The “A Very…” series is a series focussed on analysing prominent and/or newsworthy individuals to ascertain whether the individual is a narcissist or not. It is not about whether the person is “good” or “bad”. Those are subjective matters of opinion dependent on personal perspective. This is purely about whether the individual is a narcissist or not. I make this point clear for the hard of understanding. If you want to argue about whether the person is “good” or “bad” you have chosen the wrong forum. If you want to learn about narcissism and whether it is applicable or not to the relevant individual, you ARE in the correct forum and do read on…..
BACKGROUND AND BEGINNINGS
Jair Messias Bolsonaro is a Brazilian politician and retired military officer, serving as the 38th President of Brazil since 1 January 2019.
He served in the country’s Chamber of Deputies, representing the state of Rio de Janeiro, between 1991 and 2018. He is currently a member of the conservative Social Liberal Party. Bolsonaro has recently received world-wide attention with regard to the fires currently burning in the Amazon rainforest and his response to matters surrounding those fires (more on that later) but before we plunge into the fire, let’s find out more about this man.
Bolsonaro was born on 21 March 1955 in the town of Glicério, in São Paulo, in the southeast region of Brazil. His family is mostly of Italian descent, with some German ancestry.
In his final years in high school, Bolsonaro was admitted to the Escola Preparatória de Cadetes do Exército (the prep school of the Brazilian Army), where he entered in 1973. In 1974, he went to the Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras (Brazil’s main military academy), graduating in 1977, as an Artillery officer. He served in the 9th Field Artillery Group, in Nioaque, Mato Grosso do Sul. Later he studied at the Army Physical Training School in Rio de Janeiro and served in the 21st Field Artillery Group and the 8th Paratrooper Field Artillery Group, from the Paratrooper Brigade, both in the same city. His superior officers described him as “aggressive” and having an “excessive ambition to get financial and economical gain” The assessment referred to Bolsonaro’s attempt to mine gold in Bahia state; according to him, the activity was only a “hobby and mental hygiene”. In 1987, he studied in the Officers Improvement School, where he made the Artillery Advanced Course. (Early indicators demonstrating single-mindedness and a will to succeed. Such determination does not make on a narcissist, not at all, but such a mindset and attitude is prevalent amongst our kind.)
Bolsonaro’s first rise to publicity came in 1986 when he gave an interview to the news magazine Veja. He complained about low salaries in the military and claimed that the High Command was firing officers due to budgetary cuts and not because they were displaying ‘deviations of conduct’, as the command was telling the press. Despite being reprimanded by his superiors, Bolsonaro received praise from fellow officers and wives of military men, becoming a household name for a lot of hardliners and right-wingers who were growing disenchanted with Brazil’s new civilian democratic government. (Speaking out in this manner offers two potential interpretations which would only become clearer once the conduct is looked at through the relevant prism of what he is determined as being. It could be seen as a sense of entitlement to speak out when he was not supposed to, demonstrating a lack of accountability for his actions, a sense of superiority to believe sanctions would not apply to him, the gathering of fuel from the responses (be they admiration or condemnation) – all traits of the narcissist. On the contrary, this may demonstrate emotional empathy for his fellow soldiers, demonstration of the truth seeker trait, demonstration of the empathic traits of honesty, decency and justice.)
In October 1987, Bolsonaro faced a new accusation. The same Veja magazine reported that, with an Army colleague, he had plans to plant bombs in military units in Rio de Janeiro. After Bolsonaro called the allegation “a fantasy”, the magazine published, in its subsequent edition, sketches in which the plan was detailed. The drawings had been allegedly produced by Bolsonaro himself. Official records unearthed by the newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo in 2018 detailed the case.
After an investigation by an administrative military organ named Justification Board, Bolsonaro was unanimously considered guilty. According to this board, Bolsonaro had a “serious personality deviation and a professional deformation”, “lack of moral courage to leave the Army” and “lied throughout the process” when denying frequent contacts with the Veja magazine. (If such allegations were accurate this evidences a lack of emotional empathy through such a plot, the telling of lies to avoid accountability, a sense of entitlement to act in such a way, the use of deflection by labelling the accusers as concocting a “fantasy” (the accusers who had also reported his apparent whistleblowing) which are narcissistic indicators. There is also the possibility however that Bolsonaro was the victim of other narcissists. If his comments the previous year stirred up issues of control for the narcissist within the Military High Command, those individuals may well have sought to punish him and concoct a smear campaign against him.)
The case was then analyzed by the Supreme Military Court. The General in charge of reporting the case voted for his acquittal, arguing that Bolsonaro had already been penalized for the initial article in Veja, that there was no testimonial evidence of his plans to plant bombs and that there were “deep contradictions in the four graphological exams”, two of which failed to conclude that Bolsonaro was indeed the author of the sketches. He ended up acquitted by the majority of the court (9 x 4 votes). (The record shows an acquittal which means he was not guilty of the accusations. Whilst all were clearly not convinced since it was unanimous, he was acquitted and therefore based on this it raises the possibility that Bolsonaro was the victim of a plot against him (which will have been driven by narcissists) . Of course narcissists turn on one another, but one must discount the bomb plot as evidence in support of any suggestion that he is a narcissist.)
Bolsonaro was in the Army for about 15 years, albeit with a lacklustre record. Secret reports from his time serving have emerged, with superiors at the time describing him as a sub-par officer with “excessively financial ambitions” and lacking “logic, rationality and balance in his arguments”. (Magical thinking and entitlement). He left the Army in 1987, a short time after being punished with 15 days in military prison for an article demanding better pay. He claims to have voluntarily retired to pursue a political path, while his critics say he was expelled from the corps. (Contradictory versions of events which may include an indicator of lies and deflection or may be the result of an individual being victimised unnecessarily and actually telling the truth. Thus, the position remains uncertain.)
In December 1988, just after this ruling, Bolsonaro left the Army to begin his political career. In total, he served in the military for fifteen years, reaching the rank of Captain.
(Thus far no clear determination can be formed. There are some slight indicators but nothing conclusive.)
Bolsonaro is married to his third wife and has five children. (Repeat marriages are an indicator of narcissism but not determinative in isolation) .His first wife was Rogéria Nantes Braga (with whom he has three sons: Flávio, Carlos and Eduardo). His second marriage was with Ana Cristina Valle (with whom he has one son, Renan). In 2007, he married his third and current wife Michelle de Paula Firmo Reinaldo (with whom he has a daughter, Laura).
In a public speech in April 2017, Bolsonaro said that he had five children, that the first four were male and that for the fifth he produced a daughter out of “a moment of weakness”. (Lack of emotional empathy, haughtiness).
While working in Congress, Bolsonaro hired Michelle as a secretary and over the next two years she received unusual promotions and her salary more than tripled. He was forced to fire her after the Supreme Federal Court ruled that nepotism is illegal in the public administration. (Hiring his wife as a secretary amounts to nepotism and evidences poor boundary recognition, sense of entitlement and a sense of superiority. This is compounded by the bestowing of unusual promotions and the tripling of her salary, all in respect of public funds used in public office – lack of accountability, sense of entitlement, lack of emotional empathy for those deprived of the use of the funds by their misuse. Furthermore, it was doubtless pointed out to him before the Supreme Federal Court that he should not be doing this but he rejected such representations which evidences further a lack of accountability, a sense of entitlement, the acquisition of the assets of others as in effect belonging to him and grandiosity He was forced to fire her – made to do it, which demonstrates that his need for control over the situation was such that he would not do this voluntarily but only when the machinery of the law was applied to him to do it.)
Bolsonaro’s political views have been described as nationalist and populist in nature, and himself as an advocate of far-right policies. His supporters, however, claim that his views are more aligned with traditional right-wing conservatism.
Bolsonaro is viewed as a pro-life, anti-establishment and pro-gun politician, voicing opposition to most forms of gun control legislation, arguing that law-abiding citizens have the right to self-defense, especially those living in rural areas. (Rejection of control)
According to The Washington Post, “Homicides hit a record high of 63,880 last year ….Bolsonaro’s solution is zero tolerance. He has called for police to use more lethal force and wants to relax gun laws so that average citizens can defend themselves.”
