national emergency

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By JOSÉ DIRCEU*

The incompetence and bravado of Bolsonaro and his military ministers in the face of the pandemic could be the equivalent of what the Malvinas War was for the Armed Forces of Argentina, the beginning of a lasting discredit.

An unstable equilibrium settles in the country at a moment of extreme gravity, of national emergency. Brazil is in a situation of extreme risk due to the easing of the social isolation necessary to contain the coronavirus pandemic or even the total fraying of preventive measures. All this provoked by the criminal action of the President of the Republic and his government, which act slowly, safely and gradually to free up all economic activities. To do so, they avoid applying the necessary measures for the survival of commerce, service companies and small and medium-sized industries.

At the risk of causing a tragedy, we witnessed the call of protesters by the President of the Republic – his armed militias – to invade hospitals and check if there are ICU beds available for the population, when it is public and notorious that most hospitals are already operating at the limit of its capacity. With this attitude, the Bolsonarist shock troops endangers the safety of doctors, nurses, employees and the patients themselves.

Exactly when governors and mayors need peace and tranquility to face the pandemic, in a context of economic recession, with a drop in revenue and an increase in expenses and investments in health and safety, Bolsonaro delays the release of resources to States and Municipalities and triggers a series of police operations supposedly to combat illegal purchases of respirators and PPE. These operations do not hide the true political objective of embarrassing, threatening and cornering their opponents, those who defend social isolation.

When the country should be fully focused on fighting the pandemic, Bolsonaro continues his authoritarian climb, recreating the Ministry of Communications and handing it over to a member of the Silvio Santos group in the person of his son-in-law, deputy Flávio Faria. And he issues an unconstitutional Provisional Measure that violates the autonomy of universities, which the President of the National Congress in good time returned to the Executive.

Faced with the inexorable investigations carried out by the Federal Supreme Court and the Superior Electoral Court (which involve accusations against one of his children of illegal use of resources to finance a fake news in the 2018 election campaign and, now, against his opponents and the ministers of the Supreme Court), Bolsonaro signs a note with his deputy and the minister of Defense, all reserve soldiers, openly threatening to disobey and not comply with decisions of the Electoral Justice or the Supreme Court. The real reason for the note was the STF's preliminary decision denying the Armed Forces a supposed moderating power and signaling the submission of military power to civilian power and the Constitution.

Every day the opposition to Bolsonaro grows. In the last week we have seen the multiplication of street demonstrations, with due care and distancing; the manifestos of different sectors of society; the unified position of the trade union centrals; the requests for impeachment signed by all leftist parties; the firm position of entities such as OAB, CNBB, ABI, Fenaj, AMB, AJUFE and CNMP, defending the Constitution, the National Congress, the STF, in short, democracy. The conviction is taking root in society that the center of the crisis is the president himself and his evident – ​​and every day more daring – military tutelage.

As the superior courts (the TSE and the STF) insist on complying with the Constitution, continuing the request for the impeachment of the Bolsonaro-Mourão ticket and the investigations into the fake news and attacks on ministers of the Supreme Court, Bolsonaro, his deputy and the Minister of Defense dared to threaten not to comply with court decisions. The three committed crimes of responsibility. As I have denounced on several occasions, the military has illegally granted itself a moderating power and intends to place itself above the Constitution.

The seriousness of Bolsonaro’s action, that of his deputy and the Minister of Defense, stimulated new actions against the STF by the Bolsonarist shock troops, who attacked the headquarters of the Supreme Court with fireworks.

Unfortunately, parties like PSDB, DEM and MDB, responsible for the 2016 coup against President Dilma and for Lula's arrest, falter or oppose Bolsonaro's impeachment. Broad sectors of the business community and the commercial media also insist on keeping him in the presidency, despite the repeated crimes he commits and the now daily threats to legality. This is how center-right politicians and the business and media elite support him based on electoral calculations and/or to preserve the so-called liberal reforms of the Minister of Economy. By putting democracy at risk they are committing suicide

It is imperative and a condition for the maintenance of political and civil freedoms, of the social rights conquered in the 1988 constitution, to remove the President of the Republic from his duties. If the TSE removes the Bolsonaro-Mourão ticket, the way forward is to call general elections and restore popular sovereignty polluted by fraud, fake news and abuse of economic power in the 2018 elections.

We cannot deceive ourselves with false questions. Nor underestimate the military and the armed extreme right that supports Bolsonaro. It is time for all democrats to unite to save Brazil from another dictatorship. Without freedom and free elections, the people are defenseless and lose their main instruments of struggle: voting, the streets, strikes and demonstrations, freedom of organization and expression. Nothing can be more important than freedom and democracy, a condition for the struggle for the inalienable rights of the working classes.

This is no time for lukewarmness and compromise in relation to violations of the Constitution, nor for vacillations regarding the role of the Armed Forces – which will be held accountable by history, once again, for the humanitarian tragedy that has claimed more than 40 lives and will kill much more if the daily blows that undermine the practice of social isolation are not prevented.

The coronavirus pandemic and the health crisis resulting from the incompetence and bravado of Bolsonaro and his military ministers – since the uniform is in the hands of the Ministry of Health – could be the Malvinas War of the Brazilian Armed Forces.

* Jose Dirceu he was Minister of the Civil House in the first Lula government. Author, among other books, of Memoirs (general editor).

Originally posted on the blog Knockout.

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