Here Are Some of Brazil Front-Runner Jair Bolsonaro’s Most Incendiary Statements

(Bloomberg) -- Jair Bolsonaro, a former Army captain and seven-term lawmaker with a penchant for courting controversy, has become the embodiment of Brazil’s divided society. He posted a huge victory Sunday in the first round of presidential elections, setting him up to win the decisive second round in three weeks despite the fact 44 percent of Brazilians say there’s no way they’d ever vote for him. If you’re new to Brazil politics and trying to understand why Bolsonaro’s such a polarizing figure, here’s a sampling of some of the most controversial comments he’s made in recent years:

Here Are Some of Brazil Front-Runner Jair Bolsonaro’s Most Incendiary Statements
  • June 2011 -- “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son,” Bolsonaro said in an interview with Playboy magazine. “I won’t be a hypocrite: I prefer a son to die in an accident than show up with a mustachioed guy. He’d be dead to me anyway.”
  • October 2014 -- "She doesn’t deserve to be raped, because she’s very ugly,” Bolsonaro said in an interview with local media, referring to a fellow congresswoman. “She’s not my type. I would never rape her. I’m not a rapist, but if I were, I wouldn’t rape her because she doesn’t deserve it."
  • April 2016 -- “For the memory of Colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, the terror of Dilma Rousseff [...] my vote is yes!” In Brazil’s Lower House of Congress, Bolsonaro dedicated his vote in favor of President Rousseff’s impeachment to the Army officer who oversaw torture for the dictatorship when she was imprisoned.
  • April 2017 -- In describing his visit to a quilombo, as communities descended from escaped slaves are known, Bolsonaro characterized residents as fat, citing a unit of measurement reserved for livestock. “They don’t do anything!” he continued. “I don’t think they even serve for procreation anymore.”
  • September 2018 -- “We’re going to execute the Workers’ Party members here!” Bolsonaro told a cheering crowd in Acre state, on the Venezuelan border, after pretending to fire a machine gun. “Let’s run those crooks out of Acre! Since they like Venezuela so much, they’ll need to go there!”

Were there any doubt, Bolsonaro said in a radio interview Monday that, while he’s stopped using curse words, Brazilians shouldn’t expect him to become a “peace and love’’ candidate in the second round of the election.

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