The Wonderful World of Jair Bolsonaro

What will be the trademark gestures and symbols of Brazil's next president

Úrsula Passos
São Paulo
Alex Kidd

We review the stylesymbols and gestures that defined Bolsonaro's campaign and that should be sticking around in the next four years

Going at it live
After his stabbing attack on Sept. 6th, Bolsonaro couldn't do rallies or any canvassing anymore, so he strengthened his already heavy online campaign, by engaging with supporters through several live sessions on Facebook.

Finger guns...
Without a tripod to handle as a pretend machine gun, the candidate makes a finger gun gesture, even after his surgery after being stabbed; the sign went viral among his supporters.

... and other gestures
The campaign also had a heavy presence of sign language interpreters during Bolsonaro's Facebook Lives, and sometimes his wife Michelle would be the interpreter

A clear shtick
You don't have to be a gifted comedian to catch a couple of Bolsonaro's many interjections in order to make a fairly good impression of him

Green and yellow aesthetics
Bolsonaro was wearing a yellow and green t-shirt when he was stabbed. The t-shirt became a favorite item among his supporters.

"Thug Life sunglasses
Bolsonaro is often associated with an internet meme where dark pixelated sunglasses fall into someone's face after the person said or done something particularly smart or funny.

Polo Jacket
To hide his colostomy bag, the candidate adopted Polo Ralph Lauren jackets in the colors beige and navy blue.

Short-sleeve shirts
Sometimes Bolsonaro chooses a more casual style of clothing and wears short-sleeve shirts, including during his Facebook Lives.

Is that a Pollock?
During Bolsonaro's Facebook Lives, people could see behind his usual set an abstract painting done in the "dripping" style, established by American artista Jackson Pollock (1912-1965).

Jiu-jitsu guys
Bolsonaro's surrogate and PSL leader Gustavo Bebianno holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu; last week, the president-elect received a honorary belt from Robson Gracie, a member of the most traditional family of jiu-jitsu fighters in the country.

More country than samba
With the support of Brazilian country music artists and the stance that tax breaks for cultural projects should go to "old school" music styles, it's a safe bet that country music will be a huge part of the Bolsonaro administration soundtrack

Bolsonaro's office in the House houses collections of toys, action figures, trophies, images of saints, photo murals and portraits of the Brazilian presidents during the military dictatorship

Scholarly support
Right-wing philosopher Olavo de Carvalho not only endorses Bolsonaro, but his books and ideas are popular with the future president and his supporters; so much that Bolsonaro would have Carvalho's books visible during his online sessions

Military rhetoric
Bolsonaro cherishes Army symbols. His campaign slogan "Brasil Above Everything, God Above All" is the rallying cry of the Brazilian Army's Parachute Brigade. The president is also fond of saying "Mission given, mission accomplished," a popular catchphrase among servicemen.

After Folha reported that businessmen blasted WhatsApp messages against PT, Bolsonaro's supporters claimed that themselves spread the messages, and posted photos ironically alluding to the suspected slush fund money to fund the message blasts operation.

The truth shall set you free

Since the beginning, the campaign has had clear religious undertones. Bolsonaro is Catholic, but his wife and some of his surrogates, like Silas Malafaia and Magno Malta, are evangelical pastors. Prayers and Bible quotes are common. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” from John 8:32, is his favorite passage.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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