Our final topic, picked by you, dear listeners, earlier in a poll on our Facebook page, is “Brazil: Assassinating Democracy”, focusing on next month’s presidential election in the Latin American giant: Last week’s stabbing of Brazilian presidential front-runner Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist who’s been criticized as a “fascist” for his views towards social relations and the military, represented the most dramatic attempt to assassinate democracy in the country, a process that some say actually started with now-incarcerated former President Lula being ruled ineligible to run. “Operation Car Wash”, the long- running anti-corruption campaign that ultimately led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and the incarceration of other officials, has been described by some observers as a rolling “deep state coup” designed to herald in the return to an authoritative neoliberal government allied with the US and opposed to the multipolar and socialist policies of its predecessors.
Lula was caught up in this net, and his supporters say that his conviction on corruption charges was politically motivated and designed to prevent him from trouncing Bolsonaro, understood by many to be the military’s preferred candidate, during next month’s vote. The former president was the only person who consistently polled much higher than Bolsonaro, but he had to withdraw and appoint Fernando Haddad as the Worker’s Party’s candidate instead due to his legal situation, though his replacement is much less popular according to the latest surveys. Speaking of those, they now indicate that Bolsonaro will probably win the first round by a double-digit margin but would go neck-and-neck with any of the other three main candidates in a run-off later on in October.
Despite initial expectations that the assassination attempt against him would dramatically boost the appeal of the law-and-order candidate, Bolsonaro didn’t experience much of a bump in the week since he was almost killed, suggesting that supporters of the four main parties already made up their minds while the remaining segment of the population is still undecided. It’s this latter category of voters that all the candidates are trying to woo, though some reports have emerged alleging that a significant amount of people are so disillusioned with the state of Brazilian democracy that they don’t plan on voting at all or will go to the polls just to spoil their ballots in protest.
As such, while symbolic motions of democracy might still be alive in Brazil, its substance appears to have been assassinated long ago by “deep state” assailants.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Eric C. Anderson, retired technology worker from Washington DC and long-term resident of Manaus, Brazil, located in thestate of Amazonas and João Aroldo, independent translator from Brazil.
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