Canada and the World, Ep. 13: Bolsonaro — Brazil’s Trump?

A new podcast series from OpenCanada.org and the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

By: /
November 2, 2018

“Bolsonaro is more a symptom than a cause.” Sound familiar? Last weekend’s election of Jair Bolsonaro as president of one of the world’s largest economies has prompted comparisons of the right-wing candidate to the similarly brash Donald Trump in the United States. Do the two compare?

Three Brazil experts join host Bessma Momani to discuss the reasons Brazilians voted in Bolsonaro — including his social conservatism, approach on crime and the country’s economic woes — as well as what makes him a different kind of leader for Brazil and beyond.

This episode of Canada and the World also looks at what to watch in the days and years ahead: How will the policies of Bolsonaro’s lead economist, University of Chicago-trained Paulo Guedes, impact the country and region? Can we expect an erosion of liberal institutions? How will Bolsonaro’s view impact freedoms and human rights, especially those of women, Indigenous people and the LGBT community? And, finally, will we see pushback if foreign interests — from Canada to China — look to exploit newly created business opportunities, regardless of the social or environment costs?

Brazil might not be the only country experiencing a turn to the right, but this particularly turn is certainly one to watch. 

Our host

Bessma Momani is professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and University of Waterloo and a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. She’s also a non-resident senior fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. and a Fulbright Scholar. She has been non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and a 2015 Fellow at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. She’s a frequent analyst and expert on international affairs in Canadian and global media. 

This week's guests

Paul Freston is the CIGI chair in religion and politics in global context at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and with the religion and culture department at Wilfrid Laurier University. Paul is a distinguished senior fellow and director of the Program for Studies of Religion in Latin America, Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University, and professor colaborador in the post-graduate programme in sociology, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil.

Diana Thomaz is a PhD candidate at the Basillie School of International Affairs. She holds a BA in international relations from Fluminense Federal University, Brazil, and an MA in international relations from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Ernesto Vivares is a visiting professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. He studies global political economy, focusing on the socio-historical relationship among development, inequality and global insertions of South America and other regions within the changing global order.

Canada and The World is produced and edited by Matthew Markudis. Each episode can be found on iTunes and other podcast applications.