The Epoch Times had the opportunity recently to sit down with Eduardo Bolsonaro, a congressman in Brazil and the son of Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, to discuss the situation in Brazil, on the occasion of his father’s state visit to the White House on March 19.
The Epoch Times: You have served two terms in Congress in Brazil, and in this last election, I understand you won in a huge landslide—you had more votes than any Brazilian congressperson has ever won?
Eduardo Bolsonaro: Yes. It was a surprise for us. We weren’t expecting that much, but it was historic. It says a lot about the moment that we are living in and not only in Brazil. If you look around in the whole region, you have other people with the same thinking, the same way as President Jair Bolsonaro, and as Trump, too. You look to Chile, you have [President] Sebastian Pinera; Colombia, [President] Ivan Duque [Márquez]; Paraguay, [President] Mario Abdo Benítez; [President Mauricio] Macri in Argentina.
So it’s not a movement about the extreme right, as the press usually sees that we are. It’s something that is natural and is a huge message that we don’t want socialism anymore.
The Epoch Times: That’s an amazing change. I understand that just six years ago, there was no conservative party in Brazil. Is that true?
Mr. Bolsonaro: That’s true. It was so hard for Jair Bolsonaro to find a party that would clearly support him to be the president. And now, we are the biggest party of the Congress. We have this huge change. So it’s something that even sometimes it’s hard to believe in that, like a dream.
The Epoch Times: Why do you think this happened so quickly and, as you say, not just in Brazil, but in several other South American countries?
Mr. Bolsonaro: If we look at the whole region, all the ex-presidents, they were friends. Evo Morales [in Bolivia], Hugo Chávez, then Maduro [Venezuela], Lula, then Dilma [Brazil], Correa [Ecuador], and the Kirchners [Argentina]. And then, people got a fill of that, you know. Because everything is about the politically correct. … And people got full of that. There were so many scandals about corruption that people said, “OK, we want to change.”
And who represented change? Who is saying what’s closer to the people? Then they find Jair Bolsonaro—because Jair Bolsonaro, he didn’t spend even $1 million during his whole campaign. He is someone that gave his country 17 years in the army and then almost 30 years as a congressman. And he doesn’t have too much support from political parties. So, it was a hard election, but we had one thing that all the other candidates didn’t have: the people on his side.
The Epoch Times: Well, this is a really interesting story. I understand the people were sick of corruption. There have been socialist governments for decades. What managed to pull the people together? It’s one thing to be unhappy with the way things are going. It’s another thing to see that there is an alternative, and that your father offered the Brazilian people a different chance.
Mr. Bolsonaro: You have a video on the internet that shows ex-President Lula talking and laughing— like celebrating—that you don’t have even one candidate [who is] right-wing. It was, I think, in 2010 or 2014.
It’s because it was hard to grow up. You know, in the beginning, socialism is like a school. People like it. Everybody has money. Everybody can buy everything, but then, sooner or later, comes the accounting. And in Brazil, when this accounting came, it was during the term of Dilma Rousseff. We faced 14 million unemployed; it was really hard. It was, I think, the worst economic crisis ever in Brazil. It also helped us in [making] this change.
The Epoch Times: So, the people can see that things were not working?
Mr. Bolsonaro: Yes. Clearly, clearly. And it’s not just one point. If you look at security, we have records, year after year in Brazil, record numbers of murders. And they say, “He is robbing because he couldn’t go to this school when he was younger.” They say, “The problem is our society because people don’t like black people.” This whole thing is about political correctness. But when people open their doors, the world is totally different from what the government is telling them, and people were fed up with that.
There is a sense of responsibility that we [the members of Jair Bolsonaro’s party] have. Like we don’t have a second chance. We have only one bullet and we have to do the right thing and change the whole history of Brazil. Because we are clear that if we fail, the left-wing guys are going to come back with the whole history, and Brazil is going to be much closer to Venezuela than the United States, for example.
The Epoch Times: So this miraculous change that happened five or six years ago, where suddenly, Brazilians said “We’re sick of socialism,” you see that as being fragile, that if you don’t show them what works, they’ll flip back to socialism. Is that the case?
Mr. Bolsonaro: Yes, yes, for sure. Because it’s easy, the speech [used by the left]. What do they do? They say: “Hey, man, I’m here for peace. Everyone who says something different, they are against peace.” “Hey, hey, man. I’m here to protect you, black people. Everyone who says against what I’m telling you, they are racist.” And they keep on with all the other issues. That’s why they say that Bolsonaro is racist, xenophobic, homophobic, Nazist, fascist, and now, the other stuff. They are even creating new words, bad words, to say that Bolsonaro is like this.
