Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (front, far left) arrived in Brazil Tuesday to attend the inauguration of President Jair Bolsonaro. (Photo: @SecPompeo/Twitter)

'You Are Courting a Fascist': Pompeo Gives Inauguration US Blessing as Brazilians Brace for 'Repugnant' Bolsonaro

"This is the least American thing a secretary of state can do. Your trip is a disgrace."

Julia Conley

While progressives, women's rights advocates, journalists, and the LGBTQ community were among the many mourning Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's inauguration on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo angered critics with a celebratory tweet congratulating the proud misogynist who has defended Brazil's former military dictatorship and vowed to crush the country's leftist opposition during his first speech as president.

Pompeo tweeted that he was "looking forward to witnessing the peaceful transfer of power in one of Latin America's strongest democracies," as international observers warned that Bolsonaro's presidency is likely to usher in a new era of fascism.

"You are courting a fascist," former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub told Pompeo on Twitter. "This is the least American thing a secretary of state can do. Your trip is a disgrace."

Others on social media criticized Pompeo's take on the event as well:

At the Huffington Post, reporter Travis Waldron wrote that Bolsonaro's presidency may well "show the world how a modern democracy collapses":

It is possible Bolsonaro will govern as a true autocrat―that he could take advantage of any small crisis to consolidate power and sweep aside democracy in a single act. He could close Congress; he could criminalize the Workers' Party and other leftist opposition parties and movements; he could criminalize dissent, protest, and the free press.

More likely is that he will govern in a manner similar to Trump, targeting the press, political opponent, and democratic institutions with a constant barrage of criticism that further erodes their credibility among his supporters and the public writ large, and has a chilling effect on legitimate opposition.

Bolsonaro has praised the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985, and said in a 1999 interview, "I am in favor of torture...And the people are in favor of it, too."

In his inaugural speech, Bolsonaro pledged to combat "the Marxist trash that has settled in educational institutions," and his administration has already appeared to begin a crackdown on the news media, with journalists' access to the inauguration severely restricted.

"The organization of the event is severely limiting media access in public buildings," reported The Republic on Tuesday. "Journalists were obligated to show up seven hours before the ceremonies were to begin in the late afternoon. According to several voicing complains on Twitter, guards are seizing items they took to feed themselves as they wait, such as apples and forks because allegedly they are a risk."

"One of his most influential supporters has called journalists 'the biggest enemies of the people' and in comments reminiscent of Trump's repeated attacks on the media, Bolsonaro singled out Folha for particular ire and threatened to review the government's budget for media spending," wrote Andrew Downie of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ahead of the inauguration.

Bolsonaro has expressed admiration for Trump while the U.S. president spoke of "a strong commitment to work side-by-side" after the new Brazilian leader was elected last fall. The alliance, further demonstrated by Pompeo's whitewashing of the inauguration, has provoked outrage and fear among progressives in Brazil, the U.S., and around the world.

"Bolsonaro has modeled his ascent to power on the rise of Trump, whose own victory was built on years of democratic erosion. Trump, too, was merely a symptom of a larger disease, a product of declining faith among Americans in their democratic institutions," wrote Waldron.

But as Steven Levitsky, Harvard political scientist and author of How Democracies Die, told the Huffington Post, "Bolsonaro can do things in Brazil, potentially, that Trump can't do, because Brazilian institutions...are nowhere near as strong as they are in the United States."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

New Climate Study Predicting More Rain Than Snow in the Arctic 'Rings Alarm Bells'

"There are huge ramifications of these changes," said the lead researcher, "all of which have implications on wildlife populations and human livelihoods."

Jessica Corbett ·


Durbin Introduces Amendment to End 'Legacy of Cruelty' by Closing Guantánamo

"It's time at long last to face reality and... close the detention facility at Guantánamo. Let's put this dark chapter behind us once and for all."

Brett Wilkins ·


As Executives Hike Prices, US Corporations Rake in Biggest Profits Since 1950

"Prices are high," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, "because corporations are raising them—so they can keep paying themselves with ever-larger executive bonuses and stock buybacks."

Jake Johnson ·



47 Groups Urge Congress to Avert 'Human Rights Failure' by Blocking Biden's Saudi Arms Sale

"The Biden administration in its very first weeks committed both to center human rights in foreign policy and to end U.S. complicity in the war in Yemen. Allowing this sale to stand breaks that commitment."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo