By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Monday, October 15th, Brazil’s outspoken right-wing presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, visited the Special Police Operations Battalion (Bope) of Rio de Janeiro’s Military Police and compared the violence in Rio de Janeiro to the crisis in Venezuela.
“What is happening with regard to crime in Rio does not happen anywhere in the world, except in countries that are in the process of total decay, like Venezuela,” asserted Bolsonaro, who promised to fight to “preserve the human life of the good people like the police.”
The former army captain expressed his firm support for the police despite growing criticism over police violence in light of sharp surges in deaths related to police actions.
“After fulfilling a mission, you have to be decorated, not processed,” he exclaimed to boisterous applause.
“We dream…of the elimination of unlawfulness not only for you but for every good citizen,” he added. “We will create this in Brasilia, of course, assuming that we are elected.”
Bolsonaro closed by expressing his fraternity with the police, “you can be sure, coming to the presidency, we will have one of ours in Brasilia!”
Following his speech, Bolsonaro posed with members of the military police but did not grant any media interviews. Campaign officials cited the candidate’s limited schedule due to his ongoing recovery from his September 6th stabbing.
Despite Bolsonaro’s comparison of Rio de Janeiro and Venezuela, several local reports showed that Venezuela murder rate is far higher than Rio de Janeiro’s.
In 2017, Brazil as a whole recorded 63,800 murders or 30.8 per 100,000 inhabitants. In Rio, the rate was higher, at 40.4 murders per 100,000, according to the Fórum Brasileiro de Segurança Pública (Brazilian Public Security Forum) NGO.
However, according to the Venezuelan Observatory on Violence NGO, in 2017, Venezuela registered 26,000 murders or 89 murders per 100,000, more than double Rio’s rate.
Bolsonaro will go head-to-head with his leftist rival, Fernando Haddad in the second round runoff to decide Brazil’s next president on Sunday, October 28th.
In the first round, on Sunday, October 7th, Bolsonaro finished first with 46 percent of the vote followed by Haddad with 29 percent.