UN General Assembly Meets Bolsonaro’s Ideological Chloroquine

You cannot teach a delusional person to use reason. Democracy cannot be taught to a tyrant.

by Marcelo Zero

President Bolsonaro’s so-called “letter of surrender”, delivered to the Supreme Court after the failed September 7 coup attempt, created an expectation among the optimists that he could somehow be controlled by the institutions. It created an expectation that he could be tamed by big economic interests that want a head of state who doesn’t get in the way of important international affairs. This fleeting illusion was short-lived.

At the opening of the UN General Assembly, Bolsonaro returned to using the world’s largest stage as an electoral platform and privileged platform for spreading disinformation to stir up the fanatics who still follow him.

Itamaraty, the Brazilian State Department, had prepared a statement aimed at reversing Brazil’s current image problem and repositioning it as a responsible and rational player on the international scene. It was hoped that this speech would serve as a starting point for overcoming the Bolsonaro government’s current diplomatic isolation.

But the former captain, who shares the contempt for the UN that prevails within the world’s extreme right, threw everything in the trash. He used a space that had previously been occupied by diplomats of the stature of Oswaldo Aranha to deliver a speech worthy of a mid-level paramilitary militia boss.

Filled with lies, the speech began, as always, with diatribes against the supposed “communism” of past governments which he falsely accused of lending money to dictatorships (a lie, the Brazilian National Social and Economic Development bank only lends money to Brazilian companies) and causing billionaire deficits in state-owned companies (another lie).

Delivering his speech in a challenging and provocative tone that was totally at odds with Brazil’s cordial, diplomatic tradition, President Bolsonaro did not present a single proposals for international cooperation on the theme of this year’s general assembly: Building resilience through hope – to bounce back from Covid-19, rebuild sustainability, respond to the planet’s needs, respect people’s rights and revitalize the United Nations.

After all, Bolsonaro is the antithesis of hope.

Bolsonaro presented Brazil as an “example of environmental conservation” and even said that the Amazon deforestation levels fell by 32% in August, compared to August of last year. That is not, however, what Instituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia (Amazonian Institute of Mankind and the Environment/IAMAZON) says though. According to this venerable environmental research institute, in August 2021, satellite imagery measured 1,606 km2 deforestation in the Amazon region, representing an increase of 7% over August 2020.

I’m not going to tire you out by detailing all of the lies made in the speech. It would take dozens of pages to comment on all of them, but I will highlight one – his ridiculous claim that there have been no cases of corruption in Brazil for the past 2 years and 8 months, since he took office.

The rosy and delirious vision of Brazil that he presented to the world today did not convince anyone who has access to a minimum amount of information. Certainly, it didn’t convince any serious investor that Brazil is the World’s best country to invest in.

It’s important to note that Bolsonaro ended his speech defending “early treatment” against Covid-19, saying that he did it himself.

He, who arrived in New York proud of not having a vaccination certificate, gave a worldwide prescription for ignorance, irresponsibility and denial. Bolsonaro, once again, shamed Brazil.

It is more certain than ever that as long as Bolsonaro is in power, the Mercosur/EU Agreement will not be approved and the Brazil won’t be invited into the OECD. There is also zero chance of him engaging in meaningful dialogue with serious and relevant heads of state. He will be restricted to the tiny circuit of the world’s extreme right, made up of countries like Poland, from whom he pathetically asked for support to join the OECD.

The chances of Brazil being able to keep what’s left of its democracy seem to diminish every day. Bolsonaro, harassed by the immense economic, social and political crisis that he himself created, by the numerous accusations of corruption and by his plummeting popularity, will do what he has always done: engage in confrontation.

He has no choice. Contrary to his shameless lie about Brazil’s GDP growth next year, the Brazilian economy will be stagnant in 2022. This will deepen the crisis.

Bolsonaro appears to be entering a terminal phase. This makes him very dangerous because he has little to lose.

The temptation to try a new coup while he still has a significant number of fanatical and mobilized followers, could be great if his political meltdown continues. This coup could even be supported by sectors of the so-called “third path”, if Lula and his progressive development project become the irreversible favorite for the 2022 elections.

Brecht said that the fascist sow is always in heat. The fact is, however, that fascist movements in the broadest sense, such as bolsonarismo, are uncontrollable. They have their own logic, based on permanent confrontation, which often ignores the limits dictated by rationality and by reality itself. In this sense, you could call Bolsonarismo a kind of ideological chloroquine.

The dilemma is increasingly clear: either Brazil finishes Bolsonaro or Bolsonaro finishes Brazil. And Brazil is rapidly finishing.

The country can no longer peacefully coexist with its institutional, economic, social and health nemesis. Bolsonaro is a serious threat to the nation, to democracy, to institutions and to Brazilian and Brazilian women. You cannot teach a delusional person to use reason. Democracy cannot be taught to a tyrant.

Bolsonaro is uncontrollable. The only way to control him is to take him out of power. The time has come for all true Democrats to acknowledge this.



By Marcelo Zero

Marcelo Zero is a sociologist, international relations specialist and technical adviser to the PT Senatorial leadership.