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Embassy of Brazil reacts to comparisons between Duterte and Bolsonaro

05:01 AM January 08, 2019

It is my duty to refer to the Opinion article “Brazil’s Duterte” by Gideon Lasco (1/3/19).

We share the view that freedom of the press is a precious value to the people and to society as a whole, one that cannot be underestimated. This value, I assure you, is vigorously praised by the Brazilian government and defended by the Brazilian people.

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As much as I am aware that the column “Second Opinion” is not intended to project an opinion of the newspaper as an editorial does, I am well aware that its goal is to freely convey to readers an individual opinion, in this case Lasco’s.

Notwithstanding robust sources and research material that enlighten an article, I am persuaded that factual accuracy should always prevail.

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It is within such a framework that I take this opportunity to clarify factual events mentioned in the article that do not correspond to reality.

President Jair Bolsonaro took office on Jan. 1, 2019, pursuant to the result of a democratic, broad and transparent electoral process. More than 150 million Brazilians participated in the elections, in two rounds of votes, whose strict compliance with the law was attested not only by the Brazilian Supreme Electoral Court but also by several international observers.

Thus, President Bolsonaro was duly elected by the vote of 58 million Brazilians, after a competitive campaign within the rule of the electoral law, a fact which — per se — reinforces the vitality of political institutions and democracy in Brazil.

As a result of the October 2018 presidential election, the Brazilian people renewed faith and high hopes in the government. Brazilians are confident that President Bolsonaro will be able to attain significant progress in the fight against corruption and urban violence, as well as in the process of government modernization and infrastructure improvement.

By tackling these priorities, Bolsonaro’s administration aims at facilitating business (cutting what is generally called “Brazil cost”), providing public security and economic growth, all so eagerly desired by the population.

Indeed, we shall never forget that the fruit of corruption is money taken from the pocket of each and every citizen, and urban violence means freedom taken from the life of citizens regardless of social status.

As for the specific alleged characteristics of misogyny, homophobia and racism of the Brazilian president, it is appropriate to remind that His Excellency has never publicly acknowledged such positions.

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On the other hand, he has repeatedly affirmed that his
government will not tolerate discrimination of any nature. It is my assessment that the quotes presented in the article were taken out of context and do not accurately portray the character of President Bolsonaro nor his policy agenda.

Lasco’s reference to a “police force known for brutality” in Brazil is also perceived as a less than proper generalization. According to Brazil’s federative structure, military police forces (commonly known as PM) are under the competence of state (provincial) governments, not the Union (federal government). In fact, state authorities are engaged daily in a tough fight against urban violence.

In the state of Sao Paulo, the most populous in Brazil, homicide levels have been decreasing steadily over the years. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, worsening urban violence led to the intervention of federal forces in the area of public security by the government of then President Michel Temer, with positive results.

I firmly believe that the present information may be useful to your distinguished readers.

RODRIGO DO AMARAL SOUZA,
Ambassador, Embassy of the Federative Republic of Brazil

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TAGS: Brazil’s Duterte, Gideon Lasco, Inquirer letters, Jair Bolsonaro, Rodrigo Do Amaral Souza, Rodrigo Duterte
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