Brazilian Conservative ideologue Olavo de Carvalho, who was President Jair Bolsonaro’s political guru, died on Monday night (January 24) at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, in the United States, his family said on his social media accounts. He was 74.
The Folha de S. Paulo daily newspaper reported that he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on January 15, citing a group of his followers on social media.
Carvalho was a self-promoted philosopher, author and anti-Communist political pundit who believed George Soros, Facebook and China are all part of a globalist conspiracy.
He moved to the United States in 2005 after the leftist Workers Party won the presidency, and he gave online philosophy classes to his followers in Brazil, championing individual rights and Christianity.
Carvalho questioned global warming, played down the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic and, like Bolsonaro, was a vaccine-skeptic, which got him into trouble with social media platforms for spreading fake news. PayPal blocked his account used to received donation from followers and payment for his courses.
His combative attacks on “cultural Marxism” and the growth of the state made him an icon of the Conservative movement that swept Bolsonaro to power in 2018.
“Olavo was a giant in the fight for freedom and a beacon for millions of Brazilians,” Bolsonaro posted on Twitter, calling him “one of the greatest thinkers in our country’s history.”
In recent months, as Bolsonaro made concessions to traditional centrist politicians to block impeachment attempts, Carvalho became critical of his follower, saying he had failed in the fight against Communism.
A pinned tweet on Carvalho’s social media account encapsulated his political views: “Capitalism is the godfather and protector of communism. The war is not between capitalism and communism, it is between CHRISTIANITY and communism.”
On Twitter, President Jair Bolsonaro lamented the death of the writer. “Today one of the greatest thinkers in the history of the country, philosopher and professor Olavo Luiz Pimentel de Carvalho, leaves us. Olavo was a giant in the fight for freedom and a lighthouse for millions of Brazilians. His example and his teachings will mark us forever”, wrote the president, who decreed one-day official mourning throughout the country “in sign of grief for the death of Olavo de Carvalho”.
The decree is in a special edition of the Official Gazette (DOU). During the official mourning, the national flag will be raised at half mast in all public offices. It is the second time that President Bolsonaro decrees official mourning during his term. The first was the death of former Vice President of the Republic Marco Maciel, in June last year.
In his resume, Olavo de Carvalho presents himself as “philosopher, writer, journalist and lecturer”. Carvalho says also in his resume, that from a young age he was interested in “philosophy, psychology and comparative religions”, but that “having not found, at the time, good quality university courses on the topics that were of interest to him, temporarily abdicated formal university studies and sought private professors and qualified advisors to guide him”. He did not finish the philosophy course, initiated in Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) of Rio de Janeiro.
For years, he was a scholar of astrology. Interest in the theme gained momentum from 1975, when he focused his efforts on the “study of the Liberal Arts”, which he said had “seven basic disciplines for the formation of literates in Medieval Europe: Logic, Rhetoric and Grammar, Arithmetic, Music, Geometry and Astrology”.
Astrology, by the way, was a recurrent theme among books and publications signed by him. His first book, Questions of Astrological Symbolism, was published in 1983. The last, published in 2018, was The Hysterical in Power. Letters from An Earthling to Planet Brazil.
His first job in the press was at the company Folha da Manhã before he turned 18 years old. He also worked in the newspaper A Gazeta; in the magazine Atualidades Médicas; in the weekly Aqui, São Paulo; in the Jornal da Semana, and in the Jornal da Tarde. He was a contributor in publications such as Folha de S. Paulo, Zero Hora, O Globo, Primeira Leitura and Bravo!
Carvalho received the Peacekeeper Medal from the Army Command in 1999. In 2001, he received the Santos Dumont Medal of Merit, awarded by the Brazilian Air Force Command.
Note of Regret
The Special Secretariat of Culture and the Special Secretariat of Social Communication issued a note of regret for the death of the writer. “The government of Brazil laments the loss of the philosopher and professor Olavo de Carvalho and expresses its regret and condolences to family, friends and students”, the note says.
“An uncompromising defender of freedom and a prolific writer, Professor Olavo has always argued that freedom must be lived in the depths of the individual’s conscience and in the non-negotiable honesty of a person with itself,” adds the text.
Olavo de Carvalho was born in Campinas (São Paulo) on April 29, 1947. He was the second son of the lawyer Luiz Gonzaga de Carvalho with Nicéa Pimentel de Carvalho.