Jair Bolsonaro and the case of the smuggled diamonds

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Recent revelations regarding former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s attempt to smuggle jewelry for his wife have again put the controversial politician and his family in the spotlight. While Mr. Bolsonaro is no stranger to controversy, this latest incident only adds to the long list of bizarre and suspicious situations in which he and his family seem to find themselves.

In 2021, members of the Bolsonaro administration attempted to smuggle a jewelry case given to Mrs. Bolsonaro by the government of Saudi Arabia, containing a necklace, a watch, cufflinks, a pen, and diamonds — valued at more than USD 3.17 million.

A Brazilian delegation, led by Brazil’s former mines and energy minister, returned from Saudi Arabia in October 2021 with the case. The delegation did not log it as an official gift to the Brazilian government (which would make the jewelry government property), nor did the minister’s aide who was carrying the items declare them to customs.

From fishing for coins in presidential fountains to questionable financial transactions, Mr. Bolsonaro and his family seem to have a knack for attracting trouble. It’s almost as if they are magnets for scandal and drama, always finding themselves embroiled in the latest controversy.

What is particularly disturbing about this latest incident is Mr. Bolsonaro’s response. Instead of owning up to his actions, he denied any wrongdoing and blamed others. This response is unfortunately all too familiar, as Mr. Bolsonaro has a long history of deflecting blame and avoiding responsibility for his actions.

But while it may be tempting to dismiss the former president’s behavior as comical or absurd, the truth is that his actions have real consequences. The scandals and controversies surrounding him and his family have damaged Brazil’s reputation and undermined public trust in the government.

Moreover, Bolsonaro’s policies and rhetoric have contributed to the erosion of democratic institutions and the rise of authoritarianism in the country.

Read more: Diamond scandals are forever

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