I just found out that there are elections in Brazil on Sunday, due to the little attention we are paying them. Normal, we have enough with what we have, and Brazil is a country that catches us far away. They also speak a language that must be as incomprehensible as that of the Portuguese, who are closer to us and we don’t take account of it either, to be aware of the distant Brazilians.
But these elections should matter to us, because they are with us more than we think. Not because it is one of the most populous countries in the world, and its fate is crucial for the entire American continent: it is that Brazil is also the greatest representative, I would say the maximum and most advanced example, of almost everything that concerns us today.
Unfortunately for Brazilians, the great South American country has recently become a concentrate of everything that convulses global politics and that fills our agendas, analyses, columns and gatherings. A concentrate so concentrated that it even turns out to be exaggerated, hyperbolic, when you look at it closely. Take the test, think of any calamity in recent years, and you will see how Brazil is in the lead:
Rise of the extreme right? In Brazil it is not that it grows, it is that it is in the government, and also with its most insane representative. So much so that not even conservative journalists dare to call it “radical right”, “alternative right” and other euphemisms that are applied around here to Meloni and company. Bolsonaro is a fascist without dissimulation, without half measures, without a mask. He is so fascist that he even seems like a caricature, his pronouncements are so beastly, his confessed nostalgia for the dictatorship, his apology for violence, his militaristic bent and above all his policies.
Polarization, increased political confrontation? In few countries like Brazil, where under the Bolsonaro government polarization is already violence, including threats, beatings and murders, while the possession of firearms grows and the still president accelerates the creation of militias at his service.
information manipulation, fake news, hoaxes, use of social networks? Just like Bolsonaro’s communication policy. This is how he came to power, this is how he has remained, and this is how he has conducted his electoral campaign.
Candidates who question and reject the election results? In the case of Bolsonaro, he does not wait for election night: he has spent months questioning the voting system, and warning that he does not intend to accept the results if they do not favor him.
doLawfare, end the political adversary through the “legal war”? In Brazil they were the pioneers, brushing off first President Dilma Rousseff, and then the current candidate Lula da Silva, unjustly imprisoned and disqualified. A judicial coup that served as a model for other similar processes in Latin America.
Threats to democracy? There is Brazil, where the elections are held in national emergency mode to save democracy after the destruction of Bolsonaro. Lula has managed to bring together with him everyone who is not Bolsonaro in Brazil, from left to right, including old political rivals.
If they do not have enough, we continue, that there is more. Denialism? No matter what denialism we talk about, Bolsonaro brings them all together in his person: a denier of the pandemic, vaccines, climate change, violence against women, science… All of which has not only resulted in outbursts, but above all in ruthless politics.
And of course the pandemic itself, to list recent calamities: in few countries has it hit like in Brazil, where the resistance of the denier president to accept medical evidence, take control measures and vaccinate the population, has caused nearly 700,000 deaths .
We can continue, if more recent problems occur to you: conservative revenge against the rights of oppressed minorities? I am sorry to repeat myself, but once again the answer is Bolsonaro, the misogynist, homophobic and racist president who, not only with his words, but also with his policies, has encouraged the increase in violence against these groups.
I already say: Brazil with Bolsonaro has concentrated, re-concentrated all the calamities of our time, and in a hyperbolic way. We will see what happens on Sunday: if the democratic response of the Brazilian citizenry is just as hyperbolic, and with Lula’s victory, the dark stage of Bolsonaro ends. Or if his response to his possible defeat is as hyperbolic as his government has been, and leaves the events of the Capitol as an anecdote. Let us hope that, in such a case, the international community will be just as hyperbolic in its defense of democracy and against the coup.