Jair Bolsonaro is known for his strong opposition to left-wing policies. Most notably, he has been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, (lack of emotional empathy for those affected by this, whilst most of the world nows supports and enacts same-sex marriage) environmental regulations, (rejection of control – more on this later) abortion,(lack of emotional empathy for those affected) affirmative action(particularly racial quotas), immigration (particularly from Haiti, Africa and the Middle East, which he once called “the scum of humanity”),(labelling an entire geographical area and its inhabitants as the scum of humanity shows objectification, black and white thinking and a lack of emotional empathy). He has also made statements in defence of the Brazilian military regime (a dictatorship known for constant human rights violations). (evidences a lack of emotional empathy, the need for control, haughtiness)
He argues that torture is a “legitimate practice” and says that he would try to pass new legislation regarding the introduction of life imprisonment to the Brazilian penal code. (Lack of empathy, sense of entitlement through “ends justifies the means”) Bolsonaro supports the privatization of state-owned companies and advocates free market policies, although critics have stated that his policy-making record does not in fact show him to be a supporter of economic liberalism. (Whilst the position of those critics may not be impartial, if they are factually correct that his policy making record does not show him to be a supporter of economic liberalism then this is demonstrative of the hypocrisy engaged in by our kind which is a manifestation of the need to achieve control at any cost, one of those costs being consistent with the majority view of reality (in the our reality, which is separate and distinct from the majority view of reality we ARE consistent, hence the hypocrisy and contrarian behaviours are unnoticed by the narcissist).
Other controversial political stances expressed by Bolsonaro have been the defence of
the death penalty (which is currently banned under the Constitution of Brazil of 1988)
and of radical interventionism in Brazil by the military, along with an imposition of a
Brazilian military government. (This again evidences a lack of emotional empathy, a
sense of entitlement to impose his own will against the current law, a clear need
for control and also a lack of accountability by circumventing a democratic
process (through the imposition (not voted for) of a military (not democratic)
What about the views of various journalists concerning this individual?
Journalist Glenn Greenwald called Bolsonaro “the most misogynistic, hateful elected official in the democratic world”.
News.com.au wondered whether Bolsonaro was “the world’s most repulsive politician”.
British news magazine The Economist referred to him as a “radical”, “religious nationalist”, a “right-wing demagogue”, and “apologist of dictators”.
Federico Finchelstein, scholar on fascism and populism, has considered Bolsonaro, as he would link violence to austerity and neoliberal economic ideas, to be the most similar leader to Augusto Pinochet to come out from the young South American democracies.
(What might these comments and observations amount to? They conceivably could be the envious lies of individuals who wish to attack an elected official and that notion ought to be remembered. Alongside that however, to elicit such strong observations which have been founded on evidence demonstrates a set of behaviours such as a lack of emotional empathy, a sense of entitlement, manipulative activity, grandiosity, haughtiness and a lack of accountability. If one behaves in a way which attracts such descriptions, this is likely (but again not to a determinative extent in isolation) point to traits of the narcissist.
Bolsonaro is an open admirer of U.S. President Donald Trump. During Bolsonaro’s campaign, some observers saw similarities between the Brazilian president-elect and the U.S. president’s ideals, hardline attacks and a reputation for incendiary rhetoric, as well as social media presence. Because of this, Bolsonaro has been called the Brazilian equivalent of Trump or the “Trump of the Tropics”. (POTUS has already been examined and found to be A Very POTUS Narcissist. Similarities in behaviour, thus the behaviour of the narcissist, add to the growing evidence, but again in itself one does not see it as determinative.)
Throughout his political career, Bolsonaro has made several admiring comments about the U.S.–supported Brazilian military dictatorship which ruled the country from 1964 to 1985. (Admiring a regime which governed through force and not democratic process shows that Bolsonaro clearly aligns himself with being a position to rule without accountability, to rule as he pleases, to rule without due regard to due process and democracy and thus evidence the hallmarks of grandiosity by setting himself apart from others, a lack of accountability, a sustained view of being special and removed, a sense of entitlement and once again a lack of emotional empathy).
He said in 1993, eight years after the return of democracy, that the military regime had “led to a more sustainable and prosperous Brazil”.Bolsonaro has publicly referred to the military dictatorship as a “glorious” period in Brazil’s history, and that under the military dictatorship, Brazil enjoyed “20 years of order and progress”.[In December 2008, Bolsonaro said that “the error of the dictatorship was that it tortured, but did not kill”.
