Why Do the Bolsonaristas Refuse to Accept the Victory of Lula da Silva in Brazil?

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Is the demonstrations that have taken place since his electoral defeat in Brazil the fault of Jair Bolsonaro, or is it the responsibility of someone else? In LatinAmerican Post we explain you

Jair Bolsonaro

Photo: TW-jairbolsonaro

LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramírez Hernández

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué los bolsonaristas se niegan a aceptar la victoria de Lula da Silva en Brasil?

On October 30, Brazil gave a “steering” to the left again, after the citizens elected Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as the new president of the South American country. The union leader, who already held the position between 2003 and 2010, defeated the current president Jair Bolsonaro at the polls by a difference of 1%.

Thus, Brazil joined the list of countries in the region to adopt a left-wing president, which also includes Colombia (Gustavo Petro), Chile (Gabriel Boric), Argentina (Alberto Fernández), Venezuela (Nicolás Maduro), Bolivia (Luis Arce) and Peru (with the dismissed Pedro Castillo).

However, as occurred in other recent Latin American elections, the victory of Da Silva (who will take office on January 1) was not well received by a large part of Brazilian society, which believes that the new president could replicate a situation similar to the one of Venezuela with Chavismo.

In addition, they criticize the fact that Da Silva has been plagued by corruption issues in the past, which even led him to prison, for which they fear that the new government will repeat that situation.

Of course, the first to make these points clear was Bolsonaro, who in his first statement after the defeat assured that he would continue to exercise his position as president of the Brazilians with the Constitution as a guide, but never acknowledged his opponent's triumph.

He also referred to the protests that began almost immediately after the announcement of Lula da Silva's victory, stating that “the current popular movements are the result of indignation and a feeling of injustice at how the electoral process was carried out.”

Responsible Bolsonaro?

However, contrary to what his own followers have shown in the streets since the beginning of November with terrorist techniques such as homemade bombs, nails, fireworks, and barricades with burning tires, Jair Bolsonaro has always urged peaceful protest, at least in his public interventions.

“Peaceful demonstrations will always be welcome. But our methods cannot be those of the left, which have always harmed the population, such as the invasion of property, the destruction of property and the restriction of the right to come and go," Bolsonaro explained the day after his electoral defeat.

Even with this, the protests are still present in the Brazilian streets by, according to the authorities, "extremely violent and coordinated hooded men" who act almost always at night.

So, if Jair Bolsonaro, who in the midst of his criticisms, complaints, and outbursts has urged a peaceful transition of power, is not directly responsible for this social crisis in the Brazilian streets, who is?

Different political figures in Brazil have tried to give this answer, citing names that are still important today in that country, such as the first lady herself, Michelle Bolsonaro, or the indigenous religious leader José Acácio Serere Xavante, a follower of the president.

In the case of Michelle Bolsonaro, the complaints came from Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, who called the First Lady an “instigator” of the violence in Brazil. For Rodriguez, the participation of Bolsonaro's wife is evident in the delivery of food to the Bolsonaro supporters who decided to spend the night in the surroundings of the Alvorada Palace (seat of government), which would mean an "endorsement of violence" by part of the presidential house.

As for Serere Xavante, captured by the Police in one of the riots in which he led, it was learned that he was one of those in charge of starting the protests after the triumph of Lula da Silva, summoning “armed people” to prevent accreditation by of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE).

Bolsonarism without Bolsonaro

However, in the midst of the hypotheses and theories that have been generated around the convulsive Brazilian reality, for some experts it is clear that the seeds of Bolsonaro nonconformism, in effect, do not have much to do with Jair Bolsonaro, but rather with the machinery that works behind him.

As explained by columnist Camila Villard Durán, Bolsonarismo goes far beyond the president, this term being just one more denomination of the Brazilian radical right and neoliberalism at its best.

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Bolsonaro's ideology is radically sponsored by powerful economic interests dominated, for example, by agribusiness, which benefited greatly during the Jair government.

“Agribusiness is a highly industrialized sector in Brazil, responsible for more than a quarter of GDP and 48.3% of total exports in the first half of 2022 (…) In fact, 33 of the 50 largest donors of the campaign of his campaign represented agribusiness,” recalled Villard in his writing.

For this reason, it is not unreasonable to think that the great Brazilian economic powers are the ones behind the protests against Lula da Silva, who would change the rules of the game in favor of the ancestral communities of his country and respect for agricultural laws international.

How Has Lula da Silva Reacted?

For his part, the new president of Brazil, instead of trying to appease the protesting people, has turned the boiler on much more, criticizing Jair Bolsonaro head-on and without a filter and blaming him for this civil uprising.

"That citizen (Bolsonaro) until now does not recognize his defeat, continues to encourage fascist activists who demonstrate in the street (...) He follows the ritual that all fascists in the world follow," said Lula.

However, it seems that Lula's criticism is directed against Bolsonaro, but perhaps not against Bolsonarismo or at least against the entire Brazilian right. In fact, the new president's vice president is Geraldo Alckmin, a former right-wing political adversary with whom he will try to get closer to the opposite pole that did not vote for him in Brazil.