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RIO DE JANEIRO — It’s probably the most recognizable soccer jersey out there: canary yellow with a bright green trim. Brazil has worn it throughout five of his World Cup title record. But at home, the national colors have been fraught with controversy since far-right President Jair Bolsonaro adopted them as the emblem of his brand of nationalist politics.
Bolsonaristasas the president’s supporters are known, they wear the shirts and wrap themselves in the Brazilian flag in marches and rallies in support of their religious conservative, anti-LGBTQ and pro-gun rights messages.
Bolsonaro played down the coronavirus pandemic and oversaw a devastating death toll from COVID-19. He slashed Amazon protections that led to record deforestation. And he has tried to challenge the election results after the electoral authorities declared victory last month for his rivalpresident-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
In Brazil, the yellow jersey has become the equivalent of the red MAGA hat worn by supporters of Bolsonaro’s ally, former President Donald Trump.
Soccer fan Vanessa Morales says she just can’t use the SelectionThe jersey during the World Cup this year.
“I’m not going to wear green or yellow,” she says, not wanting to be confused with Bolsonaro supporters. She will wear her local equipment flamencoInstead, the red and black jersey. “It is difficult for a [political] The match ended up dominating our shirt”.
But he says that hopefully, when Lula takes office in January, more Brazilians will be donning the national soccer jersey again.
recovering the yellow
Supporters of President-elect Lula have been selling their own version of the national jersey in bright yellow and green. It has a small photo of Lula on the front and a 13 — your choice candidate number – in the back.
Vendor Renato Monteiro says he has sold 20,000 of the T-shirts to Lula voters in the past two months.
“They are buying it because Bolsonaro thought the symbol was his, but in reality it was not his, it belonged to the people. We rescued the symbol of our homeland,” he says from his small stall at a weekend open-air market in Rio. de janeiro.
The Brazilian soccer confederation, CBF, is neutral on the political front, but launched a campaign encourage citizens to unite around the jersey and the team. And one of the largest beer companies in the country, Brahmais urging Brazilians to wear it during the World Cup.
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In a country where soccer is practically a religion, perhaps there will come a time when Brazilians can forget what divides them and unite under one color, yellow.
Thursday is their first opportunity in the 2022 World Cup to do so, as Brazil plays Serbia in Doha at 2 p.m. EST (4 p.m. Brasilia time).