With support for Lula, Latin American governments warn of regional risk of coups
Published 01/09/2023 17:37 | Edited 01/10/2023 1:46 PM
Solidarity with the government of Luis Inácio Lula da Silva and Brazilian democracy came from all over the world, in a forceful way. But, in the continental context, the alert for the boldness of the extreme right had a component of appeal to democratic unity among neighbors. Several South American governments balance on ropes of disturbances and coup destabilization attempts.
There are suggestions for multilateral organizations to meet to discuss what is happening. The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro was the most direct in demanding a position from the Organization of American States (OAS): “Fascism decided to strike a blow. The rights have not managed to keep the pact of non-violence. It is urgent time for the unity of the OAS, if it wants to stay alive as an institution, and for the application of the Democratic Charter.”
The Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, spoke out accusing the fascist nature of the attacks: “We condemn the attack on institutions in Brasilia, a repugnant action and a direct attack on democracy. These actions are inexcusable and fascist in nature.”
Speaking as the current president of Mercosur and of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), the president of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez, was emphatic.
“As president of Mercosur and Celac, I warn the member countries that we unite against this unacceptable anti-democratic reaction that tries to impose itself in Brazil. I express my repudiation of what is happening in Brasilia. My unconditional support and that of the Argentine people for Lula in the face of this coup attempt. Those who try to disrespect the will of the majority threaten democracy and deserve not only the corresponding legal sanction, but also the absolute rejection of the international community”.
Even when US President Joe Biden speaks out, classifying the incident in Brasilia as “outrageous” and announcing full support for Lula, he is echoing a well-known mood in his country. After all, Bolsonarism just repeated a strategy already tested in Washington: the invasion of the Capitol, the US Congress.
In comment to Red Portal, historian and Brazilianist James Naylor Green, considers that the OAS is already scheduling a meeting. He goes further, saying that “it is very likely” that there is an international articulation around what happened in Brasilia.
“We still don’t know if there was an international articulation with Bannon and company, but I think it’s very likely. There are political forces in the US and Brazil very interested in determining this. I believe we are going to learn a lot in the coming weeks,” he said, referring to Donald Trump strategist Steve Bannon.
They are actors linked to a scheme of disinformation and exploitation of digital platforms that have maintained great cooperation in recent years, starting from the same booklet. The proximity of the Bolsonaros and Donald Trump demonstrates the sharing of a coup agenda, which is expressed in various parts of the world.
Green is the national co-coordinator of the United States Network for Democracy in Brazil and has been active in his country to articulate progressive forces in defense of Brazilian democracy. For him, the Brazilian extreme right repeats the strategy of the US ultra right by refusing to recognize the democratic process through violence.
But he is optimistic in betting on the weakening of Bolsonarism after Sunday’s attacks. For him, Bolsonaro’s parliamentary base is at a dead end, given the need to condemn the former president’s supporters. “Bolsonaro himself will have to denounce what happened and distance himself from these acts,” he commented. As he suggested, investigations must reach the international level.
The invasion of the National Congress, the Federal Supreme Court and the Planalto Palace shocked Americans and the world, two years after supporters of Republican Donald Trump attacked the Capitol, in Washington, leaving five dead.
“I condemn the attack on democracy and the transfer of power in Brazil. Democratic institutions in Brazil have our full support and the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined. I look forward to continuing to work with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,” Biden wrote shortly after 8 pm yesterday.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also warned that “using violence to attack democratic institutions is always unacceptable”.
Democratic Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has lent solidarity to Brazilian authorities and urged the Biden administration to stop “granting refuge” to former President Jair Bolsonaro in Florida. She defends Bolsonaro’s deportation to explain herself to the Brazilian authorities. For her, it is no coincidence that he is in Florida, close to Donald Trump and far from the events.
