Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro to be the guest of honour for 71st Republic day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26. As much the government is projecting this as an opportunity to enhance economic ties with Brazil, there are many who are not happy with Bolsonaro's visit to India. The opposition comes from various groups including sugarcane farmers, activists, journalists, women, and LGBT groups.
Those opposing Jair Bolsonaro's visit to India mentions his unpopular policy decisions and controversial remarks. A retired military officer and self-proclaimed right-wing leader, Bolsanaro came to power in January 2019 on the promise of fighting corruption and draining the political swamp in Brazil. "Dubbed as the "Trump of the Tropic", Bolsonaro is frequently in controversy over his incendiary remarks.
Here are some of his provocative remarks reported by various media outlets over the years:
- On women:
"I wouldn't ever rape you, because you don't deserve it...Slut!"
In exchange with lawmaker Maria do Rosario in 2014. The congresswoman was taking about human rights violation during Brazil's military dictatorship.
- On human rights:
"I am in favour of torture, you know that. And the people are in favour as well." (1999)
"Brazilian prisons are wonderful places ... They are places for people to pay for their sins, not live the live the life of Reilly in a spa. Those who rape, kidnap and kill are going there to suffer — not attend a holiday camp." (2014)
"If some innocents die, alright; in every war innocent people die. I would even be happy if I died as long as 30,000 others died together with me...The situation of the country would be better today if the dictatorship had killed more people."
- On indigenous people:
"I visited a quilombo and the least heavy afro-descendant weighed seven arrobas (approximately 230 pounds). They do nothing! They are not even good for procreation." (2017)
A quilombo refers to a settlement founded and organized by the descendants of runaway slaves.
- On homosexuality:
"I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son." (2011)
- On immigration:
"The scum of the earth is showing up in Brazil, as if we didn't have enough problems of our own to sort out." (2015)
- On elections:
"Elections won't change anything in this country. It will only change on the day that we break out in civil war here and do the job that the military regime didn't do: killing 30,000. If some innocent people die, that's fine. In every war, innocent people die." (1999)
Why Bolsonaro's visit important for India?
In regard to his visit to India, Bolsonaro's presence exhibits overlapping economic interests. While India and Brazil are the world's two largest emerging economies after China, their bilateral trade stands at just $8 billion (2018). As the two countries aim to increase it to $25 billion in the next few years, the two leaders are seeking new potential markets and enhanced investments to revive their respective economies.