And then when you go to the internet, where you don’t need the mainstream media to tell you what is going on, you can see with your own eyes—just open Instagram on your smartphone, or Facebook, and you’ll see totally different people.
So the internet was essential in the campaign of Jair Bolsonaro to show people who he is, that he’s not racist, fascist, Nazist, xenophobic, homophobic, and all the other stuff.
And what they [the left] are doing in Brazil, they do in the United States, they do in Europe, they do in Chile, in Colombia. They are all very well-connected, and that’s why I want to use my influence and the position that I have now to build it around the world—to make this miracle that happened in Brazil also happen in other countries. So that it isn’t a small wave, it’s permanent. We really have to organize and stop socialism as long as we can.
The Epoch Times: So social media was what allowed your father to break through the left’s narrative to establish a direct connection with the people? That’s the story?
Mr. Bolsonaro: 100 percent. If you look at the social media of Jair Bolsonaro, it is huge. It’s even bigger than a lot of soccer players or entertainers. And it made the total difference in this campaign. And I have to say that my brother, Carlos Bolsonaro, he’s handling the social media of Jair Bolsonaro. Carlos doesn’t like to do interviews, he doesn’t like to appear too much, but he’s the biggest guy that [had] a responsibility in this election. After the stabbing of my father, he stayed 77 percent of the campaign time in the hospital or at home.
So imagine, you stop the whole campaign. You are not going through all the states. You are going to stay at home, talking only to a cell phone. This is what happened, so thanks to my brother. And if you look through the interviews of my father after he got elected, the first time that he went on television live, he said, “Thanks, Carlos Bolsonaro.” And also when he was taking office in Jan. 1, he said again, “Thank you, my son, Carlos Bolsonaro.”
The Epoch Times: For those who may not be completely up to date on Brazilian politics, in early September, your father suffered a very serious knife wound in an attack. Did he almost die?
Mr. Bolsonaro: Yes, it was really hard. Some time ago, I wasn’t even able to talk about that, because I got kind of emotional. But I’m getting used to it. When he was stabbed, I was campaigning in the state of São Paulo. He was in a neighboring state called Minas Gerais, in a city called Juiz de Fora. And someone called me and said, “Be calm, your father got stabbed.” And I said, “OK, how bad was it?” Then a little bit later, people started to talk, and I was getting a little bit nervous. And my oldest brother, Flavio, he tweeted, “OK, it wasn’t that that bad, it was only superficial.” So I got calm. But when I went to a friend’s house and started to watch the news, [it said] he lost more than two liters of blood. It cut his intestines in four parts.
He died and came back twice; he was really lucky. We say that we do believe in God, because he got out quick—it was so quick that the federal agents that were doing his security took my father from the crowd of around 20,000 or 30,000 people. It was so quick, and they went right to the hospital. So they knew the map and where the hospitals were, the nearest ones.
The doctor said five more minutes and he could have died, because his heart was almost without blood. When he arrived in this public hospital, Santa Casa de Misericordia, there was a crew with a specialist in the area that was necessary to do the surgery. This doesn’t happen all the time in Brazil, so he was really lucky. And doing this surgery, the doctors said that [out of] 100 people that [they] see with the same stab wound, only one survives.
So my father said that he thinks that he has a mission to do here. And it was too much [of a] coincidence to believe that you don’t have the hand of God in that.
The Epoch Times: Why do you think this attack happened?
Mr. Bolsonaro: The guy who stabbed him was part of the PSOL—the Socialism and Liberty Party, [although] he was not part of this party since 2014. And it’s someone that would kill him to take him out of the presidential race of 2018—this is for sure. Sometimes, people try to say that no, he was like a lone wolf—it was something solitary. No, no. It was by a leftist. Imagine if the opposite happened: someone that was part of our party stabbed a left-wing candidate. They would be crazy with that.
The Epoch Times: Your father is often compared to President Donald Trump. Do you think that’s a good comparison?
Mr. Bolsonaro: Before 2016—before the Trump election—people in Brazil didn’t know too much about Trump. And what happened is that, as we said, the left-wingers are very organized all over the world. The message that Brazil was receiving about Trump, it was that kind of left-wing message: that he doesn’t like the Mexicans, he wants to build a wall, he doesn’t like black people, he wants to do politics only for rich people. It’s the same things that people said about Jair Bolsonaro.
