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Bolsonaro defends 200 days in power amid criticism

July 19, 2019
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro leaves after the group photo at the Mercosur Summit in Santa Fe, Argentina, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. The South American trading bloc that includes founding members Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, is one of the world's largest. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro leaves after the group photo at the Mercosur Summit in Santa Fe, Argentina, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. The South American trading bloc that includes founding members Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, is one of the world's largest. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday defended his administration’s first 200 days in power, while facing mounting criticism on issues ranging from the environment to nepotism.

During the celebratory event held in the capital of Brasilia, Bolsonaro congratulated his government for not being targeted by any corruption denunciations, omitting that a member of his own family was until recently under investigation.

Brazil’s top court decided this week to suspend an investigation into Sen. Flavio Bolsonaro, in a case involving suspect bank transactions. A court in Rio de Janeiro was looking into nearly 50 deposits made to Flavio Bolsonaro from his former driver Fabrício Queiroz in 2017. He denies any wrongdoing.

Bolsonaro’s tourism minister, Marcelo Alvario Antonio, has also been on the radar of the federal police, which arrested three of his close aides as part of a probe into the embezzlement of political funds. The minister, a member of the PSL party that brought Bolsonaro to power, is suspected of having sponsored a scheme of fake candidates in Minas Gerais state.

Bolsonaro’s central campaign promise was to crack down on widespread corruption in Latin America’s largest nation.

During Thursday’s event, he defended once again his plan to appoint another son, Eduardo, a congressman, as ambassador to the United States, praising a six-month stay in the U.S. during which he cooked hamburgers for a living.

The president also signed several decrees, one of which targets the movie industry, potentially jeopardizing its independence. The far-right Bolsonaro then alluded to possible drastic changes for Brazil’s national cinema agency.

A fierce defender of Christian values, Bolsonaro condemned films that “disrespect families,” dubbing them as activist work and said he would not allow public funding to continue to finance such productions.

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