Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as Brazil's president Tuesday, taking the reins of Latin America's largest and most populous nation with promises to overhaul myriad aspects of daily life and put an end to business-as-usual governing. For the far-right former army captain, the New Year's Day inauguration was the culmination of a journey from a marginalized and even ridiculed congressman to a leader who many Brazilians hope can combat endemic corruption as well as violence that routinely gives the nation the dubious distinction of being world leader in total homicides, the AP reports.
A fan of President Trump, the 63-year-old rose to power on an anti-corruption and pro-gun agenda that energized conservatives and hard-right supporters after four consecutive presidential election wins by the left-leaning Workers' Party. "Congratulations to President @jairbolsonaro who just made a great inauguration speech," Trump tweeted. "The U.S.A. is with you!" After taking the oath of office, Bolsonaro spoke to thousands of supporters, promising to "free Brazil" from socialism. He stopped at one point, pulled out a Brazilian flag and wildly waved it. "Our flag will never be red," he said, a reference to communism. "Our flag will only be red if blood is needed to keep it green and yellow." (Environmentalists warn that deforestation could surge under Bolsonaro.)