Approaching 70 years old, economist Paulo Guedes had little to no experience in the public sector when he decided to sell his ideas for the Brazilian economy to a presidential candidate most pundits disregarded as a joke: the far-right former Army captain Jair Bolsonaro. The “marriage” between the pair — which the latter likes to call it — bore immediate fruits for both men. Mr. Bolsonaro could credibly champion an ultra-libertarian economic platform, while Mr. Guedes lent his credentials as a bonafide financial market operator to a would-be president who struggled to understand or explain even most basic macroeconomic concepts.
Interestingly, Jair Bolsonaro was not Mr. Guedes’ first choice — he had reportedly tried to convince famous TV presenter Luciano Huck into running for president, using his economic plan. His favored pretender decided against going into politics, so Mr. Guedes turned to the outspoken far-right candidate, who would eventually go on to win the presidency.
Make no mistake: Mr. Guedes had a crucial role in presenting Mr. Bolsonaro as a palatable candidate for the country’s business elites.