Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro Defends ‘God, Fatherland, Family’ in London Balcony Speech

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and his wife Michelle Bolsonaro pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II's flag-draped coffin lying in state on the catafalque at Westminster Hall on September 18, 2022 in London, England. Members of the public are able to pay respects to …
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Conservative President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro addressed a crowd of countrymen assembled in London on Sunday offering the United Kingdom condolences on the death of Queen Elizabeth II and reiterating the values of “God, fatherland, family, and liberty.”

Bolsonaro, who is standing for re-election in a presidential vote to be held on October 2, is currently in London to attend the queen’s funeral. The president arrived on Saturday. He is the highest-profile dignitary representing Latin America at the event, as many heads of state in the region opted to send lower-ranking officials to represent them and at least two – Venezuelan socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro and Nicaraguan communist Daniel Ortega – were not personally invited.

Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8 at the age of 96, becoming the longest-reigning monarch in the history of Britain with 70 years of service. The queen’s funeral on Monday is expected to be the most-watched event in global television history and potentially one of the largest in the history of the nation.

Bolsonaro is currently staying at the residence of the Brazilian ambassador to London, where a crowd of dozens of supporters convened on Sunday to greet their president, waving the national flag. Bolsonaro appeared on the building’s balcony and delivered an impromptu speech thanking them for their presence and Britain for its hospitality.

“In a profound moment of grief, we have deep respect for the family of the queen, and for the people of the United Kingdom. This is our principal objective,” Bolsonaro said.

“And also, this manifestation on your part represents what is truly happening in Brazil. Brazil will increasingly show the world its value,” he continued. “Our flag will always be these colors we see here, green and yellow. Our slogan is ‘God, fatherland, family, and freedom!”

Bolsonaro’s primary competition in the 2022 presidential race is former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a hardline socialist with deep ties to the region’s leftist dictatorships. Lula founded Brazil’s Workers’ Party (PT), one of the most democratically successful leftist parties in South American history. The PT’s flag is red, the color that has historically represented the ideology of communism. Bolsonaro has taken to declaring at campaign stops some variation of “our flag will always be yellow and green” or “our flag will never be red,” meaning that Brazil will never be communist.

“God, fatherland, family, and freedom” has also become a common mantra among Bolsonaro supporters. The slogan has largely replaced his 2018 mantra, “Brazil above everything, God above everyone.”

Bolsonaro shared a video on Monday with a formal statement on grief to the royal family, showing the president signing the official condolence book for the queen.

“Our condolences to the family of the queen and the people of the United Kingdom. In Brazil, we vividly remember her travel there in 1968,” he said in the statement. “For everything that she represented for her country and for the world, the moment is of grief and of recognition for everything that she did for the world.”

Bolsonaro declared three days of national mourning in Brazil in the immediate moments following the announcement of Queen Elizabeth’s passing.

Lula da Silva has attempted to use the queen’s passing to disparage Bolsonaro. In remarks on Monday in which he appeared to refer to Bolsonaro as “genocidal,” da Silva claimed that no one in London wanted Bolsonaro to attend, despite his receipt of a formal invitation, and that Bolsonaro “offered himself” as a way to ingratiate himself with other world leaders.

“Nobody ever invites him to travel, nobody wants to come here [to Brazil],” Lula claimed. “He then offered himself to go to the burial of the queen of England … he went thinking he was going to meet with a lot of heads of state and yesterday he gave a speech on the balcony of the Brazilian embassy and you know what he went to criticize? The left!”

Lula shared an image of himself meeting the queen to mark her death this month.

“During our government [Lula’s presidency], the United Kingdom and Brazil had excellent diplomatic relations, policies, and commerce, marked by a state visit in which she received us in 2006,” Lula wrote.

Lula is currently the frontrunner in the Brazilian election, holding a lead of between five to ten points over Bolsonaro for much of the year. To win the October 2 election, Lula would have to receive at least 50 percent of the vote – if he does not, he and the second-place finisher, likely Bolsonaro, would face each other in a runoff election a month later.

Lula and Bolsonaro have spent much of the past month trading personal insults.

The presidential campaign season officially began in August with two fiery rallies for each candidate. During the PT event, Lula claimed that Bolsonaro was “possessed by the devil” and “trying to manipulate the good faith of Evangelical men and women who go to church to talk about their faith.” Bolsonaro is an Evangelical Christian and regularly refers to his faith in public.

Bolsonaro, on his end, has repeatedly accused Lula of alcoholism – an accusation that plagued him throughout his presidency.

“A rich country isn’t worth anything if the people choose a bandit as the president of the republic,” Bolsonaro said at an event in July. “Do you want to give the presidency of the republic to an ex-convict drunkard? What I’m saying is not an attack. It’s an observation.”

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