(Such comments echo the observations made in the paragraph above and furthermore exhibit our black and white thinking.)
Bolsonaro has also repeatedly made admiring comments about a number of other Latin American dictatorships. He praised Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori as a role model for his use of military intervention via self-coup against the judiciary and legislature. (Sense of entitlement and grandiosity) In a 1998 interview with Veja magazine, Bolsonaro praised the Chilean dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, and said the Pinochet regime, which killed over 3,000 Chilean citizens, “should have killed more people”.(Lack of emotional empathy, sense of entitlement.) In 1999, Bolsonaro said that Hugo Chávez represented “hope for Latin America”, comments that became a matter of controversy during the 2018 campaign, when Bolsonaro presented himself as a harsh critic of Chavismo. (Due expedience, volte face, toxic logic, hypocrisy.) In 2019, already in power, Bolsonaro commended Paraguay autocrat Alfredo Stroessner as a “visionary” and “statesman”, drawing immediate criticism, particularly due to multiple allegations of pedophilia against Stroessner.
Speaking before his vote in favor of President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment amid the massive corruption scandal, Bolsonaro paid homage to Colonel Brilhante Ustra, an agent of Brazil’s military dictatorship, and announced on the floor of the Chamber of Deputies that he was dedicating his pro-impeachment vote to Ustra’s memory. Ustra had headed the DOI-CODI torture unit where Rousseff was allegedly tortured during the military dictatorship. (Provocation, lack of emotional empathy, entitlement) Left-wing deputy Jean Wyllys spat at him after his statement during the same session. The congressman claimed to have suffered homophobic offences from Jair Bolsonaro and his allies. (Provocation).
In a TV interview with Câmera Aberta in the 1990s, Bolsonaro said that if he ever became President, he would use this as an opportunity to shut down the National Congress and instigate a military coup himself. (Entitlement, lack of accountability, grandiosity, preoccupation with control.) As of 2018, he appeared to have changed his mind, and said that if someone becomes the head of the country, it would be through voting. (Due expedience).
In March 2019, Bolsonaro stated that the 1964 coup d’état that overthrew President João Goulart was not a coup, and that March 31, the day the coup was installed, should be “properly commemorated”. (Revision of history, grandiosity)
BLAST AFTER BLAST AFTER BLAST FROM THE PAST
Let us take a look at some more of Bolsonaro´s behaviours to see if there is a pattern of behaving forming which will assist in making a determination about him.
In an interview with Zero Hora in 2015, Bolsonaro argued that men and women should not receive the same salaries, because women get pregnant, adding that he believes federal law mandating paid maternity leave harms work productivity.Bolsonaro has denied saying that women should receive less than men; he claims it was statistical data by IBGE. (Lies, lack of emotional empathy, bigotry, haughtiness, entitlement, lack of accountability).
Bolsonaro provoked controversy for a series of remarks made to and about Federal Deputy and former Human Rights Minister Maria do Rosário. During a Congressional debate, Bolsonaro said that minors should be treated as adults if they commit heinous crimes such as murder or rape, to which Maria do Rosário responded by calling him a “rapist”. Bolsonaro then stated that Congresswoman Rosário was “not worth raping; she is very ugly”. The remarks drew considerable condemnation throughout Brazil. In the aftermath of these remarks, Bolsonaro was tried and convicted in a Federal court in September 2015 on counts of hedonic damages against Rosário. (Insult, Provocation, Lack of Emotional Empathy, Response to Challenge Fuel).
In June 2016, the Federal Supreme Court responded to a complaint filed by the Attorney General and decided to open two criminal actions against Bolsonaro. The Supreme Court ruled that he had potentially incited rape and defamed the honor of his fellow Deputy. He faced a penalty of up to 6 months of jail and a fine. Ultimately in August 2017, an appellate court upheld a lower court’s verdict which found Bolsonaro guilty and sentenced him to pay a fine to Rosário of R$10,000 (roughly equivalent to US$2,500).This lawsuit was dismissed by the Supreme Federal Court as Bolsonaro was inaugurated as president in 2019 and acquired immunity from prosecution.
In a June 2011 interview with Playboy, Bolsonaro said that “I would be incapable of loving a gay son”, and added that he would prefer any gay son of his “to die in an accident”. (Lack of emotional empathy). In the same interview, Bolsonaro went on to say that if a gay couple moved in next door to him, it would lower the market value of his house. (Provocation and lack of emotional empathy). In a July 2011 interview with the magazine Época, Bolsonaro said that he would “fight to prevent the distribution of the ‘gay kit'” [a set of guidelines proposed by UNESCO to promote the rights of the LGBT community in primary schools] because “their intention is to promote homosexuality, which is an affront to the family structure, and if that makes me prejudiced, then I’m prejudiced and very proud of it”. In the 2013 BBC documentary Out There, by British actor Stephen Fry, Bolsonaro said that “no father is ever proud of having a gay son,” and that “we Brazilians do not like homosexuals.” (Lack of emotional empathy, Provocation, Grandiosity (speaking on behalf of an entire nation and believing himself to be right in doing so).
In a 2011 interview with Jornal de Notícias, Bolsonaro linked homosexuality to pedophilia, claiming that “many of the children who are adopted by gay couples will be abused by these couples”. (Lies, lack of emotional empathy, entitlement.) He further argued that Brazil does not need legislation specifically targeting homophobia, because “most homosexuals are murdered by their respective pimps at hours when good citizens are already asleep”. (Lack of emotional empathy, Provocation).
In a May 2002 interview with the Folha de S.Paulo, Bolsonaro told the newspaper, “If I see two men kissing in the street, I will beat them.” He then publicly defended beating gay children by saying: “If your child starts to become like that, a little gay, you take a whip and you change their behavior.” (Lack of emotional empathy, boundary violation, entitlement.)
In a video interview for Vice with openly lesbian actress Ellen Page, Page asked Bolsonaro if he thinks she should have been beaten as a child, in response to his public statements that gay children should be beaten. In response, Bolsonaro said to Page, “You are very nice. If I were a cadet in the military academy and saw you on the street, I would whistle at you. All right? You are very pretty.” (Entitlement, lack of emotional empathy, boundary violation, deflection).
Bolsonaro added, “Over time, due to liberal habits, drugs, with women also working, the number of homosexuals has really increased.” (Lies, magical thinking, blame shifting)
On 9 November 2017, the Court of Justice for the State of Rio de Janeiro sentenced Bolsonaro to pay a fine of R$150,000 for hate speech because of televised comments he made in 2011 to the CQC TV program, when Bolsonaro stated that “there is no risk” of his family producing a homosexual child because his children had a “good education”. Judge Luciana Teixeira said that the deputy had abused his right of free expression to commit a wrongful act. “You cannot deliberately attack and humiliate, ignoring the principles of equality, just because you invoke freedom of expression,” said the judge.
However, on 11 January 2016, when he began to present himself as a pre-candidate to the Presidency of Brazil, Bolsonaro began to moderate his discourse on gay people by publishing a video on his official YouTube channel: (Facade management)
Since then, Bolsonaro claims he has nothing against gays and that he only fights the “gay kit” in schools. On 4 October 2018, for example, Bolsonaro said:
That same month, shortly before the first round of the Brazilian presidential elections, he said: “We are going to make a government for everybody. For gays, and some gays are fathers, who are mothers. It is a work for everyone”. After being elected president, when asked by William Bonner in the Jornal Nacional about what he would say to those who are more prejudiced and aggressive against gays, Bolsonaro replied: “The aggression against a fellow man has to be punished in the way of law. And if [such aggression is committed] for a reason like this, you have to have your sentence increased.” (Volte face, facade management, Toxic Logic, due expedience).
On multiple occasions, Bolsonaro has publicly endorsed physical violence as a legitimate and necessary form of political action. In 1999, when he was 44 years old and a representative in the Brazilian Congress, Bolsonaro said during a TV interview that the only way of “changing” Brazil was by “killing thirty thousand people, beginning with Fernando Henrique Cardoso” (then President of Brazil). (Entitlement, Provocation, Lack of Emotional Empathy, Grandiosity).
During the 2018 campaign, he stated during a rally in Acre that the local “petralhas” (a derogatory term for members of the Workers’ Party) would be “shot”; according to his aides, the statement was a “joke”. (Provocation, Lack of Emotional Empathy, Deflection).
