President Bolsonaro is urging supporters to take to the streets for Independence Day. This can be a precursor to extra verbal assaults on democratic establishments forward of subsequent month’s elections.
A MARTINEZ, HOST:
It is independence day in Brazil, and the nation’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, plans to make use of as we speak’s celebration to flaunt his shut ties to the armed forces. This comes amid rising issues that Bolsonaro will refuse to go away workplace if he loses subsequent month’s presidential election. For extra, we’re joined by John Otis, who covers Brazil for NPR. John, what’s alleged to occur as we speak?
JOHN OTIS, BYLINE: Yeah. Properly, first, Bolsonaro plans to attend a army parade in Brasilia, which is the capital, and that is a relatively regular annual occasion, however then he’ll do one thing actually out of the odd. He will fly right down to Rio de Janeiro, the place he’ll give a speech on the enduring Copacabana Seashore, and that occasion goes to function a naval flotilla, an air present with paratroopers leaping out of plane and likewise cannons which can be going to fireplace off a 21-gun salute.
MARTINEZ: So it form of seems like a militarized marketing campaign seaside occasion.
OTIS: Yeah, I imply, it is – what it truly is, is form of a last-ditch marketing campaign stunt. All of the polls in Brazil are exhibiting Bolsonaro trailing his left-wing rival, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who’s a former president. So Bolsonaro is attempting to do one thing actually dramatic to show the tables and form of reset his marketing campaign. You may examine it to former U.S. President Donald Trump utilizing Mount Rushmore as a 4th of July backdrop for his 2020 reelection marketing campaign. Bolsonaro has additionally been busy selling as we speak’s occasion in TV spots like this one.
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PRESIDENT JAIR BOLSONARO: (Talking Portuguese).
OTIS: Now, in it, he is urging Brazilians to replenish Copacabana Seashore as we speak to have this massive, massive present of pressure.
MARTINEZ: So why has the occasion prompted a lot controversy in Brazil?
OTIS: Properly, primarily it is as a result of Bolsonaro has been actually coy about whether or not he would really go away workplace if he loses within the October 2 election, and the indicators should not superb. He is claimed that the polls are fallacious, that Brazil’s digital voting system is riddled with fraud and that the army ought to oversee the vote depend. Now, if Bolsonaro does lose and if Bolsonaro tries to cling to energy, he would very seemingly lean on the army for help. Bolsonaro is, you could recall, a former military captain. His authorities is stuffed with ex-military officers. And he is a number of instances declared that solely God can take me from the presidency. So if Bolsonaro manages to attract large crowds as we speak out on Copacabana Seashore, that might be interpreted by the army as swelling well-liked help for the president to remain in energy even when he loses.
MARTINEZ: However would then Brazil’s army really help an excessive transfer by Bolsonaro?
OTIS: Properly, I imply, that is the large query. He’d seemingly get help from some army officers, but it surely’s extra uncertain that all the high brass would associate with a full-fledged coup. Authorities proper now in Brazil are on heightened alert for any form of assault on Brazil’s democracy. They just lately raided the properties of a number of Brazilian businessmen who, in textual content messages, gave the impression to be supporting a army coup. However all that mentioned, you additionally need to do not forget that Brazil does have a protracted historical past of army coups, and it was dominated by a army dictatorship as just lately as 1985.
MARTINEZ: John Otis covers Brazil for NPR. John, as at all times, thanks.
OTIS: Thanks for having me.
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