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Who is Olavo de Carvalho? Posted by on Apr 13, 2019 in Brazilian News, Brazilian Profile, Economy, Learning, Politics

In the year 2018, shortly after the presidential election victory, the current Brazilian chefe de estado (Head of State) Jair Bolsonaro made his first discurso (speech) through a video posted on his social networks. On his desk you could see four books that supported his ideas during the campaign. The Brazilian constitution, Winston Churchill’s wartime memoirs, the Holy Bible, and the book “The Minimum You Need to Know Not to Be an Idiot” by Olavo de Carvalho. As a former military man with a speech based on a Catholic and economically conservative morality, the symbolic reference that the first three books on his desk hold is clear. However, next to them was the work of Olavo de Carvalho, who has been gaining notoriety both inside and outside Brazil by the conservative direita (right wing). But who is Olavo de Carvalho and what ideas does he defend?

Olavo de Carvalho [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

Little known until the middle of 2013, when the Brazilian population went out to massively protest different and also antagonistic reasons, he was a key figure to understand the ideological bases that culminated in the election of Jair Bolsonaro. The author proclaims himself to be a right-wing philosopher and his ideals are commonly embedded in conspiracy theories he calls a dominação cultural de esquerda (leftist cultural domination) project that has been underway since the mid-1960s.

Although originally not his idea, Olavo notes that the discussions between right and left ideals left the campo econômico (economic field) and migrated to the campo moral (moral field). Thus, the clashes were no longer focused on the mercado (market) and labor regulations, but on outras questões (other issues) such as direitos das minorias (minority rights) like black and LGBT populations, as well as on the legalization of drug use and University cotas (affirmative action).

For him, this change in the content of discussões políticas (political discussions) would be in line with a supposed program of cultural domination promoted by leftist political think tanks that would have become hegemonic in the mundo ocidental (Western world). The right, thus, would be losing space for what he calls Cultural Marxism.

In his version of this concept, Olavo argues that grupos políticos da esquerda (left-wing political groups) along with magnates from the capitalist world (George Soros and the Rockefellers are two of the names mentioned) and prestigious international institutions such as the UN, the European Union and the World Trade Organization have united to dominate the educational system, religious institutions and the world media, manipulating, as such, people’s way of pensar (thinking).

On Jair Bolsonaro’s recent visit to the United States, he was one of the convidados de honra do jantar (dinner honor guests) that brought together former Donald Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon, former Bush administration diplomat Roger Noriega and also a member of the New York financial market, Gerald Brant. Olavo, who currently resides in the United States, teaches online courses where he has gained more and more prominence among a conservative wing in the United States. On the other hand, his influence on the current president of Brazil led to the indicação (appointment) of friends to strategic positions in the governo (government), as is the case of Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo and the recently deposed Minister of Education, Ricardo Vélez Rodríguez. Ironically entitled the government guru, it is impossible to entender (understand) Brazilian politics nowadays without considering the papel central (major role) Olavo plays in the decisions being made in this country. What do you think?

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