Bolsonaro looks at Donald Trump and Bolivia’s Jeanine Áñez and understands the risks he now faces.
By Emir Sader*
The operation to block the Workers Party from continuing to govern Brazil was monstrous. Jair Bolsonaro installed a neoliberal model to guarantee support of business leaders, incorporating support from evangelical Christians. He employed the most violent rhetoric possible threatening the opposition, the judiciary, the media and governments of other countries.
He established a climate of terror, aggression, insecurity and instability in the country as Brazil proceeded without real democracy from the time of the coup against Dilma Rousseff.
He privatized public companies, isolated Brazil on the world stage, projected the worst image that a country could have and implemented the world’s worst policies to protect the public from the Covid 19 pandemic.
The economy suffered through a deep recessive cycle with high unemployment. The vast majority of Brazilians ended up working in a precarious manner without signed work cards and any type of employment guarantee.
Fake news was multiplied by robots, generating a parallel reality full of lies. He governed Brazil as an autocrat without dialogue, debates or consulting with the public. He became a president without a political party, without any kind of collective leadership of the country.
He was a person who was hated by ever increasing sectors of the population. He had to set up a gigantic operation to falsify votes in his attempt to be reelected.
Despite all of this, he ended up as the first Brazilian president to ever lose reelection. Now, he panics at the though of the scenario he will have to face staring on January 1, when he will no longer have any of the legal immunity enjoyed by a president and will suffer from a series of court rulings against him and his sons. He looks at Trump and Janine Áñez and understands the risks he now faces.
Worried about this, Bolsonaro tries to project a less violent public image. He complimented the truck company roadblocks on the highways, but condemned the use of violence that is inherent in these types of protests. He wanted to project himself as an opposition leader against Lula’s government, but no important allies that were on his side want to align with him anymore, opting instead to get closer to Lula.
Bolsonarismo is here to stay, as has happened on other countries where sectors of the middle class and popular movements have radicalized towards the extreme right. But it suffered a defeat and will now go through a period of isolation as more of the crimes committed by the Bolsonaro administration surface and as Lula consolidates his power. But Bolsonaro himself will disappear from Brazilian political life. The vast majority of parties that supported him – even sectors of big business and Evangelical leaders – are now leaning closer and closer to Lula.
Lula already occupies the center of political life, as if he has already taken power. He has received invitations to important international meetings taking place this November, weeks before his January 1 inauguration.
Lula is now organizing his government, which will have a nucleus of cabinet ministers from the PT in the most important positions. But the broad front that supported Lula, together with the sectors that are joining him now, will have to be incorporated into this government, which will have over 30 ministries. Lula’s inauguration itself will be a great demonstration of international prestige, as he has already received compliments from all of the world’s major leaders, some of whom will appear on Brasilia’s esplanade this January 1st.
Now, Brazil says goodbye to Bolsonaro and frees itself from its worst government in history. To paraphrase the old saying, Brazil hasn’t arrived in Heaven, but it’s already left Hell.
*Emir Sader, one of Brazil’s most prominent Marxist intellectuals, is a retired Political Science Professor from Rio de Janeiro State University, a member of the Workers Party and has written or edited 36 books.
This article originally appeared in Fórum, was translated by Brian Mier and can be read in it’s original Portuguese here.