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Bolsonaro's son sparks row with bid to ban communist symbols

BRAZILIAN President Jair Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo proposed a Bill this week that would ban communist symbols including the hammer and sickle.

Mr Bolsonaro Jr said his Bill was modelled on one adopted by the Ukrainian government following the fascist-backed Maidan coup of 2014, which banned communist symbols and positive references to Soviet history or communist ideology.

The Ukrainian government has since outlawed the Communist Party there and prevented it from standing in elections.

The Brazilian Bill would see prison terms of between nine and 15 years for those flouting the ban — an incendiary proposal in a country where the Communist Party of Brazil (PCDoB) has a parliamentary presence and runs one state as well as scores of towns and cities.

The bid faced immediate ridicule on social media as his accompanying tweet, which claimed to show an image of the “holodomor” – a Ukrainian term for the famine that took place in the 1930s following the collectivisation of Soviet agriculture — actually carried a photograph of victims of the Bengal famine in British-ruled India in the 1940s.

The proposal reflects intensifying anti-communism in Brazil, where Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo publicly speculated that Covid-19 “could be a global project to transform the world into a concentration camp and impose communism via the ‘comunavirus’.” Mr Bolsonaro Jr himself provoked Chinese demands for an apology after he slammed the country as a “dictatorship” in March and blamed it for causing the global pandemic. 

The PCDoB is a strong critic of the Bolsonaro government’s lack of action over Covid-19, with Maranhao state, which is governed by the party, recently announcing that it had been forced to conduct a “war operation” to obtain ventilators from China via Ethiopia. It said the United States had obstructed delivery of medical equipment to certain Latin American countries, and that even the Brazilian government could not be trusted not to prevent its arrival.

It is among nine north-eastern states that announced an alliance in spring called In Favour of Life that announced co-ordinated efforts to combat the spread of the virus in the absence of any national leadership.

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