Brazil under Bolsonaro

Since taking office on January 1, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has unleashed a whirlwind of activity. But the jury is still out as to whether they amount to profound change or simply confusion.

Having promised to cut back spending, roll back the bloated state and implement deep societal reforms such as liberalizing access to guns, Mr. Bolsonaro, has wasted no time in living up to his nickname of the “Tropical Trump.” He has announced a tax reform that was denied by his chief of staff, a plan to reform the country’s pension system that contradicts his Economy Minister’s plan and a proposal to host a US military base in Brazil that the US and Brazil's military expressed little interest in. That comes after two inaugural speeches in which, as the newsweekly Veja put it, “he did not list priorities, forgot to talk of the fight against inequality, Brazil’s gravest ill, and didn’t even mention the mother of all reforms, pensions.” And for good measure, according to daily Folha de Sao Paulo, he sent 70% more tweets in his first seven days in power than the US President did in his first week.