Bolsonaro demoralizes Brazil

The president lacks the decency, courteousness and respect for the liturgy required by his post.

Days before Carnival in Brazil, an opinion poll published by CNT/MDA revealed that only 38.9 per cent of the population approves of the initial months of the Bolsonaro government. This is the worst percentage registered since 2003, when Lula was first elected president.

There has been little appreciation for the unpopular measures and loss of rights in the ultraliberal, fundamentalist, militarized government that set the tone in the first two months of this term. Brazilians left their message in Carnival groups across the country, in which there were massive demonstrations against the government.

The international press covered all the acts against the president. French Le Figaro had the following headline:

“Protests against Bolsonaro in the background of Carnival celebrations”.


Upset with the demonstrations, Bolsonaro posted a video with sexual content in his Twitter account, showing complete disregard for any norms of decency.

According to Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, Bolsonaro posted a video on his Twitter official account on Tuesday with a polemic episode of Carnival celebrations in São Paulo. Comments in the president’s posts show that not only opponents but also some supporters lamented the publication of such video.

The international press was shocked and British newspaper The Guardian did not spare the Brazilian president. According to the text, Bolsonaro

“has sparked outrage, disgust and ridicule after tweeting a pornographic video in an apparent attempt to hit back at criticism of his administration during this year’s carnival”.



Unpopular measures such as the pension reform have shortened the president’s honeymoon with his supporters. Brazilians came to realize that the proposed reform deprives them of rights — particularly women — and complicates the access to a full pension.

The project represents a deep change to Social Security, limiting the access to retirement and benefits, and reducing payments. The proposal penalizes poor citizens, women and beneficiaries of the Continuous Cash Benefit (BPC).

Military officials were not included in the reform, but the Ministry of Economy says that a law bill to change the social security system of the Armed Forces is to be sent to the Congress by March 20.

Because it is a Proposal for Constitutional Amendment, the reform will not come into force unless it is approved by both the Lower House and the Senate, with three fifths of the votes in each House and two rounds of votes.

BBC News Brazil published an article with details on the 12 main items in the proposal:


The Intersyndicate Department of Statistics and Socio-Economic Studies (DIEESE) released an opinion about the proposed pension reform entitled “The Social Security for Civil Servants in Brazil — an Analysis”.


The Articulation to Monitor Human Rights in Brazil has also issued a note on the social security reform proposed by the Bolsonaro government.



According to an article by newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, retirees are to receive deposits in their FGTS account, but if they are dismissed, they will no longer be entitled to receive the termination fine, according to the proposal.

Leonardo Rolim, Social Security Secretary to the Ministry of Economy, informed that the acquired right regarding the FGTS contribution will not be affected. However, the fine is generated by the termination of the contract, and therefore redundancies made after the reform will not require employers to pay termination fines anymore.



The proposed reform worsens life for poor people who depend on the Continuous Cash Benefit (BPC). Currently, BPC can be requested by individuals above 65 years of age, but the reform restricts the access to a full pension to citizens above 70. They will receive R$ 400 (approximately US$ 100) after age 60, which is equivalent to 40 per cent of the Brazilian minimum wage.

Bolsonaro’s proposal for pensions is even more harmful for women. According to the transition rules presented by the government, they will have to work another seven years and contribute for another 10 to be eligible for a full pension. As for men, they will have to work and contribute for five more years.



The military are in charge of eight Ministries, but their presence in the government is not restricted to those positions. Militarization has also affected lower positions and presently there are at least 103 military officials in several posts.

Newspaper O Estado de São Paulo has created an infographic to show where they are:,mapa-dos-militares-onde-estao-os-representantes-das-forcas-armadas-no-governo-bolsonaro,975096


The promise of ministries led by specialists was not fulfilled. The ministries of the Brazilian government are occupied not only by the military but also by people who are neither qualified nor committed to the progress of the country.


Ernesto Araújo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, wrote an article before the presidential inauguration in which he affirmed he would “put an end to ideologies in foreign policies” and that the president trusted him with the mission to “free the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from cultural Marxism”. According to BBC News, the dubious messages sent by the government raise doubts about the future of Brazil in its international relations.



There has been little progress as far as promises like economic growth and anticorruption measures are concerned. Bolsonaro was elected amid promises to bring change and put an end to corruption, and yet his government is marked by old practices, patrimonialism and politics based on bargaining. There are few concrete consequences except for the rise in episodes of violence related to sexism, racism and LGBTphobia.



On February 18, ministers Sérgio Moro and Onyx Lorenzoni submitted the government’s anti-crime package of measures to the Lower House. The projects contain measures against corruption, organized crime and violent crimes. The original intent was to present a single project, but topics were unfolded into three projects.