One week before the second round, Bolsonaro said during a speech that in his administration “petralhas” and “reds” (i.e. leftists) would be arrested, purged or taken to the “corner of the beach”, a term that was later revealed to mean a Navy base where dissidents of the Brazilian military dictatorship were murdered.
Bolsonaro provoked considerable controversy for public remarks made in July 2008, where he proposed to provide poor people with birth control methods, who he suggested might be too uneducated to understand family planning education. Bolsonaro said:
As a Congressman, Bolsonaro put forward three bills trying to remove “virtually all” legal restrictions to surgical sterilisation via the public health system, including the reduction of “the minimum age of sterilisation to 21 years”. None of the bills were voted. (Entitlement, boundary violation, lack of emotional empathy).
In January, 2012, Bolsonaro, who was then a retired military officer and colourful but
not politically relevant far-right congressman, was caught fishing illegally in a federally
protected marine-wildlife reserve. (Entitlement= Bolsonaro—wearing a white,
Speedo-like bathing suit—was discovered in a small, inflatable boat inside the Tamoios
Ecological Station, an area with a half-mile radius that serves as a refuge for penguins,
seals, whales, and dolphins in the state of Rio de Janeiro. An agent with the Brazilian
Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (ibama) issued Bolsonaro a
ticket for ten thousand reais, or roughly twenty-five hundred dollars. The following year,
Bolsonaro introduced a bill in the legislature that would have barred guards with ibama
and other environmental agencies from carrying guns, although he was otherwise a
longtime defender of gun-ownership rights in Brazil. (Assertion of control, Revenge,
Hypocrisy, Toxic Logic)
Later that year, Bolsonaro filed to get legal permission for him—and him alone—to fish
in the Tamoios reserve. (Grandiosity, entitlement, lack of accountability, magical
thinking).Ultimately, the fine was dismissed, the bill went nowhere in
congress, and the courts decided it would be a bad idea to grant one lawmaker special
permission to fish in a sanctuary.
GETTING FIRED UP
Brazil has the world’s largest tropical rainforest in the Amazon basin. According to The
Washington Post, “Bolsonaro is a powerful supporter of agribusiness […] and is likely to
favor profits over preservation. […] Bolsonaro has chafed at foreign pressure to
safeguard the Amazon rainforest, and he served notice to international nonprofit groups
such as the World Wildlife Fund that he will not tolerate their agendas in Brazil. He has
also come out strongly against lands reserved for indigenous tribes. Bolsonaro advisers
additionally say that he plans to expand nuclear and hydroelectric power into the
Amazon.” (Entitlement, lack of emotional empathy, provocation, assertion of
Bolsonaro repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the Paris Agreement during his campaign. Even before taking office, he backed out of Brazil’s offer to host the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference.Ernesto Araújo, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs appointed by Bolsonaro, has called global warming a plot by “cultural Marxists” and has eliminated the Climate Change Division of the ministry.Two departments of the Ministry of the Environment dealing with climate change and mitigation and one dealing with deforestation have also been eliminated. (Rigid adherence to entitlement (by way of the highway), sense of entitlement, provocation, grandiosity, haughtiness, paranoia).
Destruction of the Amazon rainforest increased by 88% for the month of June 2019, during Bolsonaro’s first year as president, as compared with the previous year, according to National Institute for Space Research (INPE). (Entitlement) Bolsonaro has rejected the agency’s data as false.
He even questioned recent satellite data from the government’s National Space Research Institute (INPE) that indicated a dramatic rise in deforestation in May and June. “I am convinced the data is a lie. We are going to call the president of INPE here to talk about this and that’s the end of that issue,” he said. (Black and white thinking, haughtiness, entitlement, lies, narcissistic perspective).
The IPSE director was fired after he rebutted Bolsonaro’s criticism of IPSE. (Assertion of control to Challenge Fuel, entitlement, haughtiness, black and white thinking, Toxic Logic).
