The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Bolsonaro is increasingly desperate and it is clear what he wants

2021-09-17T22:40:06.073Z

Its objectives are already unmistakable. Vanessa Barbara 09/17/2021 18:37 Clarín.com The New York Times International Weekly Updated 9/17/2021 6:37 PM São Paulo, Brazil— For weeks, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been asking his supporters to take to the streets to protest. That is why on September 7, the Independence Day of Brazil, I anticipated a little the possibility of seeing mobs of people dressed in yellow and green shi



Vanessa Barbara

09/17/2021 18:37

  • Clarín.com

  • The New York Times International Weekly

Updated 9/17/2021 6:37 PM

São Paulo, Brazil— For weeks, Brazilian President

Jair Bolsonaro

has been asking his supporters to take to the streets to protest.

That is why on September 7, the Independence Day of Brazil, I anticipated a little the possibility of seeing

mobs

of people dressed in yellow and green shirts, armed, some with furry hats and horns, assault the Federal Supreme Court building. , in

our own version of the Capitol attacks.

Fortunately, that was not what happened.

A protester in favor of President Bolsonaro paraded in the streets of Sao Paulo (AFP)

The crowd eventually went home and no one tried to sit in the Federal Court magistrates' chairs.

However, Brazilians were not spared from chaos and consternation.

For Bolsonaro it was a show of force.

In the morning, when addressing a crowd of around

400,000

people in Brasilia, he said that he intended to use the size of the crowd as an

ultimatum

for everyone ”in the three branches of the federal government.

In the afternoon, at a rally in São Paulo with 125,000 people, the president described the next elections in 2022 as

"a sham

" and said that he will no longer abide by the sentences of one of the magistrates of the Federal Supreme Court.

"Let the scoundrels know it once," he yelled, "I'll never go to jail!"

It seems to be part of a plan.

In seeking a particular confrontation with the Federal Supreme Court - which has opened several investigations targeting him and his allies, including one on his role in a

potentially corrupt

vaccine procurement

scheme

and another on his efforts to discredit the electoral system of Brazil - Bolsonaro is trying to sow the seeds of an

institutional

crisis

, with a view to staying in power.

On September 9 he tried to back down a bit: through a written statement he said that he "never intended to attack any branch of the government."

But his actions are clear: he is threatening a coup.

Perhaps that is the only way out for Bolsonaro (apart from properly governing the country, something that apparently does not interest him).

The eccentricities of the president, who continues to fall in the polls and is threatened by the possibility of impeachment, are a sign of

desperation

.

But that doesn't mean they can't be successful.

Bolsonaro has good reason to be desperate.

The government's mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic has killed 587,000 Brazilians;

the country faces record rates of unemployment and economic inequality;

and it is also plagued by rising inflation, poverty and hunger.

Oh, and there is also a

huge energy crisis

on the way

.

This has weakened Bolsonaro's position with the Brazilians.

In July, his disapproval rate rose to 51 percent, its highest level, according to the

Datafolha Institute.

And things are not looking good heading into next year's presidential election.

In fact, polls suggest that he will be defeated.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,

the center-left politician and former president,

comfortably outstrips

Bolsonaro.

As it stands, Bolsonaro would lose to all possible rivals in a second round.

This explains Bolsonaro's eagerness to insist on unfounded accusations of fraud in Brazil's electronic voting system.

"There is no way to prove whether the elections were rigged or not," he said, referring to past elections (including the one he won), during a two-hour television broadcast in July, without providing any evidence to back up his allegations.

He has repeatedly threatened to suspend the elections if the current voting system remains in place, and although Congress recently rejected his proposal to require printed receipts, Bolsonaro continues to question the electoral process (sound familiar?).

And we have not mentioned corruption.

An increasing number of accusations of corruption have been brought against the president and two of his sons, who also hold public office (one is a senator; the other is a councilor in the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Chamber).

Prosecutors have suggested that the Bolsonaro family participated in a scheme known as "rachadinha," which involves hiring close associates or family members as employees and then pocketing a portion of their salaries.

For Bolsonaro, who was chosen in part because of his promise to crack down on corruption, these investigations cast a shadow over his outlook.

In this context of

ineptitude and scandal

, the events of September 7 were an attempt to distract and divert attention, and, of course, to cement divisions.

Efforts to remove Bolsonaro through parliament have

stalled

.

Although the opposition has so far introduced

137 requests for impeachment,

the process must be initiated by the president of the Chamber of Deputies,

Arthur Lira,

who does not seem willing to accept them (that is not a great surprise:

Lira is a leader of a group of center-right parties known as the “centrão,” to whom Bolsonaro has transferred and handed over important government positions, with the aim of shielding himself against impeachment proceedings).

Only massive public protests could break the impasse.

There is no time to lose.

The demonstrations last week were not simply a political spectacle.

They were yet another action to strengthen Bolsonaro's position for an

eventual usurpation

of power before next year's elections.

It didn't get exactly what it wanted - the number of supporters, though substantial, was far fewer than the organizers expected - but it will keep trying.

September 7 marks another important moment in the history of Brazil:

it was the day that our president's totalitarian goals were unmistakably clear.

For our young democracy, it could be a matter of life and death.

c.2021 The New York Times Company

Look also

Brazil: the way out of polarization

Polls in Brazil: Lula da Silva would win the presidency with 44% of the votes

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-09-17

You may like

News/Politics 2021-07-03T19:29:20.857Z

Trends 24h

News/Politics 2021-10-14T07:10:14.191Z

Latest

© Communities 2019 - Privacy