TORONTO - Jair Bolsonaro will be elected President of Brazil this Sunday, October 28. It’s a safe bet. The only surprise may be in the margin of victory over his rival candidate, Fernando Haddad.
Brazil, you say? Did we not just go through the [Soccer] World Cup? Canada’s mainstream Media, both left and right-leaning, went apoplectic when they discovered that there was a sliver of interest in the outcome of the election last October 7.
They “pressed themselves into action” with the predictable, superficial coverage focused on the stereotypical left/right standbys; which groups support whom; comparisons to “political nutbars” from countries around the world.
Brazil deserves more than “drive-by” attention. It is the ninth largest country by land mass. Its vast jungles are the oxygen-producing lungs of the planet. Its bio-diversity is the raw material for the pharmaceutical industry world-wide.
The fact that its abundant natural resources are drawing the attention of rapacious enterprises makes it imperative that corporate responsibility be enforced by a government ready to guide Brazil to the upper echelons of world leadership. It already has a demographic critical mass of over 200 million inhabitants.
To paraphrase a reference to similarities in European Antiquity: it strides like a colossus among the member countries of Central and South America.
Yet all is not well. Its last two Presidents, both from the Left side of the political divide, have presided over corrosive national trends marked by a lessening of “moral fibre”, growing corruption and widespread violence.
Life outside gated-communities is a risky business – 61,283 people met a violent death last year. In fact, the murder rate stands at 29.53 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Canada’s by comparison last year stood was 1.4; Italy’s, 0.6.
The main issue is a self-evident “law and order” rallying cry. No one has to invent talking points. The country knows the police has to be recruited, trained and equipped to enforce the laws of the land and to provide evidence of “due process”.
Bolsonaro, an experienced, elected legislator and former member of the Military brings instant credibility for those who see the role of government and the State as the “leveller” between the bully entrepreneurial class and the aspiring, disadvantaged masses.
In the run-off election, he garnered 46% of the vote, when just under 80% of the voting public exercised its mandate. Voting is mandatory in Brazil. The participation rate is likely to climb on Sunday.
In Toronto’s ever-growing, 55,000 strong Brazilian community (plus an estimated 20,000 non-registered, undocumented) 57% of the 10,000 registered voters cast a ballot - 53% of them in Bolsonaro’s favour. No one else was even close.
Politics still has significance for Brazialian-Canadians. They’ll do their part to get Bolsonaro the additional 4% he needs to go over the top.