Olavo de Carvalho, Bolsonaro’s Right-wing Guru, Dies at 74

Olavo de Carvalho, a Brazilian far-right and far-right philosopher who became President Jair Bolsonaro’s political expert when he warned of a globalizing conspiracy to spread communism around the world , passed away Monday outside Richmond, Va. He was 74 years old.

His family said he died at the hospital but did not disclose the cause. According to reports, he has been dealing with various illnesses for several months.

Nine days before his death, a social media account connected to Mr. de Carvalho announced that he had been diagnosed with Covid. Throughout the pandemic, he has openly questioned the legitimacy of the virus, sometimes claiming it was an invention aimed at controlling populations.

“One of the greatest thinkers in the history of the country has left us today,” Bolsonaro said in a statement. “Olavo is a giant in the fight for freedom and a beacon for millions of Brazilians.” Bolsonaro declared a day of national mourning, ordering government buildings to fly the Brazilian flag at a height of half a foot.

Over the past decade, Mr. de Carvalho, known simply as Olavo, has become one of the most prominent voices behind the burgeoning far-right movement in Brazil. He amassed hundreds of thousands of social media followers by spreading bizarre conspiracy theories and against leftists, news media and politically correct people, often swearing and smoking pipe.

In the process, he became one of Brazil’s most negative figures. Many on the left criticize him as a dangerous conspiracy theorist who spreads lies and ill-advised actions – and on the right hails him as a truth-teller who warns about the grave dangers of socialism and globalism.

His reputation as a political mastermind was forged in 2018 with the election of Mr Bolsonaro, a tenacious former army captain who has publicly praised Mr. de Carvalho’s teachings. In his first speech to the nation, Mr. Bolsonaro placed several books on the table in front of him, including the Bible, the Brazilian constitution and Mr. de Carvalho’s 2013 bestseller, “The Minimum You Need.” know not to be a fool. ”

“People started seeing him as a kind of Rasputin,” said Camila Rocha, a political science professor at the University of São Paulo who has studied Brazil’s far-right rise. Mr. de Carvalho has become an almost mystical hero in some corners of Brazilian politics, she said. “He is not a traditional political figure. Completely opposite “.

In Brazil, Mr. de Carvalho is often compared to Steve Bannon, the right-wing thinker who helped lead Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and once called Mr. de Carvalho “one of the greatest conservative intellectuals in the world.” During Mr. Bolsonaro’s first visit to the United States as president, he hosted a dinner at the Brazilian ambassador’s residence. Sitting on the left is Mr. Bannon. Sitting to his right was Monsieur de Carvalho.

Mr. de Carvalho has expanded his influence through an online philosophy course he designed to counter the rise of what he calls “cultural Marxism,” a right-wing theory that holds Universities and scientists spread socialist values ​​through society. He said he enrolled tens of thousands of Brazilians, some of whom later helped lead the country’s government.

Ernesto Araújo, a former Brazilian foreign minister under Bolsonaro and a disciple of Mr. de Carvalho, said that Mr. de Carvalho helped create “a conservative right based on ideas and not on immediate political convenience. instantly”.

Mr. Bolsonaro “won from one idea: beat the system,” Araujo added. “This idea, in my view, would not have existed if it had not been prepared by Olavo de Carvalho.”

Mr. de Carvalho is born in Campinas, an hour’s drive north of São Paulo, on April 29, 1947. Until he was 7 years old, his mother kept him isolated at home because he had asthma, his daughter Heloísa de Carvalho said. know. She said he stopped going to school when he was 14 and taught himself a wide range of subjects through books.

He worked as a journalist and then as an astrologer before entering politics and selling his conservative worldview through books, columns and radio shows.

He moved to the United States in 2005, eventually settling in a one-story house on the outskirts of Petersburg, Va., about 20 miles south of Richmond, filled with books, rifles, paintings of generals Confederate States and an English man named Big Mac, based on a Washington Post account about his visit there in 2019. In Virginia, Mr. de Carvalho lived in obscurity, while in Brazil, protesters marched across the nation’s capital wearing T-shirts that read “Olavo is right.” .

His family says he is survived by his wife, Roxane; eight children; and 18 grandchildren.

Mr. de Carvalho remains a prominent voice in Brazil, first through his blogs and then on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. He attracts attention in part because his expertise is mixed with tortuous and sometimes gross conspiracy theories, such as the claim that Pepsi-Cola is flavored with aborted fetuses.

A Brazilian court ordered him to pay a fine for falsely claiming that a famous Brazilian musician was a pedophile. Since the beginning of the pandemic, he has repeatedly used the virus as a political tool.

In May 2020, he wrote on Twitter“Fear of a supposedly deadly virus is nothing more than a little horror story designed to frighten people and make them accept slavery as a gift from Santa Claus.”

His daughter, Heloísa, was frustrated with him by such rhetoric and had not spoken to him since 2017.

“I’m not satisfied,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “But I am not deeply sad either. I won’t lie. He has committed a lot of evil, and what he has done during this pandemic, especially in Brazil, is very serious.”

Leonardo Coelho contributed reporting.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/world/americas/olavo-de-carvalho-dead.html Olavo de Carvalho, Bolsonaro’s Right-wing Guru, Dies at 74

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