But, even at that time in 2016, I made some posts supporting him. I know that he doesn’t need my support, and I don’t have the capability to change stuff in the United States. But it was to say: “Hey, there is someone stepping out of the politically correct, in Brazil and also in the United States. Pay attention to these guys.”
So when he was elected, it was really fun because if you look at the news in Brazil, if we turn on the television, almost all the journalists were like, “This is incredible.” Like, OK, we’re coming here from the United States, Donald Trump just got elected. And then the other side in Brazil, the journalists, says sorry, can you confirm that’s true? Donald Trump just got elected. How? Because no one was expecting [that]. They tried to manipulate the society. And they believe in this kind of dream, illusion. But if you look to the real world, it’s totally different. Even people that sometimes don’t want to say that they’re going to vote for Jair Bolsonaro or Donald Trump, they are going to do that. You know, but if they say that they’re going to vote for Jair Bolsonaro, maybe his boss can fire him. Maybe other people: “Oh, man, are you going to vote for this guy? He’s racist, xenophobic, Nazist, and all this stuff.”
You know, so they just prefer to be quiet, go there, and vote. And they think they have a lot of similarities. But I think the main one is the fact of they don’t care about the mainstream media, and if they like something and this is the right thing to do, they are going to do that. It doesn’t matter what people are going to talk about that.
The Epoch Times: So that they’re similar in they have political courage and they don’t care about political correctness.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Yes, sure, this is 100 percent.
The Epoch Times: Yeah.
Mr. Bolsonaro: My father even makes a joke that they have another similarity. I mean, not a similarity—that my father is richer than Trump.
The Epoch Times: But I understand you to be saying that not just Trump and your father are similar, but that there was a similar moment, a similar kind of change in the popular understanding.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Sure. It’s again like … In university, I majored in law, and once, a teacher taught me that when you are doing a law, first you have to wait for the society to change. Then the congressmen looks at that and changes the law. What does the left-wing try to do? They try to first change the law and then put people to do that.
So, the biggest part of Brazil, we are conservatives. We are Christians. People do not agree too much with a lot of stuff that the left wing says. They say too much about the homosexuality issue. OK, it has a space in the government agenda, but not the whole space for you. [For] example: in Brazil, we have 62,000 murders per year, and around 300 of these murders are because of gay stuff. It’s not official, who says 300 murders is in a nongovernmental organization, LGBT. But OK, let’s go through and say that it’s true, 300. Which one do you think the government would have as a priority? The 61,700 or the 300 murders? It’s just that. If you have better security for the whole society, it would be better for heterosexual, homosexual, black, white, yellow, or red … everybody.
The left-wingers, they are masters in separating the society. And then, in the next moment, appears the politician—covering, wearing his suits of protectors of the black, of the woman, of all the others just to get your vote and keep them in power. We don’t care about that. If you take a look in Brazil, 15 years ago—from 15 years ago to now, you are going to see that even the humorists have trouble trying to do jokes because they receive … they have to go to trial sometimes, saying that they are not racist, they’re not against women, or whatever. It’s boring living in a society like that, like you have to pay attention to even the jokes that we are doing because people can feel like, “Oh, he made a joke, oh, poor me, I got offended by that.” Come on, it’s a joke, everybody knows about that. What are we going to create to protect people that don’t have hair like me.
The Epoch Times: OK. Journalists in Brazil and the United States have sometimes compared you to Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law. They say that you play a role with your father similar to Kushner plays with President Trump. Now, Kushner has some very important policy portfolios, and he also is a very close adviser to his father. Do you think that’s a fair comparison—to compare you to Kushner? What role are you playing in your father’s administration?
Mr. Bolsonaro: I didn’t see that, but I’m glad with this comparison. Jared is smarter than me. Maybe one day I’ll be in the same position. But, yes, not only the president, everybody. You are the average of the people that are around you. So, for sure, we do advices with my father. I even said in an interview that in the end of the day, it will be me at the weekend barbecue or at dinner before my father goes to sleep, and in no way can you fire me, because I’m his son.
But, I say “Thanks, God” that my father had the opportunity to give me a nice education. When I was younger, I had an English course, then I went to the university to prove it in the Federal Police public contest, which is a pretty hard contest. And me and my brothers, for sure, we want the best for Brazil, and if my father needs help, advice, or something, we are there to help him. But we don’t have that much power like the president. He doesn’t do what I say. I can say that I would do a small part of his brain, like of his sense. He speaks with me, he speaks with other people, and then he finds what he thinks is better, and then he makes a decision. But I’m glad with this comparison.
The Epoch Times: OK. What does your father want to gain from the visit to Washington this week?
Mr. Bolsonaro: The first step is a clear message that the United States and Brazil are allied—this is the first issue. In Brazil, the last presidents, especially Lula and Dilma—they work too much with ideology. So, they were close with Venezuela. We have a public bank in Brazil called BNDES. We sent a lot of money to Venezuela. We built a port in Cuba called Port of Mariel, which cost around $700 million. We built some stuff in Nicaragua, in Africa, and then we did not receive back our money. And we have a lot of problems in Brazil to fix, too, so that’s why it was necessary for the last president to steal billions and billions of dollars. No one steals billions of dollars for you to have a comfortable life. They do that to the system together, with all the other Bolivarian presidents.
They had a group called Foro de Sao Paulo. In this group, you have the FARCs—the socialist army guys in Colombia. You had Hugo Chavez, Maduro, you have Eduardo Correa, Cristina Kirchner, Bachelet—all the presidents. So there was a lot of corruption that happened. And don’t trust if someone tells you that Dilma Rousseff received a coup in 2016, when she was impeached. And also don’t trust when someone tries to tell you that ex-President Lula is in jail because of politics. No, they are there because they steal a lot. Brazil is a very, very rich country, and there is no reason to not be much more looking like United States than Cuba. And this was the way that Brazil was going, too—much more like Cuba and Venezuela. That’s why Jair Bolsonaro got elected.
The Epoch Times: So Brazil was buying, was providing things for Venezuela and Cuba?
Mr. Bolsonaro: Sure. A subway in Caracas … even the food sent to Venezuela—a lot of support. Not only Brazil, if you take a look, Iran is there, too. Hezbollah is full of that in Venezuela. And we have to look at them because if we get the history in Argentina in the ’90s—twice they received a terrorist attack there: in ’92 against AMIA and ’94 against the Israeli Embassy. So don’t think that it is an issue for the Midwest and you don’t have enough of that. If you think like this, you are only making the land comfortable for this kind of people to come to your land. You have to be tough. Look, I am descended from Italians. In Brazil, the whole country was made by immigrants. But you have to control who is going inside of your house. And Brazil is our house; the United States is your house. And you have to do that because there is a small part of bad people that come together with the good people and they can mess it up—a lot of stuff. And we really don’t want that. If you ask to look at the background of someone that’s entering in your country, you are not xenophobic. You are only doing the right thing.
The Epoch Times: The Sao Paulo group that you mentioned—The Epoch Times has published about this, but I haven’t seen many articles about it elsewhere. My understanding is that group is an attempt to turn South America communist. Is that right?
Mr. Bolsonaro: Yes. They think they would build, they say, the big patriarchy. What is the big patriarchy? It’s the dream of some to make the whole of Latin America only one country. So that’s why they say that no borders, they get their money from Brazil and send to the other countries, and that kind of stuff. They have this dream. If you take a look in the photo, the Foro de Sao Paulo symbol is the Latin America. Put it this way—with Chile, Argentina on the top and on the other side here, you have Central America. They want to make everything confused with no parliaments, with no sense. So after that, they can build their the best society. And the best society: you know how this story ends. It ends in Cuba; it ends in Venezuela. That’s why the left-wingers don’t talk too much about Venezuela, because they think this is a phase of the revolution. So it’s all right, people got killed, and this kind of stuff. They are like cleaning the society for the communists. It’s just you studied the history, and you are going to see that the history is happening again, now, in Venezuela.
The Epoch Times: At the White House on Tuesday, will Venezuela and the communists in South America be on the agenda?
Mr. Bolsonaro: Sure, yes. That’s also why Jair Bolsonaro is coming here to the U.S. with the biggest crew of ministers and also with the defense minister, with the justice minister, and General Heleno of the GSI. And they are for sure going to talk about that because it’s something that goes up in United States, especially United States, Colombia, and Brazil. Now in Venezuela, people there they have a big hope that things can change because if you look around they have Trump, Duque, Jair Bolsonaro, Pinera, Macri, and a lot of presidents of the region that are supporting free elections in Venezuela. But to have free elections, you have to first take Maduro from power. This is the first step. Maduro doesn’t want to get out, not only because he’s a dictator but he’s a common criminal. He works with the drug dealers. He knows that once he takes off the power, it’s his life. It’s not only that “OK, I will not be the president anymore. I will do another thing.” No, no, no.
