Who is Jair Bolsonaro?
(CNN Spanish) — The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, will bet on his re-election in the elections this Sunday. Here, a life review and the most important data of his political career:
Date of Birth: May 21, 1955
Place of birth: Campinas, Brazil
Birth name: Jair Messiah Bolsonaro
Dad: Percy Geraldo Bolsonaro, dentist
Mother: Olinda Bonturi Bolsonaro
Marriages: Michelle Bolsonaro; Ana Cristina Valle (divorced); Rogeria Bolsonaro (divorced)
Sons: with Michelle Bolsonaro: Laura; with Ana Cristina Valle: Jair Renan; with Rogéria Bolsonaro: Flavio, Carlos and Eduardo
Education: Agulhas Negras Military Academy
Armed forces: army, captain
Religion: Catholic Apostolic Roman
Jair Bolsonaro, a conservative-leaning provocateur, is notable for rhetoric that commonly targets women and the LGBTQ community. In 2003, he told a congresswoman that she did not deserve to be raped. During a 2011 interview with Playboy magazine, Bolsonaro said that he would be unable to love a gay son. He has expressed a feeling of nostalgia for Brazil’s past as a military dictatorship.
Before becoming president, Bolsonaro completed seven terms as a legislator in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies. While in Congress, his priorities included protecting the rights of citizens to bear firearms, promoting Christian values and being tough on crime. In 2017, he said: “A policeman who does not kill is not a policeman.”
Bolsonaro changed his party affiliation numerous times, eventually campaigning for president as a member of the Social Liberal Party. He was elected president in 2018 after defeating Fernando Haddad, then the candidate of the Workers’ Party, in the second round.
When he took office, Brazil was suffering from a prolonged period of economic malaise and was hit by rising insecurity. His rise was preceded by the corruption scandal known as Lava Jato, which rocked political and financial institutions. During his inaugural speech, Bolsonaro promised to transform Brazil into a “strong and booming country.”
Among the highlights of his four years in office is his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Bolsonaro not only minimized the severity of the disease, which he defined as a “flu”, but also confronted the governors who were taking measures to prevent the spread of the virus. He participated in mobilizations against confinement, rejected the use of face masks and, later, cast doubt on the effectiveness of vaccines by saying that those who were vaccinated had a higher risk of contracting AIDS.
After campaigning on the issue, Bolsonaro temporarily removed a regulation that limited purchases of firearms through a decree, only to those who present a justification to own a weapon. Also, that gave the police discretion to approve or deny the sale of weapons.
1986: Bolsonaro writes an opinion column in Veja magazine that criticizes the Brazilian army’s payment system. Later he is punished for insubordination.
1989-1991: Councilor of Rio de Janeiro.
1991-2018: He is a congressman representing Rio de Janeiro in the Chamber of Deputies.
July 22, 2018: Bolsonaro announces his candidacy for the presidency.
August 15, 2018: Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil, announces that he submitted the necessary documentation to register as a candidate for the Workers’ Party to run against Bolsonaro. Lula da Silva campaigns from prison, where she is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption.
September 1, 2018: The most important electoral court in Brazil bars Lula da Silva from running for re-election while in prison. Ultimately, a former São Paulo mayor named Fernando Haddad runs as the Workers’ Party candidate.
September 6, 2018: Bolsonaro is stabbed in the stomach during a campaign rally. He spends more than three weeks in the hospital.
October 7, 2018: Electors vote in the first round of elections. Although Bolsonaro wins more votes than Haddad, he does not exceed the 50% threshold. A second round is set for later in the month.
October 28, 2018: Bolsonaro wins the second round. The final count gives Bolsonaro 55.13%, compared to 44.87% for Haddad.
January 1, 2019: Bolsonaro takes office. On the same day, he issues a series of decrees. One of them could eliminate many LGBT civil rights protections by removing the problems of this community from the list of issues handled by the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights. Another order gives the Ministry of Agriculture the authority to designate indigenous lands, paving the way for agricultural development in previously unexploitable areas.
January 15, 2019: Bolsonaro signs a decree that temporarily eliminates a regulation that limits purchases of firearms only to people who present a justification to own a weapon. The regulation gave police discretion to approve or deny gun sales.
January 28, 2019: Official sources report that Bolsonaro underwent successful surgery to remove a colostomy bag that was put in after he was stabbed four months earlier.
February 28, 2019: Bolsonaro meets with Juan Guaidó, leader of the opposition of Venezuela and considered by several governments as interim president, in Brasilia. During a joint press conference, Bolsonaro pledges Brazil’s support to help ensure “the reestablishment of democracy in Venezuela.”
May 3, 2019: A Bolsonaro spokesman announces that the president has canceled a trip to New York, where he was to be honored with a Person of the Year award from the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce. The trip was canceled amid political backlash. The American Museum of Natural History, the original host of the event, canceled it and some corporate sponsors withdrew. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio had called Bolsonaro a “dangerous man.”
May 7, 2019: Bolsonaro signs a decree relaxing restrictions on gun control. The decree makes it easier to import weapons and increases the amount of ammunition an individual can buy annually.
July 11, 2019: During a press conference, Bolsonaro says he wants his son Eduardo Bolsonaro be ambassador to the United States. He says that Eduardo is a friend of the sons of the US President Donald Trump.
August 23, 2019: Bolsonaro announces a plan to send army troops to fight the forest fires that devastate the Amazon jungle.
August 26, 2019: At the G7 summit in France, the President of the European nation, Emmanuel Macron, announces an emergency fund of US$20 million to help Brazil with the fires. Bolsonaro responds that he cannot accept Macron’s “intentions behind the idea of an ‘alliance’ of the G7 countries to ‘save’ the Amazon, as if we were a colony or no man’s land.” The dispute unfolds after a Facebook user posted a meme ridiculing the appearance of Macron’s wife on Bolsonaro’s page and the president joked: “Don’t humiliate the guy… haha.”
September 8, 2019: Bolsonaro undergoes a hernia operation to treat complications from previous surgeries performed while recovering from a stab wound.
December 24, 2019: He tells the Band television network that he was hospitalized overnight after falling in the presidential palace on December 23. He comments that he had a brief memory loss, but that he recovered.
April 19, 2020: Bolsonaro joins a protest in the country’s capital, where demonstrators called for an end to the covid-19 quarantine measures and some urged military intervention to close Congress and the Supreme Court. He later defends his involvementsaying that he was not calling for military action against the country’s other branches of government.
June 23, 2020: A federal judge in Brasilia orders Bolsonaro to wear a mask in public or face a fine. The decision extends to all government employees in the Federal District, where the capital Brasilia is located.
July 7, 2020: Bolsonaro announces that he tested positive for covid-19, after months of downplaying the virus.
March 16, 2021: a Brazilian court orders Jair Bolsonaro to pay compensation to a journalist for damages, after the president made comments that questioned his credibility.
April 27, 2021: The Brazilian Senate opens an investigation into the federal government’s response to covid-19.
July 14, 2021: Bolsonaro is hospitalized to investigate the reason for the persistent hiccups that cause abdominal painaccording to the Special Secretariat of Social Communication of Brazil.
January 3, 2022: President Bolsonaro is hospitalized for intestinal obstruction, according to the Vila Nova Star hospital in Sao Paulo.
July 18, 2022: At an event with foreign diplomatic envoys, Bolsonaro says he is working to “correct the defects” of the electoral process, casting doubt on the transparency of the democratic process. “We want a real democracy,” he said.
July 24, 2022: The Liberal Party of Brazil makes Bolsonaro official as a candidate for presidential re-election during a national convention in Rio de Janeiro.
September 23, 2022: Bolsonaro affirms that, if he is re-elected, he will elect ministers to the Federal Supreme Court (STF) who are against the legalization of abortion. “We are not going to discuss abortion in Brazil”, he said, at a rally in Divinópolis (MG) according to Agencia do Brasil.