The moment when Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed

In this week’s issue: The most important facts of the week. Brazilian voters Googling their candidates. The unclear facts surrounding Jair Bolsonaro’s stabbing.

The week in review

  • Anti-Bolsonaro front. Former president Fernando Henrique Cardosopublished a letter asking all centrist candidates to rally around a single name to defeat far-right frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro, without mentioning who that “chosen one” would be. Later, on Twitter, Mr. Cardoso said that fellow party member Geraldo Alckmin was the one who fit the profile. The request was disdained by all candidates, however, who called it an anti-democratic move to boycott their presidential candidacies. 
  • Marielle Franco. One of the main suspects in the assassination of Rio de Janeiro councilor Marielle Franco said that she was killed by the “Office of Crime,” a group led by a former chief of the Rio special forces and made up of military policemen and ex-policemen. Due to its connections inside the police, the group is notorious for its extremely well-planned assassinations. The witness said that the crime cost BRL 200,000 – but did not say who ordered it. 
    </li> <li><strong>Interest rates.</strong><strong> </strong>The Central Bank kept Brazil&#8217;s Selic benchmark interest rate stable at 6.5%. However, the bank&#8217;s monetary policy committee said it could raise the Selic if the economic scenario deteriorates. Financial markets expect the rate to be increased to 7.5% by the end of this year.</li> <li><strong>Unemployment.</strong><strong> </strong>According to a tweet by President Michel Temer, Brazil created 100,000 net jobs in August. The Ministry of Labor, however, has no timetable to publish the official data. Almost 13m Brazilians are out of a job &#8211; the number would be bigger if we counted those who have given up looking for a job &#8211; a group that amounts to 4.8m people.</li> <li><strong>Terrorism.</strong><strong> </strong>The Federal Police arrested on Friday Lebanon-born Assad Ahmad Barakat, named by the U.S. government as a financier of Hezbollah. He was in Foz do Iguazu, a city located on the Argentina-Paraguay-Brazil border. Mr. Barakat is also accused of fraud by Paraguayan authorities.<br /> <hr /> </li> </ul> <h2>Brazilian voters Googling their candidates</h2> <p>A recent survey shows that 43% of Brazilian voters get their information on presidential hopefuls from the internet. We have analyzed data from Google Trends, which shows consistency between who are the most-googled candidates and those with the better polling numbers.</p> <p>Televised interviews still have a fantastic power to draw voters&#8217; interest (which explains Ciro Gomes&#8217; peak in Google searches on September 18, when he was interviewed by Jornal da Globo, a late night news program broadcasted on Globo, Brazil&#8217;s leading TV station).</p> <p>The states in which candidates are most searched also match where they have their best polling numbers &#8211; i.e., Fernando Haddad in the Northeast, Ciro Gomes in the state of Ceará, and Jair Bolsonaro in Minas Gerais.</p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-24576" src="" alt="google candidates" width="1200" height="800" srcset=" 1200w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px" /><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-14057" src="" alt="" width="1024" height="683" /></p> <hr /> <h2>The unclear facts surrounding Jair Bolsonaro&#8217;s stabbing</h2> <p>The Federal Police asked for an additional 15 days before presenting its official report on the investigation of Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, the 40-year-old man who stabbed<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> Jair Bolsonaro</a> in Juiz de Fora, on September 6. On Thursday, however, the marshals presented their preliminary findings to the courts. The Feds will follow two lines of inquiry: one is set to be more conservative, stating that the attacker acted alone, while the second one will try to elucidate the nebulous points of the case. And there are many of these points.</p> <ul> <li>Before stabbing Mr. Bolsonaro, Adelio Bispo attended another event at which the candidate was present, in the town of Uberaba (Minas Gerais), in October. The police are trying to determine whether he intended to attack the election&#8217;s frontrunner during this event.</li> <li>Adelio Bispo took shooting lessons in Florianópolis (Santa Catarina), just days before an event in that same shooting club with Carlos Bolsonaro &#8211; one of Mr. Bolsonaro&#8217;s sons. The Feds will investigate whether Mr. Bispo knew Carlos Bolsonaro would be going there and if he intended to attack him.</li> <li>The police have found suspicious bank transactions into Adelio Bispo&#8217;s bank accounts &#8211; the amounts are kept under wraps. Investigators also don&#8217;t know who&#8217;s paying for the attacker&#8217;s lawyers, and found out that one of his attorneys has worked for at least four members of PCC &#8211; the drug cartel that controls organized crime in São Paulo and much of Brazil.</li> </ul> <p>&#8220;Right now, no possibility is off the table,&#8221; said one of the investigators.</p> <h4>Mr. Bolsonaro&#8217;s first interview</h4> <p>Sixteen days after being stabbed, Jair Bolsonaro gave his first interview, to newspaper <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Folha de S.Paulo</em></a>. It was a short, four-minute talk over the phone, in which he defended Paulo Guedes, the ultra-neoliberal economist Mr. Bolsonaro anointed as his future &#8220;super minister&#8221; of finance.</p> <p>Mr. Guedes has been at the center of some controversy this past week, after defending the re-creation of a financial transactions tax &#8211; something very unpopular among voters. After the news broke, Mr. Bolsonaro said on Twitter that &#8220;Brazil has enough taxes,&#8221; and that we wouldn&#8217;t create a new one. Since that episode, Mr. Guedes has canceled numerous meetings with TV stations and banks in which he would represent the presidential hopeful.</p> <p>During his interview with <em>Folha</em>, Mr. Bolsonaro denied talks of a rift between him and Mr. Guedes. He also said that his top economic advisor never defended the re-creation of a new tax, but instead was misinterpreted. He was, according to the candidate, suggesting to simplify Brazil&#8217;s tax framework. &#8220;He doesn&#8217;t have political experience. If he had chosen other words, the press wouldn&#8217;t come after him like that,&#8221; said the candidate.

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BY Gustavo Ribeiro

Gustavo is the founder of The Brazilian Report, and is an award-winning journalist with experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets.