By Dorah Feliciano, Contributing Reporter
BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – The Bolsonaro Administration completed its 100th day in office on Wednesday (April 10th) with President Jair Bolsonaro celebrating the accomplishments of his administration and praising his cabinet members. The period, however, has not been all roses for the Bolsonaro team, with major crises arising due to both the President himself and his cabinet members.
In the first few days of January, a video showing newly-appointed Women, Family and Human Rights Minister Damares Alves began circulating in the media. In it, Alves stated that a new era was being inaugurated in Brazil, in which “boys would wear blue and girls would wear pink.” The statement drew criticism all across the country, with many accusing the cabinet member of being gender-biased and homophobic.
Thousands of memes related to the incident circulated on social media and the issue inspired one of this year’s most popular Carnival costumes – men wearing pink and women wearing blue.
In February, rumors of illicit campaign contributions to PSL, Bolsonaro’s political party, brought tension between the Executive Office and the party, including between Bolsonaro and Gustavo Bebianno, PSL President and newly-appointed General Secretariat of the Presidency.
Additionally, doubt was also cast on Marcelo Alvaro Antonio, a PSL member and elected most-voted Congressional representative from the state of Minas Gerais in 2018.
Antonio, who also became Bolsonaro’s Tourism Minister, was said to be part of a scheme to launch false candidates in the states of Pernambuco and Minas Gerais to fulfill election rules, earmarking at least thirty percent of the Electoral Fund money to women candidates. Public money would then be redirected back to the PSL party leaders in those states.
After 48 days as General Secretariat, President Bolsonaro dismissed Bebianno on February 18th.
Less than a week later, one of Bolsonaro’s top cabinet members, Education Minister Ricardo Vélez Rodriguez, received heavy criticism when he asked school principals across the country to videotape students reciting Brazil’s national anthem and pronouncing the slogan used in Bolsonaro’s presidential campaign: “Brazil above Everything, God above Everyone.”
Vélez Rodriguéz later withdrew his request, stating that the taping of minors would need the consent of a parent or a legal guardian.
The Education Minister was also at the center of another controversy in early April when he announced he was ordering a revision of what has been stated in school textbooks in terms of the 1964-1985 history period.
In early March, after being criticized in the local media, Bolsonaro once again made headlines, this time around the globe, after sharing a pornographic video on his Twitter account and stating that he wanted to expose the truth to the Brazilian population about what Carnival had really become.
In the video, a man receives a “golden shower” from another. The day after the video, Bolsonaro asked on his Twitter account, “What is a golden shower?” and hundreds of memes followed.
At the end of March, Bolsonaro determined that the Armed Forces would celebrate the 1964 military coup at all army barracks and garrison.
According to the President, 1964 was not a military coup but a democratic revolution. The statement generated protests and repudiation notes from Brazilian institutions and also from one of the UN special rapporteurs.