He knows that his life is at risk, even with the possibility of other friends that are around him kill him. Because if he says, “OK, I will step out. I’m going to live in Cuba or North Korea.” It’s not going to be that easy because there are a lot of people around that have their criminal business or terror business. They are not going to be happy with that. And they can do bad things, too. We know how criminals deal with each other. So it is a big issue. No one has the right solution. Everybody wants to do that. We filed military action in Venezuela. But we have somehow to twist the militaries inside of Venezuela. I think this is the big issue that everybody trusts that, “OK. Now it’s for real. Let’s go do everything against Maduro because otherwise they are going to suffer with the starving, and they’re going to die hungry.”
Last year, I went to the border between Brazil and Venezuela to a state called Roraima. From the capital of Roraima to the border, it is 200 kilometers. When you get in a car and go to the road and drive this 200 kilometers, you’re going to see a lot of people walking. Because they don’t have $10 to get a bus or a taxi on the border and go to the capital. So they walk for three days. You’re going to see all of them: men, usually between 20 and 30 years old. And the history is the same, why they are going to Brazil? Because they want to work, and send the money to their families because they don’t have cats and dogs on the streets to eat any more.
And if you ask … sometimes you ask them to show pictures, and they show pictures of themselves, like a couple of years ago, chubby or fat, and when you look at them, right in front of you, they are skinny. They are losing like 10 or 20 kilos. It’s extreme when you see that and their histories about eating dogs, eating cats; it’s really like, emotional when you start to talk with them. And they have hope. If we don’t help Venezuela, what is going to happen? More and more people are going to leave Venezuela. And here in the Americas, we are going to face the biggest immigrant crisis ever. I’m sure about that. So we have to work hard in Venezuela. And, for sure, this issue will be also in the media between Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump.
The Epoch Times: Well, let’s hope they can come up with a plan. On Monday night, before your father meets President Trump, I understand he’ll be having a dinner at the embassy and that Steve Bannon will be there. Can you say something about your relationship with Bannon?
Mr. Bolsonaro: He asked me to be part of this group called The Movement. You have Salvini in Italy also doing that. It’s one step to organize the conservatives, the right-wingers all around the world. It’s the same movement that the left-wingers made. And he has experience during the campaign, a lot of success with the campaign of Donald Trump in 2016. He invited me, I said yes, but people started to say in Brazil that, “Oh, look to this meeting.” It’s not going to be a meeting. He’s invited to a dinner as much other people.
And I think at this dinner, the main thing that is going to happen is a meeting between Olavo de Carvalho, a Brazilian philosopher who lives here in Virginia, and Jair Bolsonaro. Olavo de Carvalho was really important. Why? Because he’s a philosopher. He has a lot of influence. He teaches a lot of people in all different areas, showing what it is that communism is, what it is that capitalist is, to be a conservative. And he really is the philosophy base that we have behind this movement. I think everything started with Olavo de Carvalho, and what he said 20-30 years ago is happening now in Brazil. So he has a lot of credibility, and for sure, the president listens a lot to Olavo de Carvalho. They don’t talk with each other every day, but for sure, what Olavo de Carvalho says on social media, we listen to in Brazil.
The Epoch Times: I see. What does he say about cultural Marxism?
Mr. Bolsonaro: Olavo? He goes deep in there. And, for sure, the left-wingers they say, no, this is a joke. It doesn’t happen.
The Epoch Times: I ask that because, in learning about you and your father, I thought that I learned that this was an important part of what you’re doing—trying to counter cultural Marxism.
Mr. Bolsonaro: I think that’s the main stuff. This is the most important thing. Because after Karl Marx made history about communism and all this stuff, if you take a look at the history, in 1917, you have the Russian Revolution.
The Epoch Times: Right.
Mr. Bolsonaro: If you look a little bit more, you’re going to see in ’49, you have China; in ’59, you have Cuba; and they tried to do the same in Brazil in 1964. But, thank God, the military didn’t let the communists get the power. They didn’t, it wasn’t necessary even one shot, even one cue to the militaries. Why? Because they had huge support for the people. Left-wingers are always trying to rewrite history and say that Brazil lived a dictatorship. No. You have journalists talking bad about the government. If you want to get out of the country, you could do that. The generals that all got elected, they got elected by the Parliament, and you have a lot of reasons to believe that it wasn’t a dictatorship. But they are going to say that anyway. They are always repeating what they think is right, until you trust in them.
But, after 1964, what happened in Brazil? A part of the communists start to do terrorism. They even kidnapped the American ambassador at that time. In Brazil, we had some airplanes, aircraft kidnapped, and some of them went to a democratic country called Cuba. See how cool they are? They love the freedom. And on the other hand, they started to do a very slow movement following the Italian philospher called Antonio Gramsci. What did Gramsci say? He says that you need to change the culture to get the power. If you get the power by force, it would not be that long. Sooner or later, you are going to, it’s going to fail.
So the left-wingers are trying to pull something, especially the teachers in university. Because after university, you’re going to be a judge, a lawyer, a journalist, a politician, an engineer, a doctor. They were very smart in that. And now, you can see, for example, Chile. Chile is very good in economic, in social; they have problems with their universities. In Brazil, also the same thing. Everybody, if you go to the federal university, almost everybody when you finish that you’re going to say much more that you are on the socialist way. You stop with that, when you start working and have bills to pay, and you face the real world. But when you don’t have a sense about the real world, it’s so easy to believe in these teachers. Don’t tell me that, “No, this is democracy.” No, no, no. They’ll say that with democracy, you read Trotsky, Karl Marx, or Foucault. You are almost never going to read a book … your teachers are going to tell you to read the books of Adam Smith, Karl Popper, all of the other guys. So they are very smart in this way. And it’s really effective. You can see that we have a lot of work to do to open the eyes of the people and do it in the opposite way, like, teach them.
That is why I like the think tanks. And that’s why I want to be connected with Salvini, with Bannon, and all the other conservatives around. I know that here in the United States, you have a CPAC which is a huge meeting between the conservatives. I want to bring it to Brazil, too. I made one kind of CPAC, not that big. I made the South of Brazil in December, which we said was the Conservative Chamber of the Americas. We are going to do another one, probably, on this at the end of this year. This is the work that we have to do.
The Epoch Times: So you’re going to counter the left’s Gramsci’s march to the institutions with conservative education.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Yes. Sometimes people say, “Oh come on. Is that real, that we have all the time explaining to people?” Yes. It’s the price of freedom. It’s always looking for what is going on because if you relax and go to the beach, do whatever you want, someone will do this work and probably in a way that we’re not going to like. So it’s … yeah, I like to do that, and I’m excited to do more and more.
The Epoch Times: And this opposition to cultural Marxism—this is something that’s a big issue here in the United States, of course. Is that something your father sees as something that he can be involved in or …
Mr. Bolsonaro: Yes. If you stop giving money to this nongovernmental organization, this is big stuff. Sometimes I talk about the university, but sometimes they have groups, you know, in Venezuela, they call collectives. But these groups of people, they go to the teenagers, they go to the teachers, they try to do this movement especially using schools and universities. If you stop sending government money to them, you are doing a really nice job. As I said here, they are masters in separating societies between black and white, even father and son, men and women, North against South. For all these cases, you have a nongovernmental organization, but they receive a lot of money from the government.
The Epoch Times: I see.
Mr. Bolsonaro: So their job is to separate the people and then tell them what is the best for them: “Oh no. You don’t know what is the best for you. You have to vote for this candidate here” and that kind of stuff.
The Epoch Times: So the government is going to defund political correctness.
Mr. Bolsonaro: They are already doing that. It’s not only about being against this kind of group, it’s respect for people’s money. When the government gets your tax money, you are giving your money … I mean, at least I do trust that it’s for education and security and health … people receive $10,000 per month to do this work. Come on, it’s not that what is going to bring Brazil to be No. 1 in the world in economic or technology.
The Epoch Times: One of the parallels between your father and President Trump and something that Steve Bannon is very involved in, the movement is involved in—Trump has been a critic of globalist institutions. One of his slogans is “America First.” One of your father’s slogans is “Brazil First.” What’s wrong with globalism from the standpoint of Brazil?
Mr. Bolsonaro: Because they want to change the whole world. Brazil is not like the U.S.; Brazil is not like Argentina. We like soccer. We have Carnival. You like American football. You like baseball. You have Mardi Gras. So it’s different people. We don’t need to be forced to look like something that we don’t like. We need to preserve our culture, and we have a beautiful culture. We need to preserve our memory, our history, and there is nothing bad with that. That’s why we are Brazilians. You are Americans. There are Argentinians. There are Italians. There are Chinese. And what is the matter with that? Why does everybody have to be the same, and forced to be the same? Why do I have to look at something in the street and say that I like that, when actually I’m not liking it? This is my opinion. What you want you do is bring people and put them above the state. It’s the state who serves the people, it’s not the opposite. I don’t need politicians to tell me what is the best for me.
