Understanding Bolsonaro’s new cash-transfer program

The new Auxílio Brasil scheme has been sold as a beefed-up version of the renowned Bolsa Família, but the initiative removes a number of important social policies which were cornerstones of the existing program

aid program bolsonaro
São Paulo residents in line for food donations. Photo: Karime Xavier/Folhapress

Since his election in 2018, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and his Economy Minister Paulo Guedes have been working on a new social welfare program that would serve as an indelible legacy of the current government. Their concern is that the world-renowned Bolsa Família cash-transfer scheme is inescapably tied to the center-left Workers’ Party and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the Bolsonaro administration could not be seen lauding the program for fears that it would improve the image of the president’s biggest political nemesis.

The solution came this month, with the announcement of Auxílio Brasil (Brazil Aid),...

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