New Brazil leader targets crime, leftwing 'ideology' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 03, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:26 AM, January 03, 2019

New Brazil leader targets crime, leftwing 'ideology'

Brazil's new far-right President Jair Bolsonaro declared a crusade against crime, corruption and leftwing ideology as he took office Tuesday for a four-year term at the helm of Latin America's biggest nation.

In his first public speech wearing the presidential sash, Boslonaro said Brazil will "start to free itself of socialism" and "political correctness," breaking with policies brought in under decades of leftist rule.

The 63-year-old former paratrooper and veteran lawmaker received swift congratulations via Twitter from US President Donald Trump, with whom he shares a similar, brash style and outlook.

"Congratulations to President @jairbolsonaro who just made a great inauguration speech - the U.S.A. is with you!" Trump wrote.

Bolsonaro responded by saying: "I truly appreciate your words of encouragement. Together, under God's protection, we shall bring prosperity and progress to our people!"

In his inauguration speech before Brazil's Congress, Bolsonaro called for "a true national pact" to restore his country's lackluster economy, "without ideological bias."

While Bolsonaro enjoys sky-high approval ratings, many in Brazil fear his nostalgia for the military dictatorship that reigned from 1964 to 1985, his hardline approach to fighting crime and his record of disparaging women and minorities could herald a harsh shake-up.

Bolsonaro has already said he will do all he can to challenge the leftist governments of Venezuela and Cuba.

In a sign of his leanings and alliances, Bolsonaro warmly welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Brazil for his inauguration, and both leaders spoke of their "brotherhood."

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