Bolsonaro revisits Collor’s strategy by calling for action – 02/23/2024 – Power

Bolsonaro revisits Collor’s strategy by calling for action – 02/23/2024 – Power


It was August 13, 1992, and then president Fernando Collor was excited. Trapped in the middle of a corruption scandal and a deep economic crisis, Collor turned an official announcement in Brasília into a rally in his defense.

On the edge of the precipice, he made a risky move: he called on Brazilians to take to the streets in green and yellow to show support for the government and eliminate the possibility of impeachment. “Next Sunday we will be showing where the true majority is”, shouted the president.

The Sunday in question did not unfold as Collor expected. Thousands of people took to the streets – but dressed in black, to ask for his removal. Just over a month later, the Chamber of Deputies approved the opening of the impeachment process. In December, Collor resigned.

This Sunday (25), former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) will revisit Collor’s populist strategy, hoping for a better result.

Investigated by the Federal Police in a procedure that investigates an attempted coup to keep him in power, Bolsonaro called for a demonstration in his defense. Political scientists estimate that the former president will try to harness the support of his followers to shield himself from possible harmful developments.

“He wants to keep his electorate mobilized to show that he has popular support, that people believe in him and that putting him in jail could set the country on fire”, says Caio Marcondes Barbosa, doctor in political science and researcher at the Center for Studies on Human Rights. USP Citizenship.

In a video released to supporters, Bolsonaro called on them to wear green and yellow and said he wanted a photograph of everyone: “So we can show Brazil and the world our unity.”

For political scientist Cláudio Gonçalves Couto, professor at FGV (Fundação Getúlio Vargas), the search for this image is an attempt to put pressure on the STF (Supreme Federal Court) in the midst of the investigation.

“When he seeks to show that he enjoys legitimacy and that he opposes the legitimacy of those who [supostamente] are persecuting him, he is opposing the Supreme Court himself”, he says.

Bolsonaro continues to inflate his bases in search of a demonstration of political strength, repeating the electoral campaign tone that was maintained throughout the government. Other leaders of the new wave of populists who rose to power in recent decades, such as the American Donald Trump, do the same.

“Populist politicians tend to show that they are legitimate representatives of the people. Therefore, it is important that these politicians constantly show that the people are on their side”, says Barbosa.

Co-author of the book “What We Talk About When We Talk About Populism”, political scientist Thomás Zicman de Barros says that this type of act called for by Bolsonaro aims to demonstrate strength and corner certain institutions.

He states that the right realized, especially after 2013, that it could use populist strategies to compete for power. Along these lines, Bolsonaro was elected by positioning himself as an anti-system candidate who broke with the traditional rules of politics.

“The right until 2013 did not have this vocation, it was a well-behaved right. The candidates did not have much of this popular appeal. What we have seen since then is that this idea that the right can also be transgressive, occupy the street, make a mess to some extent.”

Bolsonaro asked that there be only one demonstration this Sunday — the one on Avenida Paulista —, seeking to concentrate his voters in a single location to show that he still has political strength. But this strategy of using street support as shielding can backfire, as recent history shows.

“It’s a risky bet. If he doesn’t impress, he will show weakness and the political world will move on if he is arrested,” says Barbosa.

The former president also asked that supporters not carry posters with attacks “against anyone”, suggesting that he will not directly criticize Supreme Court ministers, as happened in previous demonstrations, even during his government.

“The point is to reinforce the narrative that he is the victim of a process of persecution and that the scammers are others, who persecute him”, says Gonçalves Couto, from FGV.

Political scientists assess that this Sunday’s act, unlike previous ones, does not have a coup character.

“Although he promoted this act as a defense of the democratic rule of law, which is ironic because he is being investigated precisely for attacking it, the act is in defense of Bolsonaro. The objective really is to show the number of people willing to defend him and that he is still a great actor on the right in Brazil”, says Barbosa.

Gonçalves Couto claims that Bolsonaro trying to defend himself is part of the game. “Those who called for military intervention, impeachment of STF ministers, closure of Congress, were really cases of coup speeches.”

He says that it is not possible to be sure of the tone that Bolsonaro will adopt on Sunday, but remembers that the former president usually backs down when he is at risk.

“I don’t believe in a moderate Bolsonaro, he is an extremist by definition. But there is a Bolsonaro who backs down when he’s cornered. He’s a bit of a fearful guy. When he realizes things are complicated, he tones it down.”


Source link