The military is distancing itself from managing the Bolsonaro pandemic

Former Army Captain Jair Bolsonaro won the presidency of Brazil thanks to a raft of anti-regime and anti-corruption messages. He also based his nationalist rhetoric on the supposed competence and rigor of the armed forces, and upon his coming to power in 2019, he formed a real military government under democracy. But two years later, the military commanders said enough before they were scattered by the disastrous and deadly management of the pandemic.

The sacking of the defense minister, General Fernando Azevedo, and the heads of the army, navy and air force, is an unprecedented event in democracy, revealing the pulse that Bolsonaro has maintained in recent months with the military leadership. Azevedo’s replacement has slipped into Bolsonaro’s largest cabinet reshuffle – six ministries changed their head on Monday – but unrest between the three leaders and their willingness to resign as a gesture of protest has opened up a serious crisis.

The Minister of Defense celebrates the anniversary of the coup and five presidential candidates warn of tyranny

Bolsonaro wants to gain control of the military leadership to support his controversial political decisions and denial against the pandemic, something that former leaders such as Azevedo, as well as Vice President Hamilton Murao, a reservist general who accompanied the elections, opposed. Formula for the far-right leader to prove the participation of the armed forces in his candidacy. This week, Moraw was forced to rule out the possibility that the military unrest could lead to a coup.

The armed forces want to get rid of the president when the health crisis worsens and polling for next year’s elections is no longer favorable. With nearly 4,000 dead, Brazil broke a new record on Wednesday. Hospital occupancy is 95% and vaccination is barely 9% of the population, after the government has been unable to negotiate increased access to antidotes, in part due to the president’s initial opposition to Chinese vaccines.

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Bolsonaro failed in his attempt to militarize the management of the epidemic, and last week he also fired the Minister of Health, Eduardo Pazuelo, the general expert in logistics but without medical training, and was replaced by cardiologist Marcelo Quiroga.

The country recorded a record number of nearly 4,000 deaths, while hospital occupancy reached 95%.

During his tenure, Bolsonaro tried unsuccessfully to persuade the military leadership to support him politically. The leaders described the populist leader as “autocratic” for his failed attempt to persuade parliament to grant him special powers to declare a state of emergency or siege. Thus, the armed forces can control public order and oppose isolations imposed by opposition governors. The president insisted this week: “We have aggression: virus and unemployment.” “Hunger kills much more than
The virus itself. ”He stressed that“ Brazil must return to work. ”

Military commanders also refused to support Bolsonaro when he demonstrated in front of Congress last year to demand the closure of the legislature. Coincidentally, moving away from the armed forces coincides with getting closer to Center The small right-wing parties that made patronage their way of survival.

With the resignation of former president Lula da Silva, who could have voiced the center-left if he were a candidate, Bolsonaro seeks to ensure that he does not escape a single center-right vote in an election that is expected to be polarized. At 34%, Lula already outperforms the far-right leader in the polls, whose popularity is dropping but still has an irreducible support of 30%.

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The three new military leaders are considered polsonarians. The military command took over on Wednesday in front of the new defense minister, General Walter Braga Neto, so far the Civic House Minister (Presidency) and Bolsonaro’s right-hand man. The swearing-in coincided with the anniversary of the 1964 coup that established a 21-year dictatorship, which Braga Neto acquitted with a must-read message in the barracks calling for the “celebration” of the uprising.

In response, five presidential candidates, including Bolsonaro’s Prime Minister of Health, Luis Henrique Mandetta, signed a letter calling for unity in defense of democracy. And they said, “We are not lacking examples to show us that tyranny can emerge from the shadows, provided that societies neglect societies and silence the defense of democratic values.”

Although they were half of them at one point, eight of Brazil’s 22 ministers, plus the vice president, are either the military or the police.

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