As radical rhetoric escalates in Brazil, so does political violence

Another politically-motivated murder has shocked Brazil — once again highlighting how a decade of increasingly aggressive political language is translating into violence as the elections approach

Anti- and pro-Bolsonaro militants fight in São Paulo. Photo: Bruno Santos/Folhapress

A political argument in rural Brazil last week culminated in the murder of 42-year-old Benedito Cardoso dos Santos, a crime that shocked Brazilians. The killer, a supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro, stabbed Mr. Santos after the latter defended Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Mr. Bolsonaro’s main challenger in the upcoming elections. Then, he tried to decapitate Mr. Santos. While this is perhaps the most disturbing episode of far-right political violence in recent months, it is hardly the only one.

The electoral investigation group at the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Unirio) tallied at least 214...

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