(Reuters) - Brazilian right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro has stirred controversy with comments denigrating women, gay, black and indigenous people that have landed him in court but not erased his early polling lead in the country’s October election.
His pledges to crack down on crime and corruption have made the former army captain Brazil’s most popular politician after former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is serving a prison sentence for corruption.
The following are among Bolsonaro’s more controversial comments:
- During 2016 impeachment proceedings against former leftist President Dilma Rousseff, who was jailed and tortured during Brazil’s military dictatorship in the 1970s, Bolsonaro dedicated his vote to the colonel who tortured her.
- In 2003, Bolsonaro pushed a congresswoman and told her: “I would never rape you because you do not deserve it.” He repeated the comment in 2014 in the chamber and as a result is facing trial for inciting rape.
- On a radio program in 2016, Bolsonaro said the error of the dictatorship had been “to torture and not to kill.” Brazil’s national truth commission found that 440 people died under the 1964-85 military rule, of which 210 disappeared without trace.
- Brazil’s public prosecutor charged Bolsonaro last month with inciting discrimination against black people, indigenous people, women and gays in public comments he has made, including “If I see two men kissing in the street, I will hit them.”
- At an event last year in Rio de Janeiro, he said having a daughter, his fifth child after four boys, was a “weakness.”
- “I would not be able to love a gay son. I would rather he die in an accident,” he told Playboy magazine in 2011.
- Speaking last year about communities of descendants of escaped slaves, who are protected by Brazil’s social programs, Bolsonaro suggested the state was wasting money: “They do nothing! I don’t think they even serve for reproduction.”
- Bolsonaro has criticized Brazil’s biggest trading partner. In an interview with Reuters last year, he said: “China is taking over Brazil and that is worrying. They are investing in mining, agriculture, energy, ports and airports.”
Reporting by Lais Martins and Anthony Boadle, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien