and Dilma Rousseff
Bolsonaro has, during his long political career, expressed views regarded as being far-right. He has made statements that some people considered insulting, homophobic,
Other controversial political stances expressed by Bolsonaro have been the defense of the death penalty
(which is currently banned under the Constitution of Brazil
of 1988) and of radical interventionism in Brazil by the military, along with an imposition of a Brazilian military government
Journalist Glenn Greenwald
called Bolsonaro "the most misogynistic, hateful elected official in the democratic world". News.com.au
wondered whether Bolsonaro was "the world's most repulsive politician".
British news magazine ''The Economist
'' referred to him as a "radical", "religious nationalist", a "right-wing demagogue", and "apologist of dictators". Federico Finchelstein
, scholar on fascism and populism, has considered Bolsonaro, as he would link violence to austerity
economic ideas, to be the most similar leader to Augusto Pinochet
to come out from the young South American democracies.
Bolsonaro is an open admirer of U.S. President Donald Trump
. During Bolsonaro's campaign, some observers saw similarities between the Brazilian president-elect and the U.S. president's ideals, hardline attacks and a reputation for incendiary rhetoric, as well as social media presence. Because of this, Bolsonaro has been called the Brazilian equivalent of Trump or the "Trump of the Tropics".
Views on the Brazilian military dictatorship
Throughout his political career, Bolsonaro has made several admiring comments about the U.S.–supported Brazilian military dictatorship
which ruled the country from 1964 to 1985. He said in 1993, eight years after the return of democracy, that the military regime had "led to a more sustainable and prosperous Brazil".
Bolsonaro has publicly referred to the military dictatorship as a "glorious" period in Brazil's history,
and that under the military dictatorship, Brazil enjoyed "20 years of order and progress".
In December 2008, Bolsonaro said that "the error of the dictatorship was that it tortured, but did not kill".
Bolsonaro has also repeatedly made admiring comments about a number of other Latin American dictatorships. He praised Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori
as a role model for his use of military intervention via self-coup
against the judiciary and legislature.
In a 1998 interview with ''Veja'' magazine, Bolsonaro praised the Chilean dictatorship
of Augusto Pinochet
, and said the Pinochet regime, which killed over 3,000 Chilean citizens, "should have killed more people". In 1999, Bolsonaro said that Hugo Chávez
represented "hope for Latin America", comments that became a matter of controversy during the 2018 campaign, when Bolsonaro presented himself as a harsh critic of ''Chavismo
''. In 2019, already in power, Bolsonaro commended Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner
as a "visionary" and "statesman", drawing immediate criticism, particularly due to multiple allegations of pedophilia
Speaking before his vote in favor of President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment
amid the massive corruption scandal
, Bolsonaro paid homage to Colonel Brilhante Ustra
, an agent of Brazil's military dictatorship
, and announced on the floor of the Chamber of Deputies that he was dedicating his pro-impeachment vote to Ustra's memory. Ustra had headed the DOI-CODI
torture unit where Rousseff was allegedly tortured during the military dictatorship. Left-wing deputy Jean Wyllys
spat at him after his statement during the same session. The congressman claimed to have suffered homophobic offenses from Jair Bolsonaro and his allies.
In a TV interview with ''Câmera Aberta'' in the 1990s, Bolsonaro said that if he ever became President, he would use this as an opportunity to shut down the National Congress and instigate a military coup himself. , he appeared to have changed his mind, and said that if someone becomes the head of the country, it would be through voting.
In March 2019, Bolsonaro stated that the 1964 coup d'état
that overthrew President João Goulart
was not a coup
, and that 31 March, the day the coup was installed, should be "properly commemorated".
During the 2018 presidential campaign, Bolsonaro said he would make considerable changes to Brazil's foreign relations, saying that the "''Itamaraty
'' needs to be in service of the values that were always associated with the Brazilian people". He also said that the country should stop "praising dictators" and attacking democracies, such as the United States
In early 2018, he affirmed that his "trip to the five democratic countries the United States, Israel, Japan
, South Korea
, and Taiwan
showed who we will be and we would like to join good people". Bolsonaro has shown distrust towards China
throughout the presidential campaign claiming they "ant to
buy Brazil", although Brazil recorded a US$20 billion trade surplus with China in 2018, and China is only the 13th largest source of foreign direct investment into Brazil.
Bolsonaro said he wishes to continue to have business with the Chinese but he also said that Brazil should "make better conomic
deals" with other countries, with no "ideological agenda" behind it.
His stance towards China has also been interpreted by some as an attempt to curry favor from the Trump
administration to garner concessions from the US.
However, Bolsonaro has mostly changed his position on China after he took office, saying that the two countries were "born to walk together" during his visit to Beijing in October 2019.
He has also said that Brazil will stay out of the ongoing China-U.S. trade war
Bolsonaro said that his first international trip as president will be to Israel
Bolsonaro also said that the State of Palestine
"is not a country, so there should be no embassy here", adding that "you don't negotiate with terrorists."
The announcement was warmly received by the Prime Minister
of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu
, who welcomed Bolsonaro to Israel in March 2019 during the final weeks of a re-election campaign, but was met with condemnation from the Arab League
, which warned Bolsonaro it could damage diplomatic ties. "I love Israel," Bolsonaro said in Hebrew at a welcoming ceremony, with Netanyahu at his side, at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion airport.
Bolsonaro has also praised U.S. President Donald Trump
and his foreign policy
with Bolsonaro being named ‘the tropical Trump’. Bolsonaro's son Eduardo
has indicated that Brazil should distance itself from Iran
, sever ties with Nicolás Maduro
's government in Venezuela
and relocate Brazil's embassy in Israel
. Bolsonaro is widely considered to be the most pro-American
candidate in Brazil since the 1980s. PSL members have said that if elected, he will dramatically improve relations between the United States and Brazil
During an October 2017 campaign rally in Miami
, he saluted the American flag
and led chants of "USA! USA!" to a large crowd. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton
praised Bolsonaro as a 'like-minded' partner and said his victory was a "positive sign" for Latin America.
At the regional level, he praised the Argentine President Mauricio Macri
for ending the 12-years rule of Néstor
and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
, which he saw as similar to Lula and Rousseff. Although he does not have plans of leaving the Mercosur
, he criticized that it gave priority to ideological issues instead of economic ones. A staunch anti-communist, Bolsonaro has condemned Cuba
's former leader Fidel Castro
and the current regime in that island.
Bolsonaro praised British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
, saying that he had learned from Churchill: "Patriotism, love for your fatherland, respect for your flag – something that has been lost over the last few years here in Brazil... and governing through example, especially at that difficult moment of the Second World War."
Bolsonaro said he's open to the possibility of hosting a U.S. military base
in Brazil to counter Russia
n influence in the region. With the intention of the U.S. President Donald Trump to make Brazil a NATO
member in March 2019, Bolsonaro said: "the discussions with the United States will begin in the coming months".
With formal support from the United States for Brazil's entry on OECD
in May 2019, Bolsonaro said that "currently, all 36 members of the organization support the entry of the country, fruit of confidence in the new Brazil being built, more free, open and fair". In October 2019, on a state visit to China, Bolsonaro announced the end of the need for visas for Chinese and Indian entry into Brazil. The Brazilian government had already removed the need for visas for people from the United States, Canada, Japan, and Australia.
On 25 January 2020, on his first state visit to India, Bolsonaro said that Brazil will continue to demand a permanent seat
on the UN Security Council
, and that will remain a priority on his government. Together with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
, he said that "Brazil and India are two great countries, among the ten largest economies in the world, that together have 1.5 billion inhabitants, are democratic countries. We believe that it will be good for the world if Brazil and India join this group". As the head of the state, he became the chief guest at the Delhi Republic Day parade
on 26 January 2020.
On 7 March 2020, Bolsonaro was hosted by the U.S. President Donald Trump
for a working dinner, where the two leaders discussed the U.S.-led effort to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro
, a future trade deal and peace for the Middle East, also Trump reaffirmed his interest in upgrading the American military alliance with Brazil, suggesting give to the country a full NATO
membership, as part of an effort to fortify the Western Hemisphere against Russian and Chinese influence.
On 20 January 2021, in a letter to the new U.S. President, Joe Biden
, Bolsonaro wrote that he would work to strengthen ties between Brazil and the U.S. in the areas of economy, environment, defense, technology, both bilaterally and in international institutions in order to strengthen stability and security in the hemisphere and around the world. Biden welcomed Bolsonaro's words and the opportunity for the countries to join efforts, saying, "there are no limits to what Brazil and the U.S. can achieve together" and stressing that his administration was "ready to work closely with the Brazilian government in this new chapter of the bilateral relationship".
