In Brazil, Bolsonaro, the military in the heart of the crisis

Dans le Brésil de Bolsonaro, les militaires au coeur de la crise

The president Jair Bolsonaro and the high-ranking officers have never mentioned the threat of a coup d’état in Brazil these days, an unlikely event, consider yet analysts. For the time being.

The largest country in Latin America is ruled by a way of war by a president identified with his loved ones, by a series of surveys, a year and a half after his accession to power.

The current institutional crisis, coupled with the serious health crisis of the coronavirus, and soon an historic recession, only worsens the climate of instability in Brazil, where the government of this nostalgic of the dictatorship (1964-85) has 10 members on 23 ministers and senior administration 3000 officers.

“We, the military of the Armed Forces, (…) are the true guarantors of democracy. We will be obedient ever to the orders of the absurd”, has launched Mr. Bolsonaro on the Band TV on Monday. “But we will not accept a political judgment that would destroy a democratically elected president.”

The ex-paratrooper of the extreme right is threatened at the time of a dismissal (thirty requests to the Congress) and the cancellation of his election, for irregularities in his campaign.

His son Flavio, Eduardo and Carlos (all elected officials) are the target of investigations for corruption or spreading false information.

These various procedures come from the Congress, the prosecutor’s office, the federal Police, the high Court, the Electoral and the supreme Court (STF).

It is with this last that Jair Bolsonaro has committed to an arm-wrestle, with the support of the military. And by reinterpreting in his own way an article of the Constitution that would allow him to call in the Army.

“Breakdown of democracy”

Last weekend, protesters bolsonaristes have threatened to Brasilia to “transform in serpillères” the dresses of the judges of the High court. “These assholes” that the minister of Education, Abraham Weintraub wanted to see them “thrown in jail”.

From the general government, the threats are not veiled.

Last Friday, the general Luiz Eduardo Ramos, minister of the Secretariat of the government, was “outrageous” to say that “the army will do a coup”, but warned “the other side” (STF head), “don’t pull the rope”.

Previously, the general reserve Augusto Heleno, key figure of the government in the institutional Security (intelligence), shook the country, pointing to “unpredictable consequences for national stability” if the phone Bolsonaro was seized in the course of an investigation.

For all that, a military intervention is topical in Brazil? “Absolutely not!”, replies Nelson Düring, editor-in-chief of the site Defesanet, “are we very far”.

“The concern about a break democratic are greatly exaggerated”, also felt the analysts Eurasiagroup, which “is estimated at less than 5%”.

But to evoke and to deny, in turn, the prospect of military intervention is a “strategy of threats against the supreme Court to prevent what is seen as affronts to the executive,” said Maud Chirio, a historian at the University Gustave Eiffel (Paris).

The supreme Court rejected the appointment of a relative of Bolsonaro at the head of the federal Police, which investigates precisely on his son Flavio. A gesture that was received as “a provocation”, an “interference brutal”, by the president.

“For the moment, the military would demonstrate their absolute solidarity with Bolsonaro,” notes Ms. Chirio, in spite sometimes of”discomfort” within an institution that had regained a certain prestige.

“The military ultra-conservatives in the government have a political project that is the same as the one that is worn so outrageous and chaotic by Bolsonaro”.

“Unpredictable reactions”

Then, “a form of coup is feasible if the other powers” do not make weapons and “decide to play the card of the removal of Bolsonaro or reduce it to impotence by the multiplication of judicial investigations on his family and person,” said Maud Chirio.

However, “the military would be hard pressed to oppose the institutions of the judiciary and the legislature, judge Carlos Fico, a professor of military Studies at the federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).

If he did not imagine “a coup is classic, with tanks taking up position on the Three powers Square” in Brasilia, Mr Fico, evokes the threat used by the clan Bolsonaro of the closure of the Congress and the supreme Court.

With barely 30% support in the population, Bolsonaro “would cause a major reaction in the society,” he predicts.

“His supporters are the most radicalized could manifest violently,” said Mr. Fico, without excluding “the unpredictable reactions of a military police” who always supports firmly.

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