The Epoch Times: I understand. OK.
Mr. Bolsonaro: There is a law in some states of Brazil that it’s forbidden to have salt on the table in restaurants. It’s because salt is not good for your heart, for your blood pressure. So they take it off the table. If you want, you have to ask the waiter. You can smile now. This is not a big deal. That is OK. We can survive without that, but after the salt, will come a day with no meat. Imagine if the government starts to tell you that meat is not good to your health, that you have to change the meat for another product. And then it goes over and over and over. That is not freedom.
The Epoch Times: I understand. So you and your father want to stand up for freedom and for the people having responsibility for their own lives and for the authenticity of your own experience, not something coming from above.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Yes. And that’s also why my father named Paulo Guedes as economic minister. Paulo Guedes has a phrase that is: “More Brazil and less Brazilia.” Brazilia is the capital of Brazil. [So] what does he mean by that? It’s that the state, we have to be smaller to get less taxes from you. So your money from your work stays with you, and you do what you think is better. I think this is freedom. No one wants to pay half of his salary to the government monthly. And the end of the day, you going to see the politicians stealing billions and billions of dollars. If you are against corruption, you’re going to agree with this idea.
The Epoch Times: Eduardo, I’d like to shift gears and ask you about a couple of the tough criticisms your father has received in Brazil. This past week, there’s been a big controversy about a photo. Over a year ago, Rio de Janeiro city Councilwoman Marielle Franco was murdered, and a photo was unearthed this week showing your father with his arm around one of the police officers who is accused of involvement in the murder of Franco. And then after that photo was discovered, it was pointed out that the other man arrested for the murder lived in the same neighborhood as your father, and that your older brother is said to have dated that police officer’s daughter. And so the left is calling for an investigation, I understand, to see if your father has ties to paramilitary organizations, to gangs. Does he? Does he have ties to these murderous gangs that are in Rio de Janeiro?
Mr. Bolsonaro: They are crazy to build this history. First, when people say no, someone dated this son of the guy. I said, that wasn’t me. My father lived with my youngest brother Hernan. Hernan said like, “I don’t know, maybe I kissed her her. I don’t know.” But it’s not dating or something that’s a great relation between both. Yes. The guy who is getting accused, he live in the same neighborhood as my father. But what can you do? Are you sure that everybody that lives in the same neighborhood [are] good people? Sometimes it happens.
About the photo: my father has pictures, I think, with almost 100 percent of the cops of Rio de Janeiro. He’s very popular because he is the only one that says what the policeman and all the officers want to listen to. I have pictures with a lot of people. Am I responsible for what they are going to do? No. They are crazy to make this connection. There is no connection, because there is no reason why Jair Bolsonaro would kill this city councilwoman. Why? There is no reason.
And another thing, who knows in Brazil, ask each Brazilian if they know who Marielle Franco was, with all respect, before she was killed. No one knows her. I think it’s much more something that involved paramilitary or drug dealers, or whatever, than something about politics. Her speech is like it’s a speech that criticized a lot of the bullies. Yes, a lot. As you have a bunch of politicians that everyday are doing the same. So there is no reason. I’m really okay with that, but the left-wingers—they they are crazy to make this connection. Does it matter what happened? They are trying to do that because it favors their speech of victimization.
And doesn’t matter that there is a body of her friends in this history. They are going to use it, and use it as much as possible for their cause. No one wants people to be killed in politics or any other area. This is a crime and I expect that when the police resolve this case, all the criminals will go to jail, as do all the other criminals that kill 62,000 people per year in Brazil.
The Epoch Times: Well, let me ask you about one other criticism, and that is the left says that your father wants to be an authoritarian, and they point to several things. But, in particular, they point to a speech he gave after the first round of the presidential elections. It was apparently a speech to supporters in Sao Paulo. And I haven’t checked the transcript, but the report is that he threatened the Worker’s Party with exile and torture and murder.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Which speech was that?
The Epoch Times: This was on the night of the first election for the presidential campaign, and it was one that, I read, was made to his supporters in San Paolo.
Mr. Bolsonaro: My father [inaudible]. OK, OK, OK.
The Epoch Times: What’s been reported, those are very strong words.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Free speech. I want to tell … I want to see only one act of Jair Bolsonaro doing this during these two months of government that was authoritarian. They don’t have a connection with reality. They only want you to build a history that is in favor of their cases and that it is in favor, so they get back of the power. Just don’t listen to that.