On 6 April 2021, Bolsonaro discussed with the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin
, the creation of a consortium between Brazil and Russia for the mass production of the COVID-19
vaccine Sputnik V
, in Brazilian territory, in addition to cooperation in trade, defense, science and technology. During the administration of the U.S. President Donald Trump
, the U.S. pushed Brazil to reject Sputnik V. According to ''The Economist
'' magazine, Bolsonaro’s policies are the main reason the EU has not ratified a trade deal with Mercosur
Brazil has the world's largest tropical rainforest
in the Amazon basin
. According to ''The Washington Post
'', "Bolsonaro is a powerful supporter of agribusiness ..
and is likely to favor profits over preservation. ..
Bolsonaro has chafed at foreign pressure to safeguard the Amazon rainforest
, and he served notice to international nonprofit groups such as the World Wildlife Fund
that he will not tolerate their agendas in Brazil. He has also come out strongly against lands
reserved for indigenous tribes
. Bolsonaro advisers additionally say that he plans to expand nuclear
and hydroelectric power into the Amazon."
Bolsonaro rejects the scientific consensus on climate change
. He repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the Paris Agreement
during his campaign.
Even before taking office, he backed out of Brazil's offer to host the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference
. Ernesto Araújo
, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs appointed by Bolsonaro, has called global warming a plot
by "cultural Marxists" and eliminated the Climate Change Division of the ministry.
Two departments of the Ministry of the Environment
dealing with climate change in Brazil
and mitigation and one dealing with deforestation were also eliminated.
In April 2019, the American Museum of Natural History
canceled an event honoring Bolsonaro after facing heavy public criticism, including from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
. The museum's directorate justified its decision in a statement, "With mutual respect for the work and goals of our organizations, we jointly agreed that the Museum is not the optimal location for the Brazilian-Am. Chamber of Commerce gala dinner. This traditional event will go forward at another location on the original date and time." Bolsonaro supported plans to open the Reserva Nacional do Cobre e Associados (Renca) Amazonian
reserve in Brazil's northern states of Pará
to commercial mining
Destruction of the Amazon rainforest
increased by 88% for the month of June 2019, during Bolsonaro's first year as president, as compared with the previous year, according to National Institute for Space Research
(INPE). Bolsonaro rejected the agency's data as false. The IPSE director was fired after he rebutted Bolsonaro's criticism of IPSE. The Bolsonaro administration decreased government efforts to combat illegal logging, ranching and mining in the Amazon. Government enforcement actions such as fines, warnings and the confiscation or destruction of illegal equipment in protected areas decreased by 20% in the first half of 2018 compared to the first half of 2017.
In June 2019, German Chancellor Angela Merkel
said she was concerned about deforestation
in the Amazon rainforest and would seek "straight talk with Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro on the upcoming G20 summit
in Osaka". She also said that the situation "does not affect the imminent free trade agreement between Mercosur
and the EU
". After French President Emmanuel Macron
conditioned France's support for a trade accord between the European Union
to Brazil remaining in the Paris Agreement
, Bolsonaro said, at the meeting of the G20 in Osaka, that Brazil "will not leave the Paris Agreement", also inviting Macron to visit Brazil's Amazon region.
During a conversation with journalists in July 2019, Bolsonaro lashed out at European leaders, saying that the Amazon belongs to Brazil and European countries can mind their own business because they have already "destroyed their environment". He also said: "We preserve more ainforest
than anyone. No country in the world has the moral right to talk about Amazon."
During the 2019 Brazil wildfires
, Bolsonaro accused (without providing any evidence) non-governmental organizations of starting the forest fires, due to a reduction of government funding to the NGOs. Environmental and climate experts described Bolsonaro's accusation as a "smokescreen" to hide his own government's rolling back of protections for the Amazon. They instead attributed the fires to farmers clearing land.