There are also suspicions about the trip of the Secretary of Security for the DF, who was exonerated yesterday, Anderson Torres, who traveled to Orlando. Eduardo Bolsonaro, for his part, went to Washington on January 5, 2021. The ultra-rightists in Brazil and the US are part of an international network that coordinates strategies like these.
The Biden administration has the legal authority to act immediately regarding Bolsonaro’s presence on US soil, without the need for congressional legislation.
Leaders of multilateral organizations also expressed their support for Lula. António Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations (UN) condemned the attacks. “I condemn the assault on Brazil’s democratic institutions that took place. The will of the Brazilian people and democratic institutions must be respected. I have full confidence that it will. Brazil is a great democratic country.”
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, the body that sets the European Union’s political priorities, said: “My absolute condemnation of the attack on democratic institutions in Brazil. Full support for President Lula, democratically elected by millions of Brazilians through fair and free elections.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that the Chinese government is closely monitoring what is happening in Brazil and supports the Brazilian government’s measures in defense of political stability.
“We firmly oppose the attacks suffered by the authorities, and Beijing supports the measures taken by the Brazilian government to calm the situation. Under the leadership of President Lula, Brazil will maintain national stability and social harmony”, says Wenbin in an official statement this Monday (9).
Pope Francis also spoke about the turmoil in Brazil. At this Monday’s mass (9) at the Vatican, Francis said he was concerned about the weakening of democracy, “which does not help to solve the urgent problems of citizens”.
“I think of the various political crises in different countries of the American continent, with their load of tensions and forms of violence that exacerbate social conflicts. cases in Peru, Haiti and, in recent hours, Brazil. It is necessary to overcome partial logics and work for the construction of the common good”, asked the pope.
Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov also told journalists that he “strongly condemns the actions of the troublemakers, and we fully support the president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.”
Another world leader who made explicit resistance to coup adventures in Brazil was the president of France, Emmanuel Macron.
“The will of the Brazilian people and democratic institutions must be respected! President Lula can count on the unshakable support of France”, posts Macron.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the coordinated action represented an attack on democracy and could not be tolerated. The British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said that the Lula government “has the full support of the United Kingdom” and condemned the coup attempt.
The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, made it clear that an eventual breakdown of democracy in Brazil could cost the country dearly.
“All my support for President Lula and the institutions freely and democratically elected by the people. We strongly condemn the assault on the Brazilian Congress and call for an immediate return to democratic normality.”
So that it never happens again
Several rulers of the continent, from right to left, expressed their repudiation of what happened in Brasilia, for what it means for governments often destabilized by coup leaders. These are countries plunged into deep economic crises, where disturbances are common. Even Latin American leaders elected by right-wing parties also repudiate the riot in Brasília. Luís Lacalle Pou, President of Uruguay, condemned and regretted “the actions carried out in Brazil that threaten democracy and institutions”. Check out some statements:
“My unconditional support and that of the Argentine people for Lula in the face of this coup attempt. (…) We are together with the Brazilian people to defend democracy and never again allow the return of coup-mongering ghosts promoted by the right.”
Alberto Fernandez, President of Argentina
“Impressive attack on the Three Powers of the Brazilian State by Bolsonarists. The government of Brazil has our full support in the face of this cowardly and vile attack on democracy.”
Gabriel Boric, president of Chile
“The coup attempt by conservatives in Brazil is reprehensible and undemocratic, incited by the dome of oligarchic power, its spokesmen and fanatics. Lula is not alone. He has the support of progressive forces in his country, Mexico, the American continent and the world.”
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico
“I condemn the actions of disrespect and vandalism perpetrated against the democratic institutions of Brasilia, as they threaten democratic order and citizen security. I express my support and that of my government for Lula’s legally constituted regime”.
President of Ecuador Guillermo Lasso
“We categorically reject the violence generated by Bolsonaro’s neo-fascist groups that have attacked Brazil’s democratic institutions. Our support for Lula and the Brazilian people who will certainly mobilize in defense of peace and their president.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.