Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro has become an ally of the Trump administration, and has been reaching out to form associations with other nationalistic government leaders. As the head of South America’s largest country, particularly one with significant resources which has recently been at odds with the United States, some attention should be paid to him.
A recent prison uprising led to dozens of prisoners being killed, mostly with sharpened toothbrushes and by asphyxiation as they were smothered with pillows. CNN reported 55 dead, as rival gangs clashed behind prison walls in northern Brazil. This is expected to increase Bolsonaro’s political leverage, as his primary appeal has been his tough-on-crime stance.
His additional leverage is likely to be needed as his son faces corruption charges. Jair’s oldest son Flavio is also a politician, a prominent Senator, and he is being investigated for embezzlement, money laundering, and racketeering. The Rio Times reports that he is in the midst of a high-profile legal battle to have his tax records kept from investigators.
The Times is also reporting that the National Museum of Rio, whose fire last year has been traced to a faulty air conditioner, has had a budget cut for its reconstruction. Just over 1/5 of the original allocation has been removed, which, as the National Museum is a source of pride for the country, is expected to have negative political repercussions from Brazil’s nationalists.
Another setback for Bolsonaro is the vote in Israel to dissolve the Knesset, as reported in the Jerusalem Post. Jair has advanced his position on the international stage by forging ties with Netanyahu. Potentially losing one of his strongest new allies is less than ideal for Bolsonaro, who would prefer to have a variety of options beyond the entrenched political presence of Russia in the Brazilian foreign policy.