A Senate commission in Brazil voted in favor of recommending criminal charges against far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro over alleged ties to the army’s 1964-1985 dictatorship.
Bolsonaro has been accused of not telling the truth about his military service while he was a young man, a figure that many voters now believe would be in power if he were elected. The president of the Senate, Diosdado Cabello, was overheard in a secret recording apparently urging the Senate not to recommend his fellow congressional member for criminal charges after he has been elected.
“Jair doesn’t deserve to be given a blank check,” Cabello said.
Bolsonaro, who served in the military with a rank that was identical to President Alejandro Toledo’s in the 1970s, responded to the vote by saying, “I’m sorry but I can’t be affected by a few people.”
Despite Bolsonaro’s denial, Cabello said he was still considering recommending Bolsonaro be indicted.
Bolsonaro has not personally been implicated in the report, but instead appears to have been prosecuted by former executives with the military when he was in active service.
In the wake of the historic impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff earlier this year, doubts about the origins of Bolsonaro’s patriotism have emerged after he took to the airwaves to condemn the former president on the basis of her sexual orientation, saying that she was not “motherly” enough to work as the leader of the country’s female population and expressing suspicions about her past.
Since early in his campaign for president, Bolsonaro has staked his reputation on denying that the military ever carried out an extermination program in Brazil, an issue that was widely public in the wake of the murders of gay men in the country during the regime. He has instead alleged that thousands of leftists were killed for being disloyal and holding political rallies.
Those views have generated an unlikely alliance between President Mauricio Macri of Argentina and Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, who have both publicly spoken out against Bolsonaro, deeming him as homophobic and demagogic. Bolsonaro has however dismissed the criticisms, claiming that they are coming from those who wish to preserve their own existence within the country.
Bolsonaro has been backed by conservative groups like the largest Protestant denomination in the United States and was elected to his first term as a member of Congress when the tide of anti-establishment sentiment was at its lowest ebb in the country. He has since since become one of the most divisive figures in Brazilian politics and was called the “Big Spender of 2019” by the election commission. With campaign finance allegations still unresolved and an investigation ongoing into his links to the army, the Republican leader has until November to secure a seat in the Senate.
He has previously said that he will refuse to take a salary should he be elected president, which has caused many to wonder whether he has any ethical convictions beyond his hatred of the left.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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