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Letters to the Editor: Is the U.S. exporting far-right authoritarianism to Brazil?

A supporter of Brazil's former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro is confronted by a phalanx of police in riot gear.
A supporter of Brazil’s former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro is confronted by police after rioters stormed government buildings in Brasilia on Sunday.
(Eraldo Peres / Associated Press)
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To the editor: In some ways, I can’t think of a more perfect state than Florida for former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to deposit himself. After all, it’s the current home of an autocratic ex-U.S. president and a cunning authoritarian-in-waiting.

However, we should be outraged that Donald Trump’s political soulmate from the tropics has taken up residence in the U.S., and that Stephen K. Bannon has advised Bolsonaro on how to undermine Brazil’s elections by disseminating lies. Sound familiar?

The United States has long been viewed as the world’s greatest democracy. Clearly, the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection showed that our democracy is actually fragile.

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The fact that the Brazilian political establishment showed unity and came together to protect their precious democracy is in stark contrast to the past and present complicit behavior of congressional Republicans. That’s scary and shameful.

Ramona Salinas Saenz, Alhambra

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To the editor: The recent insurrections in Brazil, Germany and the U.S. are one response to this period of wide-scale and rapid change. And when change happens too fast, people can get disoriented as the norms upon which they’ve set up their societies and personal lives are upset.

People might resort to two ineffective ways to deal with major change. They can deny the new realities and continue as before, or they can fight the change and attack anyone (such as scientists) who try to offer rational ways of adapting, as if a show of force can negate new realities. This is what Bolsonaro did with the pandemic and climate change, worsening both problems for his country and the world.

Another course is to examine and learn about the changes and create rational ways to adjust. This can be a hard sell when demagogues speak loudly and boldly, spreading fear and hatred to promote their simplistic solutions.

The insurrectionists with their divisive and misinformed ideas are the real problem, obstructing rational thought and keeping us from learning and adapting. As H.G. Wells wrote, “Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe.”

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Steven Perez, Santa Monica

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To the editor: I would wager that even Trump, as evil as he is, had no concept just how far-reaching his insidious influence could be.

Kerry Burnside, La Habra

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To the editor: After reading about Bolsonaro living in Florida, I do not understand why Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn’t shipped him off to New York or Washington.

Arnold Shane, La Quinta

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