Will Jair Bolsonaro be arrested?

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By MARCELO SIANO LIMA*

The old practice of conciliation will prevail, at least with regard to the former president, as there is a fear of the upheaval that could lead to his arrest.

I do not believe in the arrest of the former president, at least in the medium term. Despite the innumerable indications of crimes committed by him – and by his allies of the “military party”, big capital, sectors of the Judiciary and the Public Ministry, as well as others, diffuse and/or organized – being of an unparalleled gravity like in Brazilian history.

I believe that, yes, these allies may be condemned and imprisoned, but not him, the greatest extreme right-wing leader in our history, capable of galvanizing a movement that catalyzed the most varied, diffuse and vile feelings of our people. He gave voice and materiality to what is most conservative, authoritarian and reactionary in our society since 1500, hence his leadership and political capital.

The former president was not just another result of the process of political destabilization of the country operated with brutality from 2013. He was the very incarnation of the “avenging angel” of the interests and people who joined him in the construction, since 2016, of of a project to deepen neoliberal institutes under an authoritarian and reactionary bias.

The error of the democratic political forces was to underestimate the electoral potential of these groups, not realizing how the external interests of the countries of the North saw in Jair Bolsonaro the opportunity, taking advantage of his notorious authoritarianism and contempt for the republic, the Constitution