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  • Brazil: Bolsonaro's Aggressions Cloud First Presidential Debate

    Brazil: Bolsonaro's Aggressions Cloud First Presidential Debate

    On Sunday night, six Brazilian presidential candidates participated in a television debate that lasted over 2 hours. Citizen attention, however, was focused on the candidates with the best chance of winning the October elections: the Workers' Party leader Lula da Silva and far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who is seeking a second term in office.


    Lula and Bolsonaro Partake in First Electoral Debate in Brazil

    "The debate once again served Bolsonaro to lie about Petrobras and his administration's 'achievements'and to attack journalists and his opponents as a way to overcome former president Lula da Silva," Rede Brasil Atual summarized.

    "At the end of the program, candidates Ciro Gomes and Simone Tebet left with positive evaluations, while Soraya Thronicke and Felipe D'Avila played secondary roles in the uncompromising defense of liberal measures."

    "Bolsonaro's closing statement was nothing but paranoid, cold war-era McCartheyism. He accused Geraldo Alckmin of 'singing the socialist international,' and Americas Quarterly darling Gabriel Boric of setting fires on subway trains," Brian Mier, teleSUR correspondent in Brazil pointed out.

    "Bolsonaro's final rant against Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Cuba, and Nicaragua will certainly please the liberals at the Guardian and New York times and lead to a lot of 'yeah-butting' about him in the anglo mainstream media that worked so hard to normalize his rise," he added.

    The tweet reads, "A question by Vera Magalhaes drives Bolsonaro out of control and Lula sympathizes with the journalist."

    In the first part of the debate, journalist Adriana Araujo asked the candidates questions related to the notorious deterioration that Brazilian education has experienced since Bolsonaro assumed the presidency in January 2019.

    "Lula criticized lack of data from the Education Ministry that could show the educational decline... He also pointed out that the poorest students were the most affected, since they did not have policies to guarantee their access to distance education resources," Rede Brasil Atual reported.

    In this context, candidate Simone harshly criticized Bolsonaro's repeated allusions to a possible coup d'état, saying that "a president who does not respect the Constitution" has created a scenario of setbacks in all areas of Brazilian life.

    The consequences of Bolsonaro's mismanagement of public health also provided the candidates with topics for their presentations. Referring to the impacts of COVID-19, Tebet said that Bolsonaro "didn't care about the fight against the pandemic and turned his back on families... What I saw was a corruption scandal in the purchase of vaccines."

    Lula da Silva reiterated that his administration will make education and health its policy priorities in order to reduce social inequality and generate greater opportunities for economic growth.

    The tweet reads, "Bolsonaro lies too much! Impossible to continue this lie! LIE: There are 4 million people below the poverty line. TRUTH: Over 60 million Brazilians live below the poverty line. The number of poor people in Brazil grew more than the entire population of Portugal over the last three years.

    Trying to divert attention to other issues, Bolsonaro sought opportunities to introduce into the debate those issues that conservative voters tend to applaud. In that sense, for example, he said that he defends pro-guns polices so that "women can defend themselves."

    His diversionary maneuvers, however, did not prevent the participants from highlighting the Brazilian crisis. Both Tebet and Gomes agreed that Bolsonaro continues to make false statements about the country's economy, poverty, security, and corruption.

    To reverse the processes that are destroying the Brazilian economy and institutions, the Workers' Party candidate promised the citizens to compensate for the damage caused by the far-right President in the last four years.

    "The people are going to vote to return to being respected and to have well-paid jobs. We need to return to freedom," Lula da Silva stressed, also recalling the inclusive policies carried out during the administrations led by the Workers' Party.



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