Guilherme Boulos: Is A Coup In Brazil A Risk Or A Smokescreen?

By Guilherme Boulos

Bolsonaro, after a “sabbatical period” in which he stopped talking about electronic voting machines, returned to threaten the integrity of the electoral process. In the last few weeks, he attacked the Electoral Court (TSE) again, spoke again about the “secret room”, and demanded military personnel in the investigation process…

As October approaches and he remains well behind Lula in the polls, Bolsonaro switches to desperation mode. He attacks institutions and threatens a coup.

Visibly, he uses the coup rhetoric as a smokescreen, a distraction maneuver to avoid discussing the issues that really matter to the majority of the Brazilian people: inflation, unemployment, falling incomes. But it’s not just that.

It cannot be ignored that, if Bolsonaro could, if it were only in his hands, he would have already carried out an auto-coup. Just look at the 7th of September of last year. Bolsonarism has an authoritarian DNA, heir to Silvio Frota and the military of the so-called hard line.

But the Brazil of today is not the same as it was in 1964. Neither is the international scenario. Today, a coup would have hardly any external support. More likely, it would generate a series of sanctions and the isolation of Brazil. Very different from 64, where the United States supported the coup from start to finish.

Today it is very unlikely to imagine a situation in which the command of the active Armed Forces would embark on a coup adventure for Bolsonarismo. It hasn’t got onboard until now, despite attempts.

That there is now apparently no risk of a traditional coup, with tanks on the streets, it does not mean that Bolsonaro will not act, as he is already acting, to disrupt the electoral process, and create a coup environment.

He will do his best to mobilize his political militias and his followers in the military police. This is not enough to carry out a coup and turn the tables, but it is capable of creating turmoil in the country, as Donald Trump did with the Capitol Hill episode.

In summary: It is very unlikely that we will have a traditional military coup. But it is also very unlikely that we can imagine Bolsonaro losing the elections and accepting defeat. You will have to defeat him at the polls and on the streets.

We are not in a normal electoral process. Our role will not only be on October 2nd. This election will require engagement and mobilization from all of us. We have 5 months to dispute the conscience of society, elect Lula and defeat the Bolsonarista threat. Rise above them.

Guilherme Boulos is a housing activist, former presidential and now congressional candidate for PSOL.

(Translated and adapted from content on Guilherme Boulos’ social media accounts)