Jamil Chade, on bashing Jair Bolsonaro

“It’s time to move beyond Bolsonaro bashing!”

This is an onsite, slightly edited republication of the complete G|O Briefing newsletter

Today in The Geneva Observer: I talk to my colleague Brazilian journalist Jamil Chade on the Brazilian civil society movement Movimento Preserva Brazil, launched in Geneva last Sunday.

The new movement is trying to find ways to go beyond bashing Bolsonaro, who, incidentally, won Geneva—and all other European cities except Berlin—by a landslide.

Brazilian civil society is organizing. Last Sunday, a group of Brazilians living in Switzerland launched “Movimento preserva Brasil” in Geneva. Its goal: “Defend Brazil’s democratic institutions and its constitution and promote civic engagement.” Its founding members are concerned about the current sanitary, social and economic situation in Brazil but also about the growing polarization and lack of trust between civil society and the government. I talked to journalist Jamil Chade, a supporting member of the Movimento and occasional contributor to The Geneva Observer.

Why launch in Geneva?

The Brazilian diaspora in Geneva and Switzerland massively voted in favor of Jair Bolsonaro. He won 80% of the votes, a landslide, with a combination of votes from Brazilians expats who felt the left had betrayed the small guys, the business community, pleased with Bolsonaro’s ultra-liberal economic program and the evangelical vote. The Movimento founders chose Geneva for two reasons: it is a place of dialogue and in light of the urgency of the current situation, we feel that it is time to move beyond Bolsonaro bashing, to find new paths to restore dialogue in a Brazilian society that is highly divided. For that, the opposition must first move across its divides as it wants to engage in such an important and urgent discussion. The second reason is because the Movimento’s founders and supporters think that the Swiss model of democracy could be an inspiration to go forward in Brazil and engage in a national reconciliation through dialogue.

It is a pretty ambitious agenda,isn'it?

It’s an enormous challenge and we recognize that. First, we will have to broaden the alliance beyond Geneva and Switzerland. It is a grassroot movement. But Brazilian civil society has never been so determined and so mobilized since the end of the 1964 dictatorship. It is tired of the politicians’ short-termism. It is also worried that the human rights regime as we have known it for the last 70 years is being threatened and it wants to protect it on such questions as gender equality and sexual education. That is another reason why it matters that the Movimento is born here in Geneva, the human rights capital of the world.