UP YOURS TO EUROPE
During a conversation with journalists in July 2019, Bolsonaro lashed out at European
leaders, saying that the Amazon belongs to Brazil and European countries can mind their
own business because they have already “destroyed their environment”. He also said:
“We preserve more [rainforest] than anyone. No country in the world has the moral right
to talk about Amazon.” (Assertion of control as a consequence of a threat to that
control through Wounding and Challenge Fuel, entitlement, revision of history,
The Amazon belongs to Brazil (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname
and Venezuela might have something to say about that – grandiosity, acquisitor of
property belonging to others, provocation, entitlement) .and European countries can
mind their own business because they have already destroyed their own environment,
said Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, who also described his own government’s
satellite data showing an alarming rise in deforestation as “lies”. (Denial, lack of
accountability and clearly the government’s satellite data amounts to er, fake
“You have to understand that the Amazon is Brazil’s, not yours,” Bolsonaro said on Friday. “If all this devastation you accuse us of doing was done in the past the Amazon would have stopped existing, it would be a big desert.” (Revision of history, denial, exaggeration, entitlement)
But Brazil is opening to partnerships exploiting biodiversity and mining – even in Amazon areas, said Bolsonaro, during a wide-ranging, one-hour conversation with foreign journalists.
He also said he was “fulfilling a mission from God”, (Grandiosity and magical thinking) and defended his decision to name his own son as Brazil’s ambassador to the US (entitlement) Bolsonaro defended his controversial decision to appoint his congressman son Eduardo as Brazil’s US ambassador. The move has prompted accusations of nepotism, but Bolsonaro presented the nomination as an act of public service by his son. (Grandiosity and magical thinking)
“He is doing this for Brazil not for him,” he said. “US is the world’s shop window, his responsibility will be enormous.” (Grandiosity, use of son as extension of himself).
Bolsonaro described Brexit as “the will of the people” – although he admitted he had never heard of the UK’s likely next prime minister, Boris Johnson. (Some wounding there for A Very Political Narcissist )
When Bolsonaro invited foreign journalists, for the first time, to his weekly media breakfast, he entered the room with a breezy “good morning” – in English.
But he then accused the international press of misrepresenting his administration which has been plagued by internal power struggles and plummeting approval ratings and said foreign reporters missed “corrupt governments” of the past.
“Most of the foreign press has a completely distorted image of who I am and what I intend to do here with our policies and for the future of our Brazil,” he said. “I perfectly understand the level of the poisoning that is done to Brazil by the foreign press.” (Blame shifting, provocation, lack of accountability.)
His affable mood changed when questions turned to the Amazon, and he stared ahead or scribbled notes on a napkin as he was pushed on deforestation. Bolsonaro has come under fire for attacking the country’s environment agencies and declaring plans to open up indigenous reserves – some of the best protected in the Amazon – to mining.
“We understand the importance of the Amazon for the world – but the Amazon is ours. There will not be any more of that sort of policy that we saw in the past that was terrible for everyone,” he said. “We preserve more [rainforest] than anyone. No country in the world has the moral right to talk about the Amazon. You destroyed your own ecosystems.” (Entitlement, blame shifting, lack of accountability)
Now let’s turn the attention to the 2019 Brazil wildfires. Bolsonaro in August 2019 accused (without providing any evidence) that non-governmental organisations had started the forest fires, due to a reduction of government funding to the NGOs. (Entitlement, lies, blame shifting). Environmental and climate experts described Bolsonaro’s accusation as a “smokescreen” to hide his own government’s rolling back of protections for the Amazon. They instead attributed the fires to farmers clearing land. (Deflection).
Bolsonaro’s disdain for environmental-protection measures attracted global attention when he initially rejected an offer of twenty million dollars in international aid to help fight forest fires burning in the Amazon. The proposed funding was one of the few concrete achievements to come out of the annual G-7 summit of the world’s largest democracies. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, who hosted the meeting in the resort town of Biarritz, insisted that countering the fires should be a top priority. At first, Bolsonaro rejected the aid offer, citing an ongoing feud with Macron in which the two leaders have exchanged insults. Then he said that he would consider accepting the aid if Macron apologized. “He will have to withdraw his words, and then we can talk,” Bolsonaro said. (Black and white thinking, need to assert control, exhibition of manipulative response to threat to control)
On 22 August 2019, Bolsonaro accused President Macron of France of having “a misplaced colonialist mentality in the 21st century” in reference to criticism by the French president, where he called on G7 leaders to discuss the Amazon crisis. He also said “regret that the French president seeks to instrumentalize an internal issue of Brazil and other Amazonian countries for personal political gains.”(Insult, Provocation, Deflection). He added that “the Brazilian government remains open to dialogue, based on objective data and mutual respect.”
On the eve of the G-7 summit, Macron called the fires an “ecocide” and threatened to
block the free-trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur, a trade bloc
consisting of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Bolsonaro responded by
endorsing a post on Facebook that said that the French first lady, Brigitte Macron, was
unattractive. (Entitlement, Pettiness, Response to Challenge Fuel, Provocation)
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has condemned what he called
“extraordinarily rude” comments made about his wife, Brigitte, by the far-right Brazilian
leader, Jair Bolsonaro, escalating their diplomatic clash.
“He has made some extraordinarily rude comments about my wife,” Macron said at a
press conference at the G7 summit in Biarritz when asked to react to statements about
him by the Brazilian government.
“What can I say? It’s sad. It’s sad for him firstly, and for Brazilians,” he added.
Macron said: “I think Brazilian women will probably be ashamed to read that from their
president. I think that Brazilians, who are a great people, will probably be ashamed to
see this behaviour … And as I feel friendship and respect towards the Brazilian people, I
hope that they will very soon have a president who behaves in the right way.”
No prizes for guessing who would not be voting for President Bolsonaro, if he held an
election of course, given his preference for military dictatorship.
Recent opinion polls have shown a decline in public support for Bolsonaro, as the
country’s economy has been slow to recover from a deep recession, and scandals have
beset his government. Bolsonaro, however, continues to have one strong supporter. On
Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “He is working very hard on the Amazon fires and in all
respects doing a great job for the people of Brazil – Not easy. He and his country have the
full and complete support of the USA!” (Birds of feather perhaps from A Very Potus
Since President Trump has appeared in this article, this is a useful moment to consider more of Bolsonaro´s behaviours and draws some comparisons with Trump (and also Rodrigo Duterte (President of the Philippines.)
Specific parallels between Jair Bolsonaro, Rodrigo Duterte, and Donald Trump are not difficult to make. Their supporters call them by grandiose Il Duce-like nicknames: “The Myth”, “The Punisher”, and “The Great Negotiator”. (Grandiosity) These men commonly appeal directly to the electorate through unapologetic vulgar language, presented as a sign of authenticity. They are simply “straight talkers” with “unorthodox styles”, who apparently do not care about politically correct language or positions. Echoing Duterte and Trump’s frequently misogynist comments, Bolsonaro once told a fellow congresswoman he would never rape her because she “didn’t deserve to be raped” since she was “very ugly and not his type”. Like the Filipino and the American presidents, Bolsonaro has had no trouble claiming deep Christian roots while defending torture in the same breath. (Toxic Logic)
Bolsonaro, Duterte and Trump’s campaigns have been characterised as filled with anti-establishment rhetoric, yet their actual policy platforms appear to be overwhelmingly thin and vague. (Amorphous behaviours which allow a lack of accountability since it is difficult to pin substance on the individual). Once the vitriolic dog whistles are set aside – “criminals!”, “immigrants!”, “corruption!”, “lost morals!” – it can be difficult to find substance in other topics. They systematically praise the military as the embodiment of discipline, force, and national defense. Of the three men, Bolsonaro is the most avid on this path, choosing a military interventionist-defending general as running mate. A closer look at the individual profiles reveals Bolsonaro overlaps slightly more with Duterte than with Trump. While all three men have made statements disdaining human rights and openly instigating police officers to be rough, the former two have gone beyond in openly calling out police to kill more even if extra-judiciously. Duterte has recently offered bounties for the killing of communist rebels, while in Brazil, after policemen charged with killing 111 prisoners in the 1997 Carandiru prison massacre were punished, Bolsonaro said their real crime was the police officers did not kill 1,000 prisoners. (Entitlement, grandiosity, lack of emotional empathy.)
Unlike Duterte, Bolsonaro has no experience in the Executive power. He has served as municipal, State, and Federal legislator. Yet, for someone with three decades of public service, there is very little to show in concrete accomplishments (ex: only two bills he’s proposed were ever approved). (Magical thinking)
It is abundantly clear that President Bolsonaro is a Very Fiery Narcissist and those fires will be burning for some time yet.