In Brazil, the coup that did not take place

But what did he miss? Tuesday morning, September 7, everything seemed ready. Numerous and motivated activists, ready to do battle. Social networks invaded by trolls and far-right “fake news”. Trucks lined up by the dozen, capable of breaking down police roadblocks and blocking the country’s roads. The conditions seemed ideal for Jair Bolsonaro to finally be able to launch “his” long-awaited coup.

But events decided otherwise. “Flopou! “, did we say in Brazil (in French: “It floped”). At the end of a highly chaotic week, as Brazilian history knows how to reserve, Captain Jair Bolsonaro finally faltered, releasing his troops in the midst of an assault, and renouncing his putschist inclinations. A hard blow, considerably weakening his authority, one year away from the presidential elections.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also For the national day of Brazil, Bolsonaro manages to mobilize broad and threatens democracy a little more

Feedback on the events. Jair Bolsonaro has been calling for a large popular mobilization for weeks on National Independence Day. Objective displayed: one “Very probable and necessary counter-coup” (according to the president) potentially aiming for nothing less than to close the Federal Supreme Court (STF), Congress, and why not, by the way, establish an authoritarian regime …

The main target, however, remains the STF, which sits in Brasilia opposite the presidential palace on the Place des Trois Pouvoirs, and more precisely one of its eleven judges: Alexandre de Moraes. The 52-year-old man, with a smooth head and an elegant bearing, is “The lie in person”, according to Jair Bolsonaro who accuses him of leading, on behalf of the federal institution, two investigations targeting the president and his relatives on the dissemination of false information and the existence of digital militias of the extreme right.

Flight forward

Facing the judges in black gowns, Bolsonaro knows he is in a weak position. Victim of the Covid-19 crisis (585,000 deaths), the economic and business crash, its popularity is in free fall. Barely one in four Brazilians supports the action of the head of state, given largely the loser against the left in the presidential election of October 2022. For many, at the top of power, the only way out is now to head forward.

“You can’t win a war with flowers!” “, Jair Bolsonaro repeats. For weeks the president has only the words “Rupture” and “Exit from the Constitution” To the mouth. Everywhere, it mobilizes its troops: the pastors beat the recall in the churches. Soybean producers send their trucks in reinforcement. Some police and military reserve or retired openly declare themselves ready for the coup.

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