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I’ll tell you about Brazil armed to the teeth before the Lula-Bolsonaro runoff

I'll tell you about Brazil armed to the teeth before the Lula-Bolsonaro runoff

Here's what happens in Brazil before the ballot between Bolsonaro and Lula. The in-depth study by Livio Zanotti

If unheeded, reasonable fears sooner or later materialize into concrete facts and their symbolic, as well as undeniable, evidence. Promoted by President Bolsonaro, the boom in the arms trade in Brazil has for some time aroused widespread alarm, it was a central theme of the heated electoral campaign. The new chapter of corruption. There were the devotees of "let's not be alarmed at all …".

But alarmism is a perversion of reasonableness, therefore quite another thing; and the birds of ill omen are a superstitious abstraction, a legacy of the primitive-magical universe. In much more colorful terms, this is a bit of the sense of the comments made by the chosen team of the policemen involved in the crazy battle (three wounded), shot and hand grenades, unleashed a couple of nights ago in Rio de Janeiro by the well-known former deputy far-right Roberto Jefferson, 69, a personal friend and political ally of President Jair Bolsonaro. They had to take him to prison and there he ended up, for intimidation, outrage and threats to Supreme Court magistrates. The attempted murder was added. He was already under house arrest.

"Every citizen should buy a shotgun!": It may sound a Woody Allen sarcasm or an advertisement from the powerful National Rifle Association of the United States; instead it is the invitation several times lately addressed to the Brazilians by a smiling Jair Bolsonaro, who, with the gesture of cocking the revolver by raising the index and thumb of his right hand, made the usual greeting of the electoral meetings. It is his way of giving security to citizens. Last year it issued three decrees that liberalized the purchase of weapons by private individuals, which if declared hunters or amateur shooters are free to own dozens of rifles and pistols with related ammunition, including large caliber ones. A "reasonable motivation" is enough. In the four years of its presidential term (2018-2022), the Foro Brasileiro da Seguranca Publica recorded a 473 percent increase in arms in private hands. The Brazilians have approximately 4.5 million weapons at home. Global Peace Index ranks their country in 116th place among the 163 countries with the highest private violence index.

I met Roberto Jefferson many years ago, he was already one of the most controversial protagonists of the political scene in Brasilia. It is worth talking about because he is an emblematic character of a certain policy and helps to explain it. Conservative by training, spirited by temperament, with a strong idea of ​​himself, casual and at the same time extremely sensitive, in the early nineties of the last century he became a champion of Fernando Collor. The then head of state accused of corruption who was eventually forced to resign to escape impeachment . And it is again he who about ten years later caused the Mensalao scandal to explode, of the votes bought in Parliament to pass the laws. Jefferson ended up in jail for corruption and money laundering. The prestige of Lula's PT was compromised and that of the founder and leader himself was also vulnerable. The idea that the investigating magistracy attributes to these characters is that the organization of politics costs, the money necessary to finance it in some way must be found and the honor of those directly concerned would lie only in not making personal use of it. An ethic by no means new on any continent.

But Brazil, with its melting-pot in which 220 million inhabitants boil and produce the eleventh GDP in the world, becomes a socio-political test that amplifies every effect out of all proportion, adding now the roar of the shooting and its consequences. . Lula, already a favorite in the run-off next Sunday for the highest judiciary of the state, hopes to gain further and anything but unnecessary advantage. Avoiding the risks of further violence and some nasty surprises. The military party's shadow over the results remains. To comfort him there are polls and street moods. Especially the latter. From the miserable villages of the Northeast to the chaotic outskirts of megalopolises, no one forgets the millions of pantries filled with rice, meat and beans from the first two presidencies (2003-2010) of the former metalworker; nor the redemption of the black and mulatto masses from the segregation in which, despite the rule of law, they maintained the dominant imaginary in social relations. The populous Brazilian democracy remains fragile.

Jair Bolsonaro, profitably reciprocated, bombard Lula with insults and fake news . He also resumed the one according to which if Lula returned to government he would close the evangelical churches, clinging to his alleged intention of taxing their large properties: the tax levy, one of the most unfair on the continent, is one of the best camouflaged battlegrounds. But he does not say a word about the 685,000 deaths killed by Covid which he, mockingly, has always defined as a "simple flu", even throwing the protective mask he was given at the entrance with blatant nonchalance in a waste bin in a home for the elderly. To overturn or more often trivialize problems to propose simplistic, if not completely imaginary, solutions is one of the tricks he most gladly resorts to. It is with this zigzagging that he chases the opponent in the predictions. Some of which calculate that in this desperate and tenacious rush it could also reach it.

Although multinationals and large industrial groups have followed him with more skepticism than support, reproaching him for not having privatized the large state-owned companies, starting with the super-big Petrobras, battered in accounts and in image but still powerful and very appetizing. And the middle class is disappointed that his promised hard hand has not reduced the spread of crime. Then there is dissatisfaction with the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, champion of neoliberalism, because he has liberalized imports rather than exports, increasing competition for local production. Nor do we like the restrictive policy of the Central Bank which, in line with the United States and Europe, aims to bring the cost of money to 14 per cent, curbing investments but not inflation. While competition between the country's major states, Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia and the South leads to an increase in the tax burden in order to make ends meet and strengthen their respective state administrations.

Bolsonaro's fundamental support lies in the gigantic agro-exporting interests, to which he has opened up the exploitation of the Amazon; and in the powerful evangelical militias of which the former army captain is an officiating priest and the faithful family assiduous and participant. In addition to most of the military and white-collar world of Brasilia. The decisive factor in the imminent challenge to the polls, however, seems to be that electorate of the small bourgeoisie of the urban centers, not necessarily religious and in any case not politically committed, which feels squeezed between elites increasingly ostentatiously millionaires in dollars and the growing intolerance of the heterogeneous and a very lively multitude of the marginalized, the world of the favelas but also of wage labor without a contract. Which Lula's PT basically doesn't get to, receiving equally distracted attention. It is here and now, in the next few hours, that in the hopes of the Bolsonarists, the cash of the reserved cash of the Presidency and of the arms dealers could make the difference, win sympathy, subvert the predictions, arrive at a head-to-head on Sunday evening that would push the country in a tragic power vacuum.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/brasile-elezioni-ballottaggio-armi/ on Fri, 28 Oct 2022 05:06:01 +0000.