In all the time we spend considering the persistent, almost willful stupidity and sexism of our American elected officials — Looking at you, Florida congressman who held a men-only fundraiser! Shout-out to you, Wisconsin rep who called welfare a "bribe" for lazy single moms! — it's occasionally worth looking outside the country. Today let's look at the esteemed career of Jair Bolsonaro, a Brazilian congressman and former military official during the 20-year period where the country was ruled by a brutal, murderous military dictatorship. He's making news again for his single-minded campaign against a female colleague, who he's referred to as a "slut" and pushed in front of cameras. Last month, during his remarks from the floor of the federal congress, he told the same congresswoman: "I would not rape you. You don't merit that."
Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985. The country is in the middle of a period of painful reflection, after a three-year study from the National Truth Commission released this week reported that more than 191 people were killed during this period of military rule and 243 more "disappeared." The report, according to the Guardian, ran more than 2,000 pages, "named 377 officials who were blamed for serious human rights violations and recommended a revision to the 1979 Amnesty Law so that perpetrators can be prosecuted."
According to the Intercept, in a joint column written by Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman, who are both based in Brazil, Bolsonaro isn't a military man any longer, but remains a big fan of their work. When the commission was preparing to release their report, Congresswoman Maria do Rosário praised their work, calling the dictatorship an "absolute shame" for the country.
Bolsonaro spoke next, and according to Fishman and Greenwald, began by immediately terrorizing do Rosário:
He began by immediately demanding that do Rosário, who was preparing to leave the chamber, remain to hear him, yelling: "No, Maria do Rosário, don't leave! Stay here, Maria do Rosário. Stay!" Referencing her statements about the well-documented use of rape by the military dictatorship against female opponents, he bellowed: "I would not rape you. You don't merit that." The meaning was clear, particularly in the original Portuguese: while some women are good enough to be so blessed, do Rosário wasn't even good enough to deserve his rape.
Bolsonaro has a long obsession with bullying do Rosário; the Intercept reports that in 2003, during her first year, he called her a slut, shoved her and told her to "go cry" directly in front a reporter filming the entire encounter:
Bolsonoro is also virulently anti-gay, making public reference to "faggots" and saying he'd rather his son die in a car accident than be gay. He's also so racist and generally intolerant that Amnesty International wrote an outraged editorial about him in 2011, saying "Brazilians deserve much better," calling him essentially a personification of the country's human rights abuses.
Looks like we've found the only man in the known universe who might want to be friends with Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
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