Prominent US Senator Bernie Sanders has spoken out against the threat posed to human rights and democracy in the event that Jair Bolsonaro, the far right frontrunner in the race to be the next President of Brazil, wins in the second round of voting on Sunday 28 October.
Sanders also reiterated his support for Brazil’s most popular politician, Lula, whose status as a political prisoner has prevented him from standing in this year’s election. Had Lula not been imprisoned by Brazil’s right wing, unelected judiciary on trumped up charges, all the opinion polls suggest he would have overwhelmingly won the election and defeated Bolsonaro.
In a major speech on US foreign policy on Tuesday 9 October at Johns Hopkins University, Senator Bernie Sanders said:
“There is currently a struggle of enormous consequence taking place in the United States and throughout the world.
“In it we see two competing visions for the future. On the one hand we see a growing worldwide movement towards authoritarianism, oligarchy and kleptocracy. On the other hand we see a growing movement towards strengthening democracy, towards respecting diversity, towards fighting for egalitarianism and for economic, social, racial and environmental justice. This struggle has consequences for the entire future of the planet…
“Just this past weekend in Brazil’s Presidential election, right-wing leader Jair Bolsonaro, who has been called the Donald Trump of Brazil, made a very strong showing in the first round of voting, coming up just short of the 50% he needed for victory.
“Bolsonaro has a long record of attacks against immigrants, minorities, women, against LGBT people. Bolsonaro who has said he loves Donald Trump, has praised Brazil’s former military dictatorship and he said among other things that in order to deal with crime police should simply be allowed to shoot more criminals. This is the person who may soon lead the world’s fifth most populous country and its ninth largest economy.
“Meanwhile at the same time Brazil’s most popular politician, former President Lula da Silva, is imprisoned on highly questionable charges and prevented from running again despite polls that showed he was in first place.”
Over the past week a number of cultural figures have also backed the #EleNao movement including Dua Lipa, Nicole Scherzinger, Kehlani, Diplo, Pabllo Vittar and Shandela as well as Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds.
The founder of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, spoke out during his concert at Sao Paulo’s Allianz Park stadium on 10 October. He said:
“You do have a very important election coming up in three weeks’ time. So at some point you are going to have to decide who you want your next President to be.
“I know it’s none of my business – except that, by and large, I am against the resurgence of fascism all over the world. And as a believer in human rights – and that includes the right to peaceful protest under the law – I would prefer not to live under the rules of someone who believes military dictatorship is a good thing. I remember the bad old days in South America – with the juntas of the military dictatorship – and it was ugly.”
The outcome of the Brazilian election will have a massive impact on the people of Brazil. Bolsonaro is seeking to roll back and destroy the progressive legacy of successive left-wing Workers Party’s governments and attack the population’s living standards, as well as social and political rights.
The result of this election also carries great significance in the struggle for human progress and liberation internationally. A win for Bolsonaro would be a victory for all reactionary forces worldwide. A victory for the left candidate Haddad would be a tremendous boost to the struggle for a better world.
International solidarity and support for the left in Brazil over the next two weeks as we approach the final round of polling on Sunday 28 October is an important contribution for all those against the new rise of the far right.