Brazilian Musician Caetano Veloso Pens 'New York Times' Op-Ed About 'Dark Times' in His Country

Caetano Veloso
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Caetano Veloso performs live on stage with the tour Ofertorio at Espaco das Americas on May 25, 2018 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Brazilian musician and political activist Caetano Veloso has published an op-ed in the New York Times about the possible breakdown of democracy his home country is facing. A two-time Grammy winner, Caetano rose to prominence through participating in the Tropicalismo artistic movement at the beginning of the military dictatorship that Brazil (the fourth-largest democracy in the world) operated under in the 1960s.

In the editorial, titled "Dark Times Are Coming for My Country," Caetano writes about the populist right-wing conservatism influencing Brazilian politics, and claims that Brazilians "can expect a wave of fear and hatred" if projected election winner Jair Bolsonaro becomes president. The election is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 28. 

"Like other countries around the world, Brazil is facing a threat from the far right, a storm of populist conservatism," Caetano says. "Our new political phenomenon, Jair a former army captain who admires Donald Trump but seems more like Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines’ strongman. Mr. Bolsonaro champions the unrestricted sale of firearms, proposes a presumption of self-defense if a policeman kills a “suspect” and declares that a dead son is preferable to a gay one."

Caetano goes on to provide background information about the decline of Brazilian political life in recent years, the impact of the news media on Bolsonaro's success, and his history of artistic activism. Caetano spent time in prison for his political beliefs, along with other artists, students, and intellectuals. 

Caetano finishes the piece by expressing that he was forced into exile before, but won't see that happen a second time, saying "I want my music, my presence, to be a permanent resistance to whatever anti-democratic feature may come out of a probable Bolsonaro government."

Read the op-ed in full here.