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Invitation to 'misogynistic, homophobic, anti-people' Brazilian president 'outrageous'

Counterview Desk
As many as 23 civil rights organizations and 134 individual activists and experts from different fields have taken strong exception to the Narendra Modi government making Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro the chief guest at the prestigious Republic Day parade, to take place at the India Gate in New Delhi on January, stating that he is "a threat to democratic values, indigenous people and environment."
Claiming that Bolsonaro is "not welcome by Indian people", the statement, issued by National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) says that he has been "openly homophobic, racist, made crude jokes about rape and over the time been responsible for targeting environmental and human rights NGOs" and has attacked the freedom of expression and dissent."

Text:

The Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro is on a four day visit to the country, starting January 24. He has been invited by the Indian government to be the chief guest at the 71st Republic Day celebrations.
This is a special day that we cherish and reassert the values of freedom, equality, plurality and diversity, the values enshrined in the Indian Constitution, adopted after a long fight for Independence and firmly defended by us ever since.
As we mark this day, millions across the country are on the streets protesting the divisive agenda being pushed in the name of rabid nationalism and the process of ‘othering’ being planned through new citizenship laws.
We the signatories of this letter would like to state that President Bolsonaro is the guest of the Indian State and as Indian people we are opposed to his misogynistic, homophobic and anti-people views and actions as witnessed in his term as President of Brazil.
We condemn the actions of the Brazilian President and many regressive measures he has undertaken since the time he became President in January 2019.
Bolsonaro has been openly homophobic, racist, made crude jokes about rape and over the time been responsible for targeting environmental and human rights NGOs and have attacked the freedom of expression and dissent.
He has denied climate change and changed the Brazilian environmental laws owing to his pro-business policies, and allowed Amazonian forest fires in June – August 2019 and only acted after huge international pressures. His actions have only contributed to already worsening climate crisis.
It also needs to be noted that Brazil’s Human Rights Advocacy Collective (CADHu) and the Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns Commission for Human Rights (Arns Commission) including six former government ministers are seeking to indict the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for encouraging genocide against Brazil’s indigenous people.
The briefing note to the ICC notes that since taking power in January, Bolsonaro has repeatedly denigrated Brazil’s indigenous people – comparing them to animals in zoos and “prehistoric men” – and overseen efforts to dismantle Funai, the already underfunded agency supposed to protect Brazil’s more than 300 tribes.
As part of his global neoliberal agenda, he has also pushed to open up indigenous reserves to mining companies.
As a result the living conditions and lifestyles of the indigenous peoples are being destroyed by massive river pollution and invasion of their lands by wildcat miners, loggers and land-grabbers, noting the recent 29% increase in annual deforestation – the highest rate in a decade.
Indian government is following similar anti-people policies, is promoting discrimination against minorities, attacking freedom of expression, criminalizing dissent 
Bolsonaro said after those devastating numbers emerged that Amazon fires and deforestation were cultural and would never end.
The invitation to the Brazilian President by the Government of India is outrageous too because as President, Bolsonaro has dragged India to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) dispute settlement body, contending that India’s commitments to some binding rules in WTO have been violated.
If the dispute panel upholds the complaint of Brazil (and other countries which have joined subsequently), Indian sugarcane producers’ future looks bleak. Already reeling under the agrarian crisis Indian farmers are feeling indignant that by inviting Bolsonaro as the chief guest, the Indian government appears to be giving a message to them that their lives and livelihoods do not matter much for the government.
It is no coincidence that the current BJP-led government at the centre finds common cause with the Brazilian President because on many of the issues they have similar views. The current Indian government is following similar anti-people policies, is promoting discrimination against minorities, attacking the freedom of expression and association, criminalizing dissent and weakening environmental and labour laws.
Coming together of these two similar fascist and anti-people leadership is determinantal to the progress of a progressive politics and democratic values which advocates building of mutual solidarity and people’s power.
We extend our solidarity to the struggling indigenous people of Amazonia, the Brazilian working people and the environmental and rights groups in Brazil who have been protesting against these policies of Mr Bolsonaro.
The rise of the right wing forces in our country and in Brazil is detrimental to democratic norms and we vow to continue fighting against this and build real people to people solidarity between India and Brazil.
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Click here for the names of organisations and individuals who have endorsed the statement 

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