LatinNews Daily - 02 August 2022

BRAZIL: Bolsonaro mocks pro-democracy movement

On 1 August, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro mocked business leaders who signed a pro-democracy manifesto, as he plans to move a military parade to Rio de Janeiro to boost protests against the supreme court.


Far from backing down in the face of a growing pro-democracy movement, President Bolsonaro is digging in his heels, reacting with cynicism, and mobilising supporters. Tapping into patriotic sentiment, the president intends to piggyback planned protests in his favour on the back of a military parade in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro on Independence Day (7 September).

  • Bolsonaro yesterday belittled political manifestos backing democracy and the current electoral system, saying it was just a bunch of bankers, artists and entrepreneurs that had signed it. The manifesto drawn up by the University of São Paulo law school has roughly 640,000 signatures already.
  • Last week Bolsonaro said that he doesn’t need “a letter” to say he defends democracy. He then posted on social media his own, one-line manifesto. “I hereby declare I’m in favour of democracy,” it read.  
  • At the weekend the president announced he was moving the traditional Independence Day military parade from downtown Rio de Janeiro to Copacabana so as to mix it with protests by his supporters, which he called ‘auxiliary forces.’
  •  “We want to innovate in Rio. For the first time, our armed forces and auxiliary forces will be parading on Copacabana beach”, Bolsonaro said.
  • The chief public prosecutor, Augusto Aras, said yesterday that he would be closely monitoring the 7 September demonstrations.
  • Bolsonaro, a former army captain, has enrolled the military’s top brass to help him discredit the country’s electoral process. He trails former leftist president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2011) by around 10 percentage points on average in opinion polls.
  • The Tribunal Supremo Eleitoral (TSE), the top electoral court, held its first meeting yesterday with the armed forces and other electoral monitors. Local media reported that the meeting was cordial but that the army is continuing to pressure the TSE to provide more data and adopt additional measures.

Looking Ahead: President Bolsonaro is increasingly isolated in his criticism of the electoral system, but that could actually mean that he will radicalise rather than moderate his behaviour.

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