the scammer line

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By PAULO SERGIO PINHEIRO*

Official letter from the Minister of Defense, General Paulo Sérgio Nogueira de Oliveira, endorses Jair Bolsonaro's threats

Doubts have been hovering for months about the position of the armed forces in the face of a possible coup or turmoil before or after the elections. Now all doubts are gone. If we take into account the recent manifestation by the Minister of Defense to the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), their alignment with the president's coup line seems to have consolidated.

During the Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, in the meeting with President Joe Biden, the Brazilian president, with a collar in his hand, claimed “we want clean, reliable and auditable elections so that there will be no doubts about the election afterwards. I am sure that it will be carried out in that democratic spirit”.

Almost at the same time, in Brasília, in a letter to the Minister President of the TSE, Edson Fachin, the Minister of Defense, General Paulo Sérgio Nogueira de Oliveira, endorsed Bolsonaro’s threats saying: “we are not interested in concluding the electoral process under the shadow of voter distrust. This distrust is only in the minds of the president, the minister and right-wing extremists, as the overwhelming majority of voters trust electronic voting machines.

In the “technical” letter, the general states “that so far, I reiterate, the Armed Forces do not feel properly honored for responding to the honorable invitation of the TSE to join the CTE (Commission for Transparency of Elections)”. Alleging that the TSE did not promote a “technical” discussion of the military proposals. I have never seen, in the entire history of the Republic since 1988, military ministers express heartache for not being “prestigious” by a superior court. The main role of the TSE is not to honor any segment, except the electorate.

And if the general thinks that Minister Edson Fachin does not give enough prestige to the Armed Forces' ego, what will the Minister of Defense do? Remove the ministers? Close the TSE? In reality, by assuming all of the president's denialist flags in relation to electronic ballot boxes, the minister, in mellifluous language, rehearses a "pronouncement" well in the style of banana republics of the continent where military give ultimatums to supreme courts.

After having flown 4034 kilometers from Los Angeles to Orlando for a motorbike, returning to Brazil, the president immediately reinforces the “pronouncement" of the Minister of Defence. Bolsonaro attests that the Office of the Defense is “technical”, that “we cannot have an election under suspicion” and that the Defense raised “hundreds of vulnerabilities” about the election.

In specifying the military proposals, the minister aligns himself even more with the ongoing disqualification of the TSE by the President of the Republic when asking that the body facilitate the audit of ballot boxes by political parties. In fact, as the president defends: “which would complete a list of measures able to increase the transparency of the process”. This is exactly what Instituto Voto Legal proposes, a company appointed by the PL, Bolsonaro's party, which, in order to supervise and audit the elections, intends to change the rules of the TSE.

At the end of the ultimatum, the same trolló is invoked of the need to improve electronic voting machines, “implying, therefore, that (sic) the adoption of improvement measures is permanent and carried out with maximum security, transparency and reliability and can be audited in all its phases”. Evidently, with the implementation of all the proposals made by the Armed Forces. The president himself would not have found a better formulation of the coup line against the elections which, we now know, the armed forces adhere to with enthusiasm.

Scary, lewd, pathetic. At least it should serve as a warning for the OAB, ABI, ABC, SBPC, civil society organizations, trade unions and workers' centrals, universities, research centers, employers' associations, democratic candidacies of all parties to the presidency and state governments, give up the fantasy that the October elections will go smoothly and that the institutions will work. Ledo mistake, they really won't, except probably the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office in the states, the TSE, STF, some non-Bolsonarist state governments, the Senate perhaps. Better all and all start building peaceful and competent resistance to the coup in preparation in full view of society.

*Paulo Sergio Pinheiro he is a retired professor of political science at USP; former Minister of Human Rights; UN Special Rapporteur on Syria and member of the Arns Commission. Author, among other books, of Strategies of illusion: the world revolution and Brazil, 1922-1935 (Company of Letters).

 

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