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Jair Bolsonaro Wins Presidential Election in Brazil

Jair Bolsonaro Wins Presidential Election in Brazil

Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro has won the presidential election in Brazil with 55.2 percent of the vote against 44.8 percent for Left-Wing Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad. While his pledge to combat corruption and crime—which has plagued Brazil for decades—has earned him massive support, his disparaging comments about women, black people, and the LGBTQ community are often compared to the those by the current U.S. President and have earned Bolsonaro the nickname the “Trump of the Tropics.”

According to 2015 reporting by Brazil’s TV Globo, he once told a fellow lawmaker that she was too ugly to be a rape victim. He also claimed that he would rather his son be a victim of an accident than a “homosexual.” He has even described the descendants of Afro-Brazilian slaves as “lazy.”

According to academic and news reports, a consequence of Bolsonaro’s disparaging and hateful rhetoric has been a frightening increase in reports of physical or verbal abuse at the hands of Bolsonaro supporters (source).

In one instance reported by The Guardian, a trans woman was murdered several days before the election. One witness remembered hearing shouts of the newly elected president’s name, along with “Faggots must die!” as the trans woman was stabbed.

Although violence against the LGBT community has been a significant issue in Brazil for many years, the election of Bolsonaro may result in even more brutal and/or frequent incidents. Such vitriol and aggression persist against the LGBTQ community, particularly trans folks. Bolsonaro has also publicly advocated for the Brazilian government to engage in torture. Following this sharp shift in the Brazilian political climate, many people from marginalized populations are asking if asylum in the U.S. might be possible.

A person may qualify asylum if they have a reasonable fear of future persecution on account of their race, religion, political standing, or membership in a social group (i.e. LGBTQ community). Persecution can mean a significant loss of life or liberty, severe bodily harm or torture, being detained in a jail or prison for a long period of time, or a threat of persecution or death.

At Jacobs & Schlesinger LLP, we are committed to helping those who are interested in seeking asylum or other immigration remedies in the United States. Additionally, one of our San Diego immigration lawyers—Attorney Kai Medeiros—is fluent in Portuguese and eager to provide compassionate and experienced assistance in developing tailored strategies to protect members of marginalized social groups from persecution.

For more information, contact us and schedule a consultation today.


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