Brazil’s military probably won’t engage in a coup later this year. But the fact that such a situation is only “probably” and not “definitely” out of the question is what has many analysts concerned.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro may be the only world leader who views the events of Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C., as a model to be followed and emulated. With polls showing he is expected to lose by a wide margin in Brazil’s Oct. 2 presidential election to former President Lula da Silva, Bolsonaro is setting the stage to claim fraud and have his supporters protest his loss. To be clear, Brazilian elections are considered free and fair and there is no reason to question the country’s voting technology, as Bolsonaro regularly does.
A month before that vote, though, the country will get a preview of what Bolsonaro is planning on Brazilian Independence Day in early September, when his supporters plan to stage protests, as they have for the past two years. Last year’s massive demonstrations included plans for pro-Bolsonaro activists to storm federal buildings. However, at the very last minute, Bolsonaro called for no violence, meaning those efforts at the Supreme Court and Ministry of Health ended up being only half-hearted. Now, Bolsonaro is once again toying with the idea of organizing his supporters into a larger movement in September or after the October elections, aiming to rattle Brazil’s establishment and threaten the government institutions that check the president’s power. In particular, Bolsonaro’s ire is directed at the country’s Supreme Court, as well as at the congressional committees that have raised evidence against him of corruption and criminal negligence during his management of the coronavirus pandemic.