The effect of Bolsonaro’s rhetoric on Brazil’s indigenous peoples

In this new blog post, ISS professor Dorothea Hilhorst discusses newly elected Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro rhetorical tricks that turn reality upside down.

The newly elected Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has immediately started making work of his animosity towards indigenous peoples by transferring the mandate to deal with indigenous land issues to the Ministry of Agriculture that aims to put these lands to commercial use.

To justify his policies, Dorothea Hilhorst argues, Bolsonaro uses rhetorical tricks that turn reality upside down. Bolsonaro’s messages about indigenous peoples are two-layered. His tweets about the topic emphasise the need to integrate indigenous peoples into Brazilian society, pointing out that they live in isolated territories rich in natural resources that need to serve economic purposes. He couches this calculating economic attitude in patronising language, and that is not the only issue with his rhetoric.

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