How much is Brazil changing under the new president Bolsonaro?? Aid organizations are concerned about an increase in hatred and violence. Meanwhile, a homosexual member of parliament has left the country in fear of his life.
The deputy of the Brazilian left-wing party PSOL, Jean Wyllys (44), has sought refuge abroad following death threats. This was reported by the newspaper "Folha de S. Paulo" on Friday. According to the report, Wyllys, a homosexual who has been feuding with President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been in office since January, wants to give up his mandate for security reasons.
In October, the deputy, who advocates for the rights of homosexual, transsexual and intersexual people, had been re-elected; on 1. February he was due to begin his third term.
He is currently staying in an unknown location and will not return to Brazil, he told the newspaper. It was justified by the increasingly violent climate against LGBT activists. Wyllys was under police protection after the murder of his party colleague Marielle Franco in March 2018. There have also been death threats against fellow party member Marcelo Freixo for years. In both cases, the authorities ame the activity of paramilitary militias.
Wyllys was the first parliamentarian in Brazil to openly admit his homosexuality. For years, he has had an open enmity with Bolsonaro. The two had verbally attacked each other in Congress, with Bolsonaro calling Wyllys a "faggot" several times. After Bolsonaro exalted the military dictatorship during the vote to oust then-President Dilma Rousseff in early 2016, Wyllys spat at the then-parliamentary colleague.
"Go with God and be happy"
Further, Wyllys told "Folha" that recent revelations surrounding Bolsonaro's son, Flavio, also prompted him to run. Flavio, elected senator in October, is said to be close to a militia group that may have been involved in Franco's murder. Minutes after Wyllys' decision became public, President Bolsonaro declared via Twitter that it was "a great day". His son Carlos also tweeted, "Go with God and be happy".
After the two tweets were met with massive public criticism, the Bolsonaros said their text messages had not referred to Wyllys, but to Bolsonaro's return trip from the World Economic Forum in Davos. Wyllys' place is now to be taken by party colleague David Miranda in the parliamentary post for the PSOL. Miranda is also an LGBT activist and is married to U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald. The latter had become known worldwide in 2013 through his reports about former NSA official Edward Snowden.
Misereor sees increase in hatred and violence in Brazil
Catholic relief agency Misereor says hatred and violence are on the rise in Brazil under new president Jair Bolsonaro. "Social movements and non-governmental organizations have been strongly criminalized, social debates are conducted with hatred," said Misereor consultant Anna Moser in an interview with the magazine "Publik-Forum" on Friday.
The president's positions of clearing virgin forests for export agriculture and large-scale land ownership "ultimately justify violence throughout the country," Moser said. The rights of small farmers and indigenous peoples would be increasingly restricted. For example, she said, Bolsonaro has weakened the Federal Agency for Indigenous Affairs and distributed its powers to the Ministry of Agriculture. The traditionally drives forward the exploitation of the Amazon region.
Misereor in Brazil
Misereor reportedly currently supports 170 local partners in Brazil with about 13 million euros annually.
In addition, Misereor helps to clarify violent attacks on agricultural workers and indigenous peoples in order to be able to hold those responsible accountable. But that is "very difficult because of the entanglement of agribusiness and politics," Moser said.