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Is Brazil on the Edge of a Military Coup?

Today, September 7, the independence day of Brazil, one of the largest marches in support of Jair Bolsonaro will take place.

Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil.

The Brazilian president has communicated to the Federal Supreme Court that the mobilizations of his followers this Tuesday are a clear message against his actions. Photo: Antonio Cruz / Agência Brasil

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: ¿Está Brasil al borde de un golpe militar?

Today, September 7, the independence day of Brazil, will be used by Bolsonarismo to put pressure on the country's institutions. The Brazilian president has communicated to the Federal Supreme Court that the mobilizations of his followers on Tuesday are a clear message against his actions, which shows the existing tensions between the executive and judicial branches.

This fight that the Brazilian president has had with the Federal Supreme Court (STF) and the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) is due to the fact that these two bodies have carried out investigations into Bolsonarism, including members of the family of the head of state. For the pro-government sectors, these investigations are nothing more than an electoral move to affect the aspirations of the president to be reelected in 2022.

This clash of locomotives worsened when in August, the STF included Bolsonaro among those investigated for a case of spreading false news. According to the Court, the current head of state has manifested without any evidence allegations of irregularities in the electronic voting system, smoothing out a panorama of uncertainty prior to the next elections in 2022.

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The polls do not favor Bolsonaro. According to the latest polls, Lula has a comfortable advantage over the current president. Polls in June, July, and August show a clear tendency to disapprove of the president. In the most recent one published by Future Intelligence and Modalmais, in a direct confrontation Lula vs. Bolsonaro, the former leftist president, would beat Bolsonaro with a comfortable 51.3%, who only has 32.9%. The "tropical Trump" would lose to various scenarios in the second round and his re-election is increasingly on the horizon.

The clear dissatisfaction with the current administration is reflected by a slowing economy, rising inflation and the obvious mismanagement that the president has had with the pandemic. Bolsonaro was a firm opponent of confinements and the mandatory use of masks, which left Brazil as one of the countries most affected by the pandemic, occupying 3rd place in the total number of deaths, with more than 583 thousand deaths, only behind of the United States and India and the second in Latin America in deaths per. capita, only behind Peru.

That is why this mass bath is something that the president needs because, although there are few, it is a show of support from his most loyal followers. Something similar to what Donald Trump experienced in his last days as president.

Ghosts of coup

It is no secret to anyone that Jair Bolsonaro has always had an authoritarian stink. From his Castro upbringing to his way of governing, his admiration for Donald Trump, and his speech, they are elements for many analysts to see in the figure of Bolsonaro a possible dictator. However, throughout his term in office, the possibility of a coup by the president had never been so close.

So much is the fear that (according to the Argentine newspaper La Nación) and 5 former Brazilian presidents -José Sarney, Fernando Collor de Mello, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and Michel Temer- have tested with the military forces how much support he would have a possible attack on democracy.

Additionally, still in the memory of the whole world is what happened with Bolsonaro's model president: Donald Trump. The taking of the Capitol in Washington is not something alien to the possible intentions of the Brazilian politician. This, evidently supported by a military action that is not alien to Brazil. Precisely, the memories of the last dictatorship are still alive and the risk of a new breakdown of the democratic order in Brazil is always a latent possibility. However, if the Brazilian institutionality manages to remain operational after this great challenge, it will be a message of calm for the democrats in the world and the freedoms in South America.