Brazil's Bolsonaro targets minorities on 1st day in office

Cheryl Sanders
January 8, 2019

He also issued an order that would make it almost impossible for indigenous communities to identify and demarcate land, a move Bolsonaro has been promising on the campaign trail.

"Less than a million people actually live in these isolated places of Brazil, which are exploited and manipulated by non-governmental organizations", Bolsonaro said Wednesday on Twitter.

During his presidential campaign, far-right Jair Bolsonaro said he was considering placing indigenous affairs under the ministry of agriculture, alleging lands should be opened to commercial activities that are now banned.

The new minister also called for an ample privatization plan.

While investors hope Bolsonaro's free-market stance will reinvigorate Brazil's economy - the eight largest in the world - environmentalists and rights groups are anxious he will roll back protections for the Amazon rain forest and loosen gun controls in a country that already has the world's highest number of murders.

Dozens of gay couples rushed to get married in the country last month before Bolsonaro took office out of fear that he would try to limit same-sex marriage.

Right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as the president of Brazil in Brasilia on Tuesday.

Critics say Bolsonaro's plan to open indigenous reservations to commercial activity will destroy native cultures and languages by integrating the tribes into Brazilian society.

Bolsonaro's shake-up aims at fulfilling campaign pledges to support farmers, who complain they're suffocated by over-regulation and fines.

LGBT activist Symmy Larrat said she doesn't' expect reasonable treatment from the Bolsonaro administration.

Jose Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas division of Human Rights Watch, said the decree on NGOs could be viewed in a positive light, but also expressed concerns.

Bolsonaro said a year ago he hopes to annul land demarcation decisions made by previous administrations, but legal experts said recent Brazilian Supreme Court rulings would likely block such an effort. That body just disappeared, just like that.

Bolsonaro, who enjoys strong support from Brazil's powerful agribusiness sector, said during his campaign he was considering such a move, arguing that now protected lands should be opened to commercial activities.

Speaking over the weekend to Brazilians concerned about the astronomical levels of violent crime, he tweeted, "By decree we intend to ensure possession of firearm to the citizen without criminal record, as well as make his registration definitive".

The newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported that Bolsonaro will later announce the closing of an agency within the Education Ministry that has been aimed at promoting diversity in public schools and universities. "We don't see any signs there will be any other government infrastructure to handle LGBT issues".

"We have an opportunity to work alongside each other against authoritarian regimes", Pompeo said on Wednesday after discussing Venezuela with Brazil's new Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, who was picked by Bolsonaro for his admiration of Trump's conservative nationalism.

Other reports by iNewsToday