If, back in 2018, a screenwriter were to have written a film treatment describing the last three years in Brazilian politics, it would have been thrown out as farcical, exaggerated trash. Even the country’s famous telenovelas, with their ham-fisted drama, would have written the story of Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency with more restraint, class, and humanity.
Since Mr. Bolsonaro was sworn in as president, Brazil’s political sphere has bounced from crisis to crisis involving — but not exclusive to — members of the federal government.
There is a scandal for all tastes in Bolsonaro’s Garden of Delights, from the government’s macabre mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic — which has claimed almost half a million deaths in the country — to the more banal and downright ludicrous suggestion that Mr. Bolsonaro’s 2018 opponent Fernando Haddad had distributed baby bottles with penis-shaped teats to pre-schools and creches in the city of São Paulo.
Looking at our own parody of Hieronymus Bosch, in the foreground, we have Mr. Bolsonaro’s three politician sons: from left to right, Carlos, Eduardo, and Flávio. While all three have played a significant role in their father’s government, it is the former, Carlos Bolsonaro, who is perhaps the most confusing presence.
Unlike his brothers, Carlos is not a federal politician, instead holding office as a city councilor in Rio de Janeiro. That, however, has not stopped him from working closely with his father as an unofficial aide, as well as serving as commander of the Bolsonarista social media army.
Together with a close group of government advisors in Brasília, Carlos has worked to orchestrate a network of pro-Bolsonaro profiles and groups on social media platforms, directing attacks toward opponents and attempting to control the online narrative.
In the background, we see a lake surrounded by a series of structures, including a central shrine to the infamous penis-shaped baby bottle. To the top left, a memorial to the government’s coronavirus pandemic response. Vaccines are shunned, and instead, ruling above all, is the antimalarial drug chloroquine — touted by President Bolsonaro as a potential cure for Covid-19, but which has no proven efficacy against the disease.
Indeed, there are too many scandals to list here. Can you spot them all?