In August 2019, Bolsonaro accused Macron of having "a misplaced colonialist mentality in the 21st century" in reference to criticism by the French president, when he called on G7 leaders to discuss the Amazon crisis
. He later tweeted "I regret that the President Macron seeks to exploit an internal issue in Brazil and other Amazonian countries for personal political gains." He added that "the Brazilian government remains open to dialogue, based on objective data and mutual respect." Macron stated he will refuse to ratify the European Union–Mercosur Free Trade Agreement
unless Brazil commits to protecting the environment. Bolsonaro's Facebook comments mocking Brigitte Macron's looks escalated the diplomatic clash, which was dubbed "the worst diplomatic crisis between France and Brazil in 40 years". Macron said that the French overseas territory of French Guiana
on the northern coast of South America is France's biggest land border.
In 2020 the government of Brazil pledged to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030. It also set a target of reaching carbon neutrality by 2060 if it receives 10 billion dollars per year as help from the international community.
On 15 April 2021, in a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden
, Bolsonaro said that Brazil is committed to ending illegal deforestation in the Amazon by 2030 and stated "the need of an adequate financial support from the international community, compatible with the magnitude and urgency of the challenges to be faced". According to TV host and entrepreneur Luciano Huck
, outreach from the Biden administration "opens a door for Brazil to correct its current course of climate denialism". Nearly 200 Brazilian organizations published an open letter in April 2021, warning US lawmakers against making deals with Bolsonaro's administration unless it reverses its anti-environmental agenda. According to a ''Mother Jones'' article, deforestation in the Amazon reached a 12-year high during Bolsonaro's administration and he has dismantled environmental policies, removed resources from enforcement agencies, and reduced environmental regulations.
During the Leaders Summit on Climate
, Bolsonaro pledges Brazil will go carbon neutral by 2050, ten years ahead of the goal established in the Paris Agreement.
Christianity and secularism
Bolsonaro is a member of the Catholic Church
(while his wife and one of his sons are Evangelical Christian
s). However, according to ''The New Yorker
'' reporter Jon Lee Anderson
"he had himself baptized as an evangelical rotestant
early in his campaign, by being ceremonially dunked in the Jordan River." He is reported to have attended a Baptist
church for 10 years. In a 2017 speech, Bolsonaro stated, "God above everything. There is no such thing as a secular state
. The state is Christian, and any minority that is against this has to change, if they can." He later evolved his position to maintaining the country a secular state during the first round of the Brazilian presidential elections: "We are going to make a government for everyone, regardless of religion. Even for atheists. We have almost 5% of atheists in Brazil, and they have the same needs that others have."
Views on women
In an interview with ''Zero Hora'' in 2015, Bolsonaro argued that men and women should not receive the same salaries, because women get pregnant, adding that he believes federal law mandating paid maternity leave
harms work productivity. Bolsonaro has denied saying that women should receive less than men; he claims it was statistical data by IBGE
In a public speech in April 2017, Bolsonaro said he had five children, that the first four were male and that for the fifth he produced a daughter out of "a moment of weakness".
Bolsonaro provoked controversy for a series of remarks made to and about Federal Deputy and former Human Rights Minister Maria do Rosário
. During a Congressional debate, Bolsonaro said that minors should be treated as adults if they commit heinous crimes such as murder or rape, to which Maria do Rosário responded by calling him a "rapist". Bolsonaro then stated that Congresswoman Rosário was "not worth raping; she is very ugly". The remarks drew considerable condemnation throughout Brazil. In the aftermath of these remarks, Bolsonaro was tried and convicted in a Federal court in September 2015 on counts of hedonic damages
against Rosário. In June 2016, the Federal Supreme Court responded to a complaint filed by the Attorney General
and decided to open two criminal actions against Bolsonaro. The Supreme Court ruled that he had potentially incited
rape and defamed
the honor of his fellow Deputy. He faced a penalty of up to six months of jail and a fine. Ultimately in August 2017, an appellate court upheld a lower court's verdict which found Bolsonaro guilty and sentenced him to pay a fine to Rosário of R$10,000 (roughly equivalent to US$2,500). This lawsuit was dismissed by the Supreme Federal Court as Bolsonaro was inaugurated as president in 2019 and acquired immunity from prosecution
Views on homosexuality
In a June 2011 interview with ''Playboy
'', Bolsonaro said that "I would be incapable of loving a gay son", and added that he would prefer any gay son of his "to die in an accident". In the same interview, Bolsonaro said that if a gay couple moved in next door to him, it would lower the market value of his house. In a July 2011 interview with the magazine ''Época,'' Bolsonaro said that he would "fight to prevent the distribution of the 'gay kit'" set of guidelines proposed by [[UNESCO
to promote the rights of the LGBT community in primary schools] because "their intention is to promote homosexuality, which is an affront to the family structure, and if that makes me prejudiced, then I'm prejudiced and very proud of it".
