United States

In Brazil, opposition condemns the invasion of the US Capitol; Bolsonaro consents

For Lula, Wednesday’s attacks in Washington highlight risks of "authoritarianism"; Bolsonaro's children are silent

Translated by: Ítalo Piva

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo |
With no evidence, Bolsonaro says that there were "a lot of fraud allegations" in the US election - Evaristo Sá / AFP

President Donald Trump supporters’ invasion of the United States Capitol building last Wednesday, aimed at preventing the confirmation of Joe Biden’s electoral victory, had repercussions around the world. After the attacks, the interrupted joint session of Congress was resumed, and the body certified Joe Biden’s victory in the early hours of Thursday morning. He is set to take office on January 20th.

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro spoke about the topic and did not condemn the attacks. His three children, who are accustomed to commenting on American political events, were silent in the wake of the incident, being criticized on social media for consenting to the violence.

The retired army captain was asked hours after the extremist attack in Washington, about his position on Trump's baseless allegations of electoral fraud. Bolsonaro emphasized that there were "a lot of fraud allegations" in the US electoral process.

"I followed it up today. You know I'm connected to Trump. There were a lot of reports of fraud, a lot of reports of fraud," he said. "There were hints of fraud in my election [in 2018]. I was supposed to win in the first round of voting," he added.

On his Twitter account, political scientist Jairo Nicolau commented on Bolsonaro’s brief video pronouncement: "He was supposed to present evidence of fraud two years ago. They do not exist, but the made up story echoes among his supporters, and if they believe his victory in 2018 was defrauded, imagine a potential defeat in 2022 ", he warned.

The following day, the Brazilian president spoke to supporters in Brasília saying that, "if we have electronic voting" in 2022, "it will be the same thing" or "we will have a bigger problem than the United States did". Bolsonaro argues that the Brazilian electronic voting system, considered one of the most sophisticated on the planet, should be replaced by paper ballots. This is precisely the same format used in the US election, which Trump and the retired army captain himself consider susceptible to fraud.

The president's sons, Rio de Janeiro city Councilman Carlos Bolsonaro, Federal Senator Flávio Bolsonaro and Federal Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro did not comment on the case. The latter met with the Trump family in the U.S. earlier this week, and has been campaigning for the Republican on social media for at least three years.

Condemnation from the opposition

Political leaders who oppose Bolsonaro spoke out immediately after the attacks.

Former minister and 2018 presidential candidate Fernando Haddad posted several times throughout Wednesday on the subject. One of the publications commented on an image in which one of the Capitol building rioters, appears wearing a jacket exhalting Nazism and mass executions at the Auschwitz concentration camp. "A government supported by fascists only ends in one way: badly. Stay alert," wrote Haddad.

Former Ceará state governor and 2018 presidential candidate, Ciro Gomes, was adamant: "Trump is a bad example for the world and puts not only the United States at risk, but all democratic countries. We have to remain vigilant. Bolsonaro is Trump's apprentice and doormat. It's time for the Brazilian Congress to put a stop to his crimes and move forward with the impeachment process ".

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva reinforced the warning about what could happen in Brazil in 2022. "The invasion of the Capitol clearly reveals what happens when you try to replace politics and respect for voting, with lies and hate, even in a country that likes to present itself as a champion of democracy ", he posted. "For Brazil, it is a warning about the worst case scenario, likely to unfold if Bolsonaro's authoritarianism and his militias are not contained, and if violations of freedom and citizens’ rights continue to be tolerated".

Former Congresswoman Manuela D'Ávila condemned the attacks and recalled the United States' interventionist stance in other countries, undertaken with the pretext of preserving democracy. "Can you imagine what the US Embassy is thinking about what’s going on in their own country?", she quipped ironically.

Guilherme Boulos, leader of the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST), said that January 6th will go down in history as an attempted coup in the USA. "Donald Trump is responsible for the attack on democracy and the death of a person, during the invasion of Congress that he himself encouraged," Boulos wrote.

The president of the Senate, Davi Alcolumbre, and of the speaker of Congress, Rodrigo Maia, have officially spoken out denouncing the threat to American democracy.

Edited by: Rogério Jordão