Author Mario Vargas Llosa backs Bolsonaro against Lula in Brazil election | Brazil

Nobel Prize-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa, Latin America’s most prominent living columnist on power and corruption, has declared a preference for Jair Bolsonaro over Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as Brazil prepares to go to the polls later this year.

The 86-year-old Peruvian writer, who also holds Spanish citizenship, shared his thoughts on the October election at a conference in Uruguay on Wednesday.

“The Bolsonaro case is very difficult,” he told an audience in Montevideo. “Bolsonaro’s antics are very difficult for a liberal to accept. But now, between Bolsonaro and Lula, of course I prefer Bolsonaro. Even with Bolsonaro’s stupidity, it’s not Lula.”

The writer, who was defeated for the Peruvian presidency in 1990 by Alberto Fujimori, said Lula was looked upon fondly in Europe despite being found guilty “of being a thief”. The controversial corruption charges that Vargas Llosa was referring to were dropped last year.

His support for Bolsonaro, however, was far from uncritical when it came to the president’s attacks on Covid vaccines. “It’s crazy, it’s absurd to oppose [them] like he did,” said Vargas Llosa. “That seems absolutely irresponsible to me.”

This is not the first time that the novelist supports a right-wing candidate. Months before the second round of last year’s presidential election in Peru, Vargas Llosa set aside decades of harsh criticism of the Fujimori political dynasty when he called on voters to support his former enemy’s daughter , Keiko, rather than his far-left opponent, Pedro Castillo. , which nevertheless prevailed.

“Peruvians should vote for Keiko Fujimori because she represents the lesser of two evils, and if she is in power, there are more possibilities to save our democracy,” he wrote in his column in El País. in Spain.

In 2009, Alberto Fujimori – whose term as president has been marked by Shining Path terrorism, economic upheaval and political corruption – was sentenced to 25 years in prison for authorizing death squads and presiding over corruption and corruption. endemic electoral fraud.

When neighboring Chile voted in its final round of presidential elections last December, Vargas Llosa backed ultra-conservative José Antonio Kast over left-wing Gabriel Boric, the eventual winner.

Political scientist Daniel V Guisado noted that the novelist had also backed unsuccessful candidates in Spain, Argentina and Bolivia in recent years. “Getting support from Vargas Llosa is the biggest political tombstone of the last century,” Guisado said. tweetedadding: “Congratulations to Lula.”

Progressive Brazilians took these comments as further proof that the author of The Time of the Hero and The Feast of the Goat had lost the plot.

“What a sad number,” tweeted political economist Filipe Campante.

“He has lost all political lucidity” agreed Lucas Paulino, a centrist anti-Bolsonaro activist from the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.

Brazilian writer Sérgio Rodrigues says the writer’s record for supporting failed candidates has made him “Don Vargas Loser”.

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Vargas Llosa, who has drifted further to the right with age, caused a stir in October last year when he said voting the right way in elections was more important than having free elections.

“Latin America will undoubtedly emerge from [a very difficult situation] when Latin Americans find out they voted wrong,” he told the national convention of Spain’s conservative People’s Party.

“The important thing in elections is not that there is freedom in these elections; it’s voting well – and voting well is something very important because countries that vote badly, as has happened in some Latin American countries, pay a high price for it.

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