In the 2013 BBC documentary ''Out There'', by British actor Stephen Fry
, Bolsonaro said that "no father is ever proud of having a gay son," and that "we Brazilians do not like homosexuals."
In a 2011 interview with ''Jornal de Notícias'', Bolsonaro linked homosexuality to pedophilia
, stating that "many of the children who are adopted by gay couples will be abused by these couples". He further argued that Brazil does not need legislation specifically targeting homophobia, because "most homosexuals are murdered by their respective pimps at hours when good citizens are already asleep". In a May 2002 interview with the ''Folha de S.Paulo
'', Bolsonaro told the newspaper, "If I see two men kissing in the street, I will beat them." He then publicly defended beating gay children by saying: "If your child starts to become like that, a little gay, you take a whip and you change their behavior."
In a video interview for ''Vice
'' with Elliot Page
, an openly lesbian
actress at the time, Page asked Bolsonaro whether he should have been beaten as a child (alluding to Bolsonaro's public statements that gay children should be beaten). Bolsonaro replied, "You are very nice. If I were a cadet in the military academy and saw you on the street, I would whistle at you. All right? You are very pretty."
Bolsonaro added, "Over time, due to liberal habits, drugs, with women also working, the number of homosexuals has really increased."
On 9 November 2017, the Court of Justice for the State of Rio de Janeiro sentenced Bolsonaro to pay a fine of R$150,000 for hate speech
because of televised comments he made in 2011 to the ''CQC'' TV program
, when Bolsonaro stated that "there is no risk" of his family producing a homosexual child because his children had a "good education". Judge Luciana Teixeira said that the deputy had abused his right of free expression to commit a wrongful act. "You cannot deliberately attack and humiliate, ignoring the principles of equality, just because you invoke freedom of expression," said the judge.
However, on 11 January 2016, when he began to present himself as a pre-candidate to the Presidency of Brazil
, Bolsonaro began to moderate his discourse on gay people by publishing a video on his official YouTube channel:
I have nothing to do with anyone's behavior. If the man and the woman later decide to live with their partner, to form a couple, to live with a same-sex person, go and be happy. But we cannot admit that, by our omission in the Parliament, children become homosexuals in the future, or have such homosexual behavior in the future, by the influence of school. That is inadmissible.
Since then, Bolsonaro states he has nothing against gays and that he fights only the "gay kit" in schools. On 4October 2018, for example, Bolsonaro said:
Each person, after a certain age, owner of their acts, will take care of their life. For six-year-old children, it cannot be. A father does not want to come home and see his son playing with a doll by the influence of school. Homosexuals will be happy if I become president.
That same month, shortly before the first round of the Brazilian presidential elections, he said: "We are going to make a government for everybody. For gays, and some gays are fathers, who are mothers. It is a work for everyone".
After being elected president, when asked by William Bonner
in the ''Jornal Nacional
'' about what he would say to those who are more prejudiced and aggressive against gays, Bolsonaro replied: "The aggression against a fellow man has to be punished in the way of law. And if uch aggression is committed
for a reason like this, you have to have your sentence increased."
Views on political violence
On multiple occasions, Bolsonaro has publicly endorsed physical violence as a legitimate and necessary form of political action. In 1999, when he was 44 years old and a representative in the Brazilian Congress, Bolsonaro said during a TV interview that the only way of "changing" Brazil was by "killing thirty thousand people, beginning with Fernando Henrique Cardoso
" (then President of Brazil). During the 2018 campaign, he stated during a rally in Acre
that the local "petralhas" (a derogatory term for members of the Workers' Party) would be "shot"; according to his aides, the statement was a "joke". One week before the second round, Bolsonaro said during a speech that in his administration "petralhas" and "reds" (i.e. leftists) would be arrested, purged or taken to the "corner of the beach", a term that was later revealed to mean a Navy base where dissidents of the Brazilian military dictatorship
In 1999, talking about Chico Lopes
, a former president of the Brazilian Central Bank who invoked his right to remain silent during a Congress hearing, Bolsonaro declared himself in favour of torture in this sort of situation. Asked about this phrase years later, Bolsonaro said: "Ask the father of a kidnapped child what he would like him to do to discover here the kid is
You have to take brutal measures, which some consider torture".
Birth control for the poor
Bolsonaro provoked considerable controversy for public remarks made in July 2008, where he proposed to provide poor people with birth control methods, who he suggested might be too uneducated to understand family planning education. Bolsonaro said:
I wish Brazil had a family planning program. It's not even worthy to talk about education when most of these oorpeople are not prepared to receive education, therefore they won't educate themselves. Only rigid birth control can save us from chaos. An educated man and woman will hardly desire an extra child with the sole purpose of engaging in a social welfare assistance program s it is nowadays We need to adopt a rigid birth control policy. We can't make demagogic speeches any longer, proposing bills and means of government to support these poor people hoare increasingly proliferating throughout the country. ..People who aren't prepared to have children, shouldn't have them. This is what I stand for and I'm not worried about getting votes in the future. It's past time to discuss a policy to contain this demographic explosion, otherwise, we'll keep voting in this Chamber only matters such as Bolsa Família, loans for the poor, gas vouchers, etc. Methods f birth controlhave to be provided for those who, unfortunately, are ignorant and have no means to control their offspring. Because we s upper-middle classcan control ours. Poor people don't control heirs
As a Congressman, Bolsonaro put forward three bills trying to remove "virtually all" legal restrictions to surgical sterilisation via the public health system, including the reduction of "the minimum age of sterilization to 21 years". None of the bills were voted.
Bolsonaro has been married three times and has five children. His first wife was Rogéria Nantes Braga (with whom he has three sons: Flávio
). His second marriage was with Ana Cristina Valle (with whom he has a son, Renan). In 2007, he married his third and current wife Michelle de Paula Firmo Reinaldo
(with whom he has a daughter, Laura). While working in Congress, Bolsonaro hired Michelle as a secretary and over the next two years she received unusual promotions and her salary more than tripled. He was forced to fire her after the Supreme Federal Court
ruled that nepotism
is illegal in the public administration. , Bolsonaro and his wife lived in Barra da Tijuca
, Rio de Janeiro
Honours and awards
Grand Master and Grand Cross of the Order of Rio Branco
(1 January 2019)
Grand Master and Grand Cross of the Order of Defence Merit
(8 January 2019)
Grand Master and Grand Cross of the Order of Military Merit
(16 June 2019)
Grand Master and Grand Cross of the Order of Naval Merit
(8 January 2019)
Grand Master and Grand Cross of the Order of Aeronautical Merit
(3 January 2019)
Grand Collar of the Order of Labor Judicial Merit
(13 August 2019)
Grand Cross of the Order of Military Judicial Merit
(28 March 2019)
The Mauá Medal of Merit
(15 August 2019)
The Peacemaker Medal
(5 December 2018)
* One of ''Time
'' magazine's 100 most influential people in 2019 and 2020
* Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce's 2019 Person of the Year
's 2020 Person of the Year "for his role in promoting organized crime and corruption"
Chamber of Deputies
President of Brazil
Profile in the Chamber of Deputies
Category:20th-century Roman Catholics
Category:21st-century Roman Catholics
Category:Brazilian conspiracy theorists
Category:Brazilian people of Calabrian descent
Category:Brazilian people of German descent
Category:Brazilian people of Italian descent
Category:Brazilian people of Venetian descent
Category:Brazilian Roman Catholics
Category:Conservatism in Brazil
Category:Critics of multiculturalism
Category:Democratic Social Party politicians
Category:Far-right politics in Brazil
Category:Gun rights advocates
Category:Liberal Front Party (Brazil) politicians
Category:Male critics of feminism
Category:Members of the Chamber of Deputies (Brazil) from Rio de Janeiro (state)
Category:Municipal Chamber of Rio de Janeiro councillors
Category:People from Glicério
Category:Presidents of Brazil
Category:Reform Progressive Party politicians
Category:Right-wing populism in South America
Category:Social Christian Party (Brazil) politicians
Category:Social Liberal Party (Brazil) politicians