The last priority of the media and social networks in Brazil is that of the still mysterious relations of the president, Jair Bolsonaro, with the Armed Forces. The latest surprise has been the unexpected attitude of the Army, which has decided not to punish the former Minister of Health, General Eduardo Pazuello, who blatantly and publicly violated the military regulations that prevent him from participating in a public act with Bolsonaro. Furthermore, the president had already challenged the Army in May 2020, when he offered the general a key position in his government.
Bolsonaro feels so sure of his relationship with the Army that he dares to challenge him in public. What is not clear is how the Armed Forces, which seemed to have entered the extreme right-wing government to “control” the president in his possible coup raptures, have ended up on their knees before him.
The news of the resignation of the Army leadership to Bolsonaro by forgiving Pazuello has had a national repercussion and has complicated the political strategies of the presidential elections of next year. Furthermore, it has given special prominence to the Senate Parliamentary Investigative Commission (CPI), which is investigating the existence of a parallel government created by Bolsonaro to defend his denialist stance in the face of the pandemic and his rejection of the vaccine.
This is made clear by the latest statements by the ICC president, who, bothered by the arrogance with which Bolsonaro addresses himself and even insults the senators, has made it clear that they are reaching him and that they will be harsh in their decisions.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the Armed Forces are not in the Government to protect the frustrated captain, as was imagined at the beginning, but that it is he who seems to give orders to the Army. The fact of Bolsonaro’s surrender in the case of flagrante delicto like that of Pazuello before the disciplinary laws of the Army has surprised even the most serious analysts on military issues, such as Igor Gielow of leaf and Mirian Leitao from Or Balloon. According to Leitao, who has suffered in his flesh the military dictatorship, the Army “submits to Bolsonarism and gives way to anarchy” with its pardon to Pazuello. For the analyst, the president conspires against democracy and weakens the institutions. “It has been the most dangerous step taken by the Armed Forces since the end of the military dictatorship,” summarizes the analyst.
For Ygor Gielow, who has good sources within the Army, it has been a false illusion to think that with the entry of active generals into the Government, the Armed Forces would control Bolsonaro and prevent the return of Lula da Silva’s party to power. . Gielow adds ironically: “Bolsonaro has gotten his revenge. It’s cheap psychology, but it gives the impression that he killed the father, ”he writes referring to Freud.
The enigma is why the Army is passively accepting Bolsonaro’s challenges and provocations when it knows that it is becoming increasingly weaker in the face of public opinion, as reflected in the latest polls. We have not yet heard a single important military officer remind the president that the Army “is not his,” and that it is one more institution at the service of the State. And more so when it becomes clearer every day that what the president intends is not to accept a defeat in re-election even if it is the cost of a coup. The former president, Michel Temer, has just said it, who always had a reputation for knowing like few others the bowels of the Army with whom he maintained and maintains friendly relations …
It is increasingly evident that when the captain speaks to his followers, he is actually sending messages and threats to the Army. The last demonstration of this took place on May 25. To a woman who complained about the poverty that Brazil suffers, Bolsonaro responded with a sibylline phrase: “Whoever is not happy with me, has Lula in 2022.” You don’t have to be a psychoanalyst to understand that Bolsonaro’s phrase was addressed to a wider audience. It also targeted the military. It was like telling them that if they did not support him now, tomorrow they could meet again with Lula, the PT and the left in power, something little less than abominable for the Army, which will always prefer the follies and intemperancies of Bolsonaro than the return of Bolsonaro. Lula.
Perhaps to understand this fear that the PT with Lula could return to power, we would have to go back to 2018, when the then Army Commander, Villas Boa, threatened in a tweet to the Supreme Federal Court that there could be a national subversion if they allowed Lula stand for election. The Court gave in and it was one of its darkest moments.
Once the elections were won and with Lula out of combat, the new president Bolsonaro held an enigmatic meeting with Villas Boa. “You are responsible for my being here today,” Bolsonaro thanked him, and continued with a phrase that only a fortune teller could decipher: “What we know will die among us.” Undoubtedly it was something serious that no one has yet managed to reveal and that recalls the mafia codices.
Everything that is happening between Bolsonaro and the Army will have an important weight in the next elections if the institutions, despite everything that the Senate ICC is revealing, allow them to contest them. His contempt for the ICC, his coup threats, his audacity in confronting the Army, his insistence on denial and feeding a parallel government, and his threats that Lula, his mortal enemy, may return, reveal that the captain will not accept the result. In the elections. Hence, he would already be preparing a coup, perhaps with the support and complacency of the Armed Forces, the military police and his friendly militias.
We do not know if that is the secret that he promised Villas Boa to take to the grave, but something seems clearer every day: Bolsonaro is starting to turn out to be more cunning and dangerous than you think and his dream increasingly resembles the Venezuelan project of Maduro, of whom would be his best right-wing copy.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.