The calendar has been filled in recent weeks with demonstrations for and against President Jair Bolsonaro in a pre-electoral environment, although Brazil enters the third wave of infections and there are still 15 months left for the presidential elections. The president and the left led by former president Lula da Silva have taken turns in recent weekends to take their faithful to the streets. Bolsonaro has called the fourth motorcycle march for next Saturday, seven days after tens of thousands of leftists demanded his dismissal in a process of impeachment for his responsibility in the half million deaths from the pandemic.
Bolsonaro and the leftist parties and social movements take turns to show their strength and raise the spirits of their own, although the country still adds more than two thousand deaths a day and only now is vaccination beginning to pick up pace. In the last eight weeks, the far-right president has marched three times at the head of caravans with thousands of motorcyclists in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo while on two occasions the left has held protests that have brought together hundreds of thousands of people in dozens of cities. Lula is reserved for now. He has not come out to demonstrate.
The polls, which are so fond of Brazilians, reveal an increase in rejection of Bolsonaro and that anti-Peteticism, a key favor in the electoral victory of the retired military man, has been losing force since Lula regained his political rights with the annulment of his sentences . This Monday he was acquitted in yet another corruption case.
The president and the Bolsonaristas will shoot next Saturday in Chapecó, in the southern state of Santa Catarina, and they plan other motorcycle mobilizations for later. The far-right movement led by the populist has not stopped demonstrating during the pandemic, which is why the opposition accuses him of promoting contagion and setting a bad example. At first they made caravans of cars, then events in which Bolsonaro created notable crowds and now they bet on motorcycles, with which they generate impact images that are disseminated on networks and give prominence to biker clubs, which are a source of Bolsonarista support. In the US there are also some bikers for Trump who followed him to rallies.
The conviction that part of the 500,000 deaths reached last Saturday could have been avoided with a president who was not a denialist and the fear generated by his authoritarian gestures have led the Brazilian left to conclude that it is time to transfer the pressure to the streets. Take advantage of the wear and tear generated in the Government by the trickle of revelations from the parliamentary inquiry commission that analyzes the management of the pandemic. They are televised appearances that many Brazilians follow as if they were a series and that show how the Cabinet systematically ignored the first offers of vaccines by pharmaceutical companies and made the promotion of chloroquine, an ineffective drug against the covid, into state policy.
Environmental economist Bruna Ciasca, 36, had plenty of reasons to march last Saturday in Rio de Janeiro in favor of the impeachment. “We are here because we cannot support this genocidal government, because of the 500,000 deaths, because it did not support the vaccine, because it delayed purchases (of injections), because it did not support the States, because this federal government is destructive, it destroys the environmental agenda and it is a government of militiamen ”, he enumerated at full speed behind a mask.
Beyond the proclamations and banners, the mobilizations are distinguished because all the leftist protesters wear masks; on the other hand, many of the followers of the extreme right dispense with him. The mask, like the vaccine, is totally politicized in Brazil.
Requests for impeachment against Bolsonaro began to arrive shortly after starting his mandate and have multiplied with the disastrous management of the pandemic, but the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira, is the one who decides whether to process any of the requests. This ally of Bolsonaro has once again insisted this Tuesday that he does not see mature circumstances to start the dismissal and has predicted that the commission of inquiry will have no effect.
Meanwhile, Lula is embarking on seeking allies to prevent Bolsonaro’s re-election in October 2022. At this time, no solid alternative to the Bolsonaro-Lula duel is in sight, although the elites would prefer a more tempered alternative around a candidate from the center. But none of the applicants curdles.
The founder of the Workers’ Party (PT) has received support from some relevant figures of the center, such as his predecessor Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who in 2018 voted null, but now says that he would support the leftist to oust Bolsonaro. But defeating the president at the polls requires gathering votes far beyond the left. This is how Marisa Bambina, an anti-Bolsonaro protester, described the challenge. “To kick Bolsonaro out, we have to win over those who voted for him.” Bambina, a 57-year-old tourist guide, continued his analysis during the march in Rio de Janeiro: “The question is whether the antipetist who voted for Bolsonaro would vote for Lula. If he abstains, we lose ”. The 15 months remaining until the elections can bring many twists and turns of the script, as Brazil’s recent political history demonstrates.
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