Brazil: after the violence, what future awaits Bolsonarismo?

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Brazilian democracy has come under severe attack from radical supporters of defeated far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro, who sacked the seat of public power a week after leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva came to power . What is the future of “bolsonarismo”?

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With the military resisting calls from Bolsonaro supporters asking a coup Against newly elected Lula, and governors and lawmakers aligned with the president, institutions stood firm and withstood Sunday’s onslaught.

Wednesday calls for new ‘mega rally to take back power’ they had no answerwhich suggested a possible weakening of the so-called “Bolsonarismo”.

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But analysts warn it the threats did not pass.

The mass arrests of more than 1,000 people for alleged participation in the riots and the firing of high-ranking officials on charges of complicity in violent protests, it might have put people off return to the square.

“I think it would be an error they think they’ve given up completely,” said analyst Michael Shifter, a senior partner at the Inter-American Dialogue think tank in Washington DC.

a polarized country

“The country is still highly polarized and I don’t think the absence of the ‘bolsonarists’ less than a week after January 8 should be interpreted as a country united in defense of democracy,” he summed up.

A little more than a third of the 156 million voters The Brazilians elected Bolsonaro in the presidential elections in October, in which Lula won by less than two points percentage points in the second round, after a visceral electoral campaign that divided the country, even pitting loved ones against each other.

“Cattle, Bible and Bullet”

on one side, millions despise the ultraconservative Bolsonaroally of the so-called “cattle, bible and bullet” bench, for his intolerance, his chaotic handling of the covid-19 pandemic and his positions in favor of mining and the economic exploitation of the Brazilian Amazon.

On the other, Lula, the most popular politician in contemporary Brazilian history, is looked upon with contempt after his image was tarnished by a corruption scandal involving him and the leaders of his Workers’ Party (PT) and which landed him behind bars for 580 days, a sentence which was overturned by procedural failures.

Many followers of Bolsonaro They blindly believe the disinformation circulating on social networks, sometimes promoted by the former president himself, about alleged flaws in the Brazilian voting system. In their eyes, Lula is an illegitimate leader who plans to “Venezuelanize” Brazil.

The way Bolsonaro lost “speaks a lot the latent potential for disturbances‘ said Mariano Machado, of risk analyst firm Verisk Maplecroft.

“The coup sentiment isn’t in the majority, but that doesn’t mean it’s residual,” he says.


The Invasion of the Presidential Palace, Congress and the Supreme Court”it was a warninga big warning that we need to be more careful,” Lula reflected on Thursday.

“We won the election by defeating Bolsonaro, but there is ‘bolsonarism’ and there is a fanatical “bolsonarismo” which is very difficult why he respects no one“, He added.

Lula suspects the protesters who looted the heart of power in Brasilia They had internal help.

Guilherme Casaroes, of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, argued that the response of the Lula government and the authorities in general, with mass arrests, increased security and the possibility of legally classifying the actions as “terrorist”, could dampen spirits. pursuing violent opposition.

“Of course there will still be much smaller groups betting on terrorist actions,” Casaroes said.

Most, however, have to “return to their homes hoping to elect Bolsonaro in 2026. As is happening in the United States,” where hundreds of Donald Trump supporters invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, “they will migrate to a more moderate leader,” he said, referring to Republican Ron DeSantis, Florida governor, who stands out as an alternative policy to Trumpism, according to some observers.

One potential risk is turning Bolsonaro into a martyr ordering his arrest or extradition from the United States, where he has been since leaving the country two days before the end of his term, Casaroes said.

“The struggle continues”

The sociologist Geraldo Monteiro, co-author of the book “Bolsonarismo: Teoría y Práctica”, believes that the movement it does not have “sufficient capacity for a counteroffensive”.

“Most ‘Bolsonarists’ are ordinary peopleThey are not made for fighting. (…) This movement doesn’t have enough experience to go forward,” he told her.

For Shifter, however, “the movement is still ongoing” and Brazil should expect “demonstrations and protests, and some violence, with less intensity. I don’t think this will disappear”.

Many “waiting” to see what about Bolsonarosays the analyst.

“That doesn’t mean they’ve decided it’s not worth fighting for.” Highlighting the most radical, Shifter noted, “I think the fight has begun. They will fight another day“.

The author is an AFP journalist


Source: Clarin

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