Brazil Congress Riot Tests the Relationship between Lula and the Military Forces
The takeover of Congress in Brazil by Bolsonaro failed due to the support that the military forces still maintain for Lula da Silva
Photo: Eraldo Peres/AP
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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Leer en español: La toma del Congreso en Brasil pone a prueba la relación entre Lula da Silva y los militares
On Sunday, January 8, thousands of Bolsonaro protesters in Brasília took over the Brazilian Congress. The images released looked like a "déjà vu", almost exactly, from 2 years ago, when the followers of Donald Trump did the same in Washington DC.
However, despite the memory in the minds of what happened in the United States, it is surprising that what happened in Brasília was not foreseen. Even more so when groups loyal to the former Brazilian president have been asking for the intervention of the military forces. On several occasions and in several Brazilian states, Bolsonarist camps have been planted outside military commandos with the intention of ignoring the results of the latest presidential elections.
Indeed, the BBC warns that for many days the idea of entering public buildings within the WhatsApp groups of the protesters had been circulating. The proposal was precisely to repeat what happened in North America. For this reason, it will be necessary for the authorities to determine those who financed the arrival of dozens of buses to the capital to carry out the "taking of Brasilia" as the demonstration was called.
But with so much anticipation of the intentions or possible consequences of the marches, the little preparation or contingency on the part of the police is surprising. The eyes are pointed directly at the local governor, Ibaneis Rocha, and Anderson Torres, who is in charge of security in the Federal District. Torres was Bolsonaro's Justice Minister.
Then, the question arises as to how much control of the Military Forces is by the president, since it becomes a matter of "life or death". This is even more relevant when Brazil has a (not so distant) past of military dictatorship and a former president who always tried to permeate the troops ideologically.
Last year, out of 27 governors, 25 of them expressed concern about the perception that the federal police were particularly aligned with then-President Jair Bolsonaro. A few months later, several governors were changed by popular vote, but most of the police and high command remain.
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Such has been the ideological closeness between Bolsonarism and the military forces that, when the result of the presidential elections was known, the followers of the former president asked the army to intervene.
For now, despite the fact that there has been considerable closeness between the current opposition and the Military Forces, at the moment of truth, silence has prevailed. Either at the moment when the Bolsonarist called for a violent takeover or at the moment when close to 1,500 people were captured (300 on Sunday and 1,200 on Monday). This is good news for Lula da Silva, who will have to forge strong ties with the military and thus guarantee a democratic presidency and scare away the specter of the coup.
However, in political matters, this first great challenge faced by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in his new term, will serve as a thermometer to see the attitude that Lula will have with the opposition. It may even be an opportunity to show the opposition in Brazil the risks that Bolsonarism has. If Lula manages to demonstrate to the moderate opposition that allying with Bolsonarismo is to accept this type of incident with a coup overtone, he will manage to reduce the ex-president's supporters.