Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, was sworn in on Tuesday during a ceremony in the capital Brasilia, likely marking the beginning of a hard conservative shift in governing Latin America‘s largest economy and most populous nation.Bolsonaro was elected president at the end of October, defeating his rival Fernando Haddad of the centre-left Workers’ Party by a comfortable margin in the second-round runoff.
“We have a unique opportunity to rebuild our country,” Bolsonaro said in his first speech in Brazil’s National Congress after being sworn in.The speech also contained nods to other campaign promises such as combatting what he sees as the spread leftist ideology in schools, loosening gun ownership laws and a hardline stance on law and order.“Brazil above everything and God above everyone,” he finished – his trademark line throughout the campaign.
Bolsonaro has pledged to crack down on crime, tackle corruption and restore traditional family and Christian values in a country that, according to him and many of his supporters, echoing the “anti-globalist” rhetoric of the global authoritarian right, has been besieged by “cultural Marxism”.
Meanwhile, human rights experts, political rivals and environmentalists have expressed grave concern over Bolsonaro’s promises to give police “carte blanche” to kill suspects, “cleanse” the country of left-wing “outlaws” and open up the country’s vast Amazon region to mining interests.
Tuesday’s inauguration took place under a heavy security presence including snipers and anti-aircraft missiles. In September, Bolsonaro was the target of a failed assassination attempt when he was stabbed at a campaign rally.Those attending Tuesday’s event included Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Bolsonaro met this week and is in talks with about moving Brazil‘s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.
United States President Donald Trump, of whom Bolsonaro is an outspoken admirer, did not attend and instead sent a delegation led by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.Trump congratulated Bolsonaro on Twitter, saying the “U.S.A. is with you!”