The New York Times is reporting that the electoral triumph of Jair Bolsonaro, who will soon be sworn in as Brazil’s president, is already energizing local politicians who support unleashing state violence as a cure for the country’s crime problem. During the campaign, Bolsonaro proclaimed that, “good criminal is a dead criminal.” Now this adage will give further licence to Brazilian police and military forces, which already have a propensity for violent solutions.
Wilson Witzel, a Bolsonaro ally newly elected as the governor of of Rio de Janeiro is calling for an extension of the already existing military intervention, which has seen the army take over security. According to The New York Times, Witzel, “proposed using snipers, some aboard helicopters, to gun down anyone spotted carrying a weapon in low-income urban communities known as favelas.”
The military intervention that Witzel wants to extend has already seen a massive increase in police and military killings. “Between March and September, the police and the army killed at least 922 people in the state of Rio de Janeiro, a 45 percent increase from the same period last year,” the Times reports. “Nearly one in every four people killed here since March have died at the hands of the state.”
Another key member player in the push for a more violent war against crime is Gustavo Bebianno, a major figure in the Bolsonaro campaign and sometimes discussed as a future justice minister. “If a lowlife is on the street carrying a weapon ostentatiously, he should be a target,” Mr. Bebianno reportedly commented. “You don’t talk. You talk after shooting. Why would a decent person be carrying a weapon of war ostentatiously on a public street?”