David Biller, Bloomberg, July 31, 2018
Jair Bolsonaro, a favorite in the Brazilian presidential race, said his country owed blacks no debt because of slavery and pledged to cut back affirmative action policies.
“What debt of slavery? I never enslaved anyone in my life,” the former Army captain said in an interview on TV Cultura late on Monday. “Look, if you really look at history, the Portuguese didn’t even step foot in Africa. The blacks themselves turned over the slaves.”
Bolsonaro, who leads opinion polls that exclude the imprisoned Lula, said quotas are unfair and pit Brazilians against each other.
Brazil was one of the last large economies to abandon slavery in 1888, and it imported more slaves than any other nation. Roughly half of the country’s 210 million inhabitants consider themselves black or dark-skinned, according to the national statistics institute.
During the TV interview, the 63 year-old congressman denied that the 1964 military takeover was a coup and said that alleged incidents of torture during the 21 years of dictatorship were mostly fabricated. He also said that U.S. President Donald Trump has had an “excellent administration” in reducing the tax burden and recovering employment.
“We can’t continue with this social democracy here in Brazil,” Bolsonaro said.