Brazilian Bolsonaro still the “Bibles, bullets and beef” candidate

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Four years after President Jair Bolsonaro won with a wave of support from Brazil’s “Bibles, bullets and beef” coalition, this powerful trio of groups is still at the heart of his base.

AFP spoke to Bolsonaro supporters from “BBB” constituencies – conservative Christians, security supporters and farmers – about the Oct. 2 election pitting the far-right incumbent against the former president. left-wing president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010).

proud cop

Former Rio de Janeiro police officer Elitusalem Gomes Freitas, 42, says his admiration for Bolsonaro began long before the former army captain’s campaign in 2018, when the current president was still member of the Congress of Rio.

“When officers were killed in the line of duty, other politicians never sent condolences. Bolsonaro did,” Freitas says.

“He went to the funeral and paid his respects to our colleagues.”

Freitas, a powerfully built man who spent two decades as a cop before entering local politics, is now running to represent Rio in Congress, as Bolsonaro once did.

Photos on his social media show him with a stern face, a rifle, a Brazilian flag and a black T-shirt stamped with the word “Bolsonaro”.

He calls himself a pro-gun, conservative and “leftist terror” father.

Bolsonaro’s victory four years ago “raised huge expectations among conservatives”, he says.

“But the problems that have dragged on for 30 years are not solved in four years.”

Still, he likes Bolsonaro’s “integrity” after what he calls the “theft” of Lula and his Workers’ Party.

Like Bolsonaro, he alleges nefarious powers are plotting a “secret vote count” to steal the election.

“People who accuse Bolsonaro of planning a coup reverse the narrative. They are the real putschists,” he says.

Voter of values

Retired math teacher Mariza Russo Feres, 68, says she prays every day “for Brazil and the president that God will choose”.

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The evangelical pastor’s wife fears Lula’s return to power.

“I’m afraid of communism,” she says, sitting in a pew at the church where her husband preaches in Sao Paulo’s upscale Pinheiros neighborhood.

She sees Bolsonaro as the defender of family values ​​and Lula as a threat.

“For example, abortion is anti-Christian, and we fear that a candidate will impose it on us,” she says, referring to statements in favor of abortion rights by Lula, who then marched back, facing backlash in a country that remains largely conservative on the issue.

Feres also cites the left’s supposed imposition of “gender ideology” in schools.

Bible in hand, she kneels down, closes her eyes and prays for her country.

happy farmer

Farmer Carlos Alberto Moresco, 47, says he is far from “idolating” Bolsonaro. You won’t find any campaign posters for the incumbent on his farm, Fazenda Onca.

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But the facts speak for themselves, he says: Bolsonaro has been the best president in recent history for Brazil’s agribusiness, opening up new markets in Asia and investing in infrastructure that has helped boost exports. .

“He was very smart in choosing his ministers. Our (former) agriculture minister (Tereza Cristina) was an agricultural engineer,” says Moresco, who grows corn and soybeans on the 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) ) that he rents out of the mid-west farm. town of Luciania.

He is also a supporter of the Bolsonaro administration’s program to regularize the land titles of more than 350,000 farmers without legal deeds.

“He gave dignity to these people who were barely getting by. Today, with title deeds to their land, they can take out loans and cultivate with dignity,” he says.

“When someone is true to my values ​​and principles, I’m true to them. Our president values ​​rich and poor alike, which is why I say he deserves four more years.”

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