Brazil's far-right presidential contender gets soft drink named after him

Guardian Web |

Brazil’s extreme rightwing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro might not seem an obvious mascot for a fizzy drink: he has praised the country’s military dictatorship, said his children could never have been gay because they were too well-educated, and told a leftist lawmaker congresswoman that she was “too ugly to be raped”.

But a Brazilian company has named a new energy drink the “Bolsomyth” – “Bolsomito” in Portuguese – after the controversial Rio de Janeiro lawmaker.

Bolsonaro, a former army officer, is polling second after former president Luiz Inácio da Silva before October’s election.

Related: Brazil's right on the rise as anger grows over scandal and corruption

His supporters see him as an outsider who can clean up Brazil’s notoriously corrupt governing class, and across Brazil he is regularly greeted by crowds who chant: “Myth! Myth!” (“mito” in Portuguese).

Hence the name of the energy drink.

“What is the objective of the Bolsamito? Nothing more than to sell,” said Fabio da Silva of Open Creative, the company behind the product. Da Silva and his partner Frederico Michel both share many of Bolsonaro’s ideals and believe he could be Brazil’s Donald Trump.

“Trump is doing an excellent job. That is the job we want in Brazil. And the only name that represents that is Jair Bolsonaro,” Michel said.

Bolsonaro’s representative did not reply to requests for comment.

The military dictatorship he defends imprisoned and tortured thousands of its opponents, including Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla and Lula’s successor as Workers’ party president. Hundreds more were executed or disappeared.

On voting for Rousseff’s impeachment in a rowdy Congress session in 2016, Bolsonaro dedicated his vote to the late Colonel Carlos Alberto Ustra, who ran the Brazilian intelligence agency in São Paulo from 1970 through 1974. Ustra denied he had practised torture, but former prisoners have countered that claim with gruesome details.

Michel said he admired Bolsonaro’s economic proposals and said the only people that suffered under the dictatorship were those who “held communist ideals”.

“It is efficient marketing,” said Michel. “It’s that old phrase: ‘They talk well, they talk badly, but they talk about me.’”

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