As the 2022 Brazilian general election continues to roll on, a resurfaced video of sitting president Jair Bolsonaro bragging that he'd eat an Indigenous person's flesh has gone viral.
The video – which was uploaded to Bolsonaro’s official YouTube page in 2016 – shows the divisive politician talking to a journalist from the New York Times.
Within the lengthy interview, he claims he once visited an Indigenous community that practiced cannibalism. He alleges that the Indigenous people were about to eat a deceased member of the tribe and, if he were to continue his visit, he would also have had to take part in the cannibalism.
Bolsonaro added that the rest of his team didn't want to participate and the Indigenous group didn't want to take him alone, so he didn't engage in cannibalism in the end – but he happily would have.
“I’d eat an Indian, no problem whatsoever,” he says in the video. "It's their culture!"
The outrageous comments have now been widely shared in Brazil after being reportedly shared in an advert produced by Bolsonaro’s left-wing rival, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The Yanomami people, whom this story is alleged to be about, have hit back against Bolsonaro and claimed they have never engaged in cannibalism. Speaking to Brazilian media, they said: “We, Yanomami from Surucucu, are not cannibals, we never had that. There is no report [of it]. Neither ancestral nor current accounts.”
Along with infamously making a number of sexist and homophobic remarks, he has a long history of aiming racist insults toward Indigenous people, describing Indigenous reserves as “an obstacle to agri-business” and calling for the forced “integration” of uncontacted tribes.
As recently as 2020, he said: “The Indians are evolving, more and more they are human beings like us.”