Earlier this week, Brazil’s Education Minister Ricardo Vélez-Rodríguez sparked outrage when he sent a letter requesting public schools to film their students singing the national anthem before class. To make matters worse, the letter ended with the slogan chosen by Jair Bolsonaro during the 2018 campaign: “Brazil above everything, God above everyone.” The letter was received poorly by the Brazilian public, not just for its crass jingoism, but because the minister’s request was illegal on a number of levels.
Firstly, children cannot be filmed without the express consent of their parents. Moreover, using campaign slogans in government documents is also forbidden. What was perhaps most jarring was seeing the Brazilian government engaging in initiatives reminiscent of anti-democratic regimes such as Nicolás Maduro’s, in Venezuela—to which the Bolsonaro administration is strongly opposed.