Bolsonaro turns the bicentennial of Brazil’s independence into an electoral act | International
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Brazil commemorates this Wednesday the bicentennial of its independence from Portugal in the midst of a hard-fought electoral campaign, in an atmosphere of maximum tension and with the fear that it will spill over into some violent episode. President Jair Bolsonaro has turned the event into a succession of electoral events in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia after presiding over the official parade in the capital. A crowd has acclaimed on the most famous beach in Brazil, Copacabana, his speech against corruption, the left and abortion. The far-right president, who wants re-election, intended to capitalize on the bicentennial and gather a crowd of supporters in the streets in an attempt to deny the polls that place him behind Lula da Silva and thus give his campaign a definitive boost. . He has achieved the image he was looking for. There are 25 days left for the elections.
Bolsonaro transits this Wednesday between his two roles: President of the Republic and candidate. After attending the civic-military parade held in Brasilia as president, he took to the stage as a candidate for another term “We know that we are facing a fight between good and evil. An evil that lasted 14 years in our country (in reference to the governments of Lula’s party), that almost broke our homeland and that now wants to return to the scene of the crime. They won’t come back! The people are with us, on the side of good”, he has proclaimed. Both in Brasilia and in Rio, before the speech a prayer.
His intervention in Copacabana has been totally electioneering, he has avoided the solemnity of the anniversary to attack Lula and boast of management. Carpenter Murilo, 36, was one of the thousands who waited for his speech. For this Bolsonarista, the most important thing is that the far-rightist “rescued Brazil, morals and ethics” and also says “he managed to free us from socialism.” And now it is about avoiding a return of the Workers’ Party to power because, they maintain, Brazil will become Venezuela, Nicaragua or Chile.
Among those who listened to him in Copacabana, many women well dressed in the shirt of the Brazilian team, retired soldiers in uniform, young couples, families with children. Most white. They are united by the values that Bolsonaro defends: the traditional family, God, country and freedom. And the absolute conviction that the former parachutist will defeat Lula. “If there is no fraud, he will win for sure. I don’t trust the polls at all,” said the 70-year-old pharmacist Eliane.
The president’s supporters do not believe the polls, they maintain that they are manipulated. In keeping with this idea, images constantly circulate on Bolsonarist networks, with close-ups, in which the far-right leader appears surrounded by a large public as a supposed sign that he supports the majority.
The Portuguese president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has witnessed the official parade in Brasilia together with Bolsonaro. The presidents of the two chambers of Congress and the Supreme Court have been absent.
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The security deployment for this 200th anniversary of independence has been enormous. It was about preventing any hint of violence. Bolsonaro’s crusade against other institutions—particularly against his greatest counterweight, the Supreme Court—and the nostalgia he exhibits for the dictatorship combined with the memory of the violent assault on trumpists Radicals to the Capitol have fueled the fear that similar acts could be experienced in Brazil. For months there has been speculation about a breakdown of the democratic order. On independence day 2021, Bolsonaro insulted a Supreme Court judge — he called him a scoundrel — and threatened to disobey his decisions.
The civic-military acts of this Independence Day are, on the one hand, the culmination of a very low-profile bicentennial that includes the display of the heart of Emperor Pedro I who proclaimed emancipation in 1822, on loan from Portugal. But, at the same time, Bolsonaro is confident that the popular mobilization will be a turning point in the campaign, which the leftist Lula has led from the start.
Eduardo Heleno, from the Institute of Strategic Studies of the Fluminense Federal University, explains over the phone that President Bolsonaro will make “a cult of a kidnapped September 7th to play politics and show his supporters that he has great support.” He maintains that he will use the images of crowds “to keep his electorate loyal and believe they can win.”
Lula, who has spent the anniversary day at home, recording electoral clips, tweeted this Wednesday: “I have faith that Brazil will reconquer its flag, its sovereignty and democracy.” The Datafolha The most recent gives the former president a 13-point advantage over the current president. His victory in October would culminate a Latin American turn to the left.
200 years of independence leaf. September 7 should be a day of love and unity for Brazil. Unfortunately, nothing is happening now. I have faith that Brazil will win back its banner, sovereignty and democracy. good morning
– Lula 13 (@LulaOficial) September 7, 2022
The far-right Bolsonaro has started the morning with a meeting that was a clear message. He has met with some Bolsonaro businessmen who are being investigated for participating in a private chat in which coup messages were exchanged, an operation criticized as excessive even by Bolsonaro’s critics.
Professor Heleno, who is not related to the minister of the same surname, maintains that the presence of the United States Navy in the maneuvers that will be held for the festivities make it difficult for any coup temptation to materialize. “That does not prevent Bolsonaroism from stimulating the willfulness of a lone wolf or some symbolic protest against the Supreme Court or against the opposition.”
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