Calling it regarding Brazil

There has been quite a bit of talk about an imminent coup in Brazil in Far Right corners. The mainstream media is still almost entirely silent. Skynews had a short article dismissing some claims, but you know the saying about stopped clocks being right twice a day don’t you? Well…

They have rightfully commented on the massive protests going on every day for more than a month now, which have received little mainstream media coverage. Certain Far Right figures have actually gone to Brazil and are witnessing events unfold first hand.

Bolsonaro coming far closer in the official count than any polls predicted as well as Right-wing candidates doing very well in the congressional elections have made the chances that Lula is prevented from coming to power far more likely.

The Supreme Federal and Supreme Electoral court authorities’ heavy-handed methods against protesters and recently parliamentarians seems to be increasing polarization.

This makes for interesting comparisons with Trump’s disputed loss in 2020. In Trump case the Supreme Court leaned more Right but it was also more cautious and timid and Trump was still somewhat off an outsiders to mainstream Conservatism. More importantly, the Supreme Court doesn’t have the same hands on role in certifying elections the supreme electoral court in Brazil has.

Brazil’s powerful and active court leans Left however and actively undermines Bolsonaro and supports Lula. But the Supreme courts in Brazil are even more controversial than the Supreme Court in the USA. All 3 branches of government have been at each other’s throats for years and distrust amongst the population is high.

Unlike Trump, Bolsonaro has had more clear allies for his claims against Lula in congress. He also has more support within the business community than some thought a couple of months back. They thought support from establishment sectors for a military coup (similar to the one in 1964) were lacking. They were wrong. And heavy-handed crackdowns on business leaders by the Supreme Court may not have helped things either.

Skynews referenced Dr Vinicius de Carvalho, director of the Brazil Institute at Kings College London, who dismissed footage posted in the Far Right circles which had been filmed by Brazilian citizens and showed military vehicles being driven across the streets while the citizens applauded it as the buildup to a coup. He asserted that it was nothing out of the ordinary, just military vehicles being moved as usual.

They didn’t comment however on the fact that General Girão Monteiro, the general in charge of the reserve army has tweeted against the Supreme Court’s decisions and said that invoking article 142 (the article referenced by Far Right fringe circles) is not anti-democratic. General Augusto Heleno secretary of institutional security has said he doesn’t accept the election results either. Isn’t it stupid for them to say these things if they will allow Lula to become president?

The overthrowal of the democratically elected Marxist in Peru may not have helped Lula. His decision to invite Venezuela’s disputed Far Left president to his inauguration may also have been rather tactless.

Constitutional democracy does not have the same status or meaning in Brazil as it does in the USA. Military intervention is part of its history which carries a mixed legacy. Military intervention is not unthinkable by definition.

Brazil neither has a two-party system or what populists would call a uniparty system. Rousseff was successfully impeached and Lula at least temporarily convicted. Bolsonaro did not face the same kinds of obstacles from the establishment that Trump did. The military is hostile to the Workers’ Party rather than supportive off it.

Bolsonaro refused to concede after the election but rather quickly seemed to allow a transition. Had he discovered very quickly that a self-coup (or counter-coup depending on your point of view) wasn’t possible? Or was he letting his supporters doing the challenging without making himself look like an obstinate sore loser? Was he creating a false sense of security? Unlike Trump, he retreated completely from the public eye, except for military ceremonies where he recently appointed new generals. Will we watch a grandplan unfold this month?

Ramon Giralt

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