The Epoch Times: OK.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Let’s go take a look at the real world. Sometimes, my father uses hard words. Sure, yes. If he sees something, he calls the things by their names. He is not going to try to be soft or, “Oh, no, let’s go try to use in other words.” No, no, no. He speaks that, and thank God, he’s very sincere, so people can know who Jair Bolsonaro is, and they know who they are voting for. Because sometimes people vote for the politician, and when the politician comes to power, it changes a lot. No, not with Jair Bolsonaro. You know right … you know very clearly who he is.
The Epoch Times: OK. So your response is sometimes he says things in a strong way, but you need to look at his actions and his actions aren’t authoritarian.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Sure.
The Epoch Times: OK. Just a couple more questions. You’ve spoken often on this about “Thanks, God.” What role does belief in God play in this movement supporting your father?
Mr. Bolsonaro: I think because Brazil is a country formed by Christians, even people who don’t believe in God are very well-received in our country. This is not a matter of “I’m a Christian. This is up to me.” But you have, I think, I would say that more than 80 percent of Brazilians are Christians, especially Catholics and Evangelicals, and they want someone that thinks the same way as them. And I think for me it’s really, it’s really OK. You are not going … you are not facing a movement in Brazil that are trying to to kill people from other religions. Christians are like the most peaceful people in the world—maybe that’s why we receive so many attacks. Sometimes they attack the church—Catholic or Evangelical. They don’t do the same with another religion because maybe they can receive a big punishment.
The Epoch Times: Just to be clear, I wasn’t suggesting that Christians in Brazil are violent, I was just asking.
Mr. Bolsonaro: I know that. It’s because I start to answer and going thinking about other things, and when I going to say— I even don’t remember what you asked—talking about this stuff.
No, but I knew that they were great supporters of Jair Bolsonaro because like Jair Bolsonaro, they do a hard defense of the family—traditional family. And he thinks that this is healthy, this is OK with our culture, and he doesn’t want to mess it up. If you have a partner—if you are a man living with another man, this not up to us. I lose nothing, I don’t win nothing, but it’s our society. Usually, you have much more men, women with a kid, and this family, you have written in our Constitution. If you want Brazil to accept another way of family, this is not a problem. We can do that. You just, you do an amendment in the Constitution. And that is OK; I would start to respect it. But, also, we have a constitution. We have to respect it. I don’t like the whole constitution of Brazil, but we have to respect it if we want to live in a normal society. That’s why.
The Epoch Times: If your father’s presidency is a success in this movement that you’re a part of, how will Brazil be changed? What will it matter if Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency is a success? What will be different?
Mr. Bolsonaro: A lot of stuff like, probably, more people like Bolsonaro will come up. People that aren’t afraid of the politically correct, people that defend the family, people that don’t like abortion, people that …
The Epoch Times: Abortion.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Uh-huh.
The Epoch Times: I wanted to make sure our listeners understood the word. OK, abortion.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Abortion. Pro-gun politicians, too. And this is the way like meritocracy, like you don’t need the government to give a substantial list, you can do everything by your arms, with a smaller state paying much less in taxes. I think he can have a great history. He can do a first step of a long way of prosperity in Brazil. And if he fails, people like Dilma Rousseff and Lula will be back for sure.
The Epoch Times: Yeah. At the beginning, you said that if he failed then Brazil was doomed to socialism.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Yes, yes.
The Epoch Times: We’ve covered a lot of ground. Is there something else you’d like to add? Anything else that we haven’t covered or you’d like to clarify?
Mr. Bolsonaro: You asked about the security … that you were going to ask about my security here.
The Epoch Times: Well … that was just out of curiosity. I mean you’re a government official, you’re the president’s son. I was just asking if maybe you had a security detail with you. After all, your father was almost assassinated.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Yeah, but I don’t think they’re going to do something bad with me here in the U.S. I think it’s much easier to do that in Brazil—easier to do and easier to get out of the trials. Here, you have hard punishment. I’m sure that if they tried to do something against not only me, against any citizen here, they are going to face a really hard trial.
The Epoch Times: Well, let’s hope.
Mr. Bolsonaro: That why it’s so much different. That’s why here, you have around three or four murders for each group of 100,000 people, and, in Brazil, we have 30 murders for each group of 100,000 people.
The Epoch Times: OK, well, let’s hope that there is less murder in all places. And, Godspeed, that you don’t need to have security.
Mr. Bolsonaro: Yes. Hope so.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.