Elections 2022: Brazil does not want to arm itself | Opinion | The USA Print

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Jair Bolsonaro at an event in São Paulo, in mid-May.
Jair Bolsonaro at an event in São Paulo, in mid-May.AMANDA PEROBELLI (REUTERS)

Numbers are said to be cold, without human warmth. Perhaps they refer to money. There are, however, figures that expand the soul, that reveal the most intimate feelings of the people. This is what has just happened in Brazil with two recent polls in which the population, in an overwhelming majority, has rejected President Jair Bolsonaro’s mantra: “The armed people will never be enslaved.” The Brazilians, on the other hand, believe that the greatest qualities of the next president should be “honesty, concern for people, especially the weakest, and intelligence.”

It is true that Brazil is one of the most violent countries in the world, with a record 40,000 homicides a year. It is suffered above all by blacks, women and young people, in a country where the head of state tells the police that “the best bandit is a dead bandit” and that he exempts from all responsibility those agents who kill out of nervousness or fear.

As soon as he came to power, Bolsonaro made the laws for the possession of weapons more flexible, convinced that only in this way would the violence decrease. The almost four years of his government have shown the opposite: as in the United States, the increase in the possession of weapons among civilians is multiplying crimes. And the relaxations that Bolsonaro established were not made by any other president in the history of Brazil.

Instead of thanking him, the response of the citizens has been a resounding no. In Brazil, a person can own up to six weapons, but a survey of Datafolha He has just revealed something that is more eloquent to say with numbers than with words: 72% of the population rejects Bolsonaro’s idea that only an armed people will stop being slaves. Curiously, among women, blacks and the youngest – the greatest victims of violence – this rate reaches up to 78%. The only supporters of arming the population are the men and the richest.

Thanks to the result of this survey, social networks have humorously revived an episode experienced by Bolsonaro in 1995, when he was a federal deputy. The now president was leaving his house on a motorcycle, armed with a 38-caliber Glack revolver, when he was approached by two assailants who left him on foot, without a motorcycle and… without his revolver.

Violence and street robberies, especially in the big cities, are on the rise again. But Brazilians know that the president is wrong when he pretends to solve the problem, turning citizens into an armed militia. According to another survey of Iweight XP81% of Brazilians demand that their next president have a series of qualities that the current one lacks: honesty, concern for people, competence and intelligence.

Surveys often reveal numbers that might seem cold, but they encourage Brazilians in the face of the upcoming elections and in the face of uncertainty, of the continuous Bolsonarist threats about coups, the exaltation of violence, the fervor for weapons, poverty and discouragement of the young.

Hence the importance of the presidential elections next October, which have already mobilized the entire country. The duel will be between the extreme fascist right that seeks to retain power by all means and the forces that want to return to power with a commitment to freedom and democracy. Despite its flaws, this side can ward off the scarecrow of the darkness of dictatorships and the demon of speech and the lack of horizons for the youngest who, with Bolsonaro in power, express a painful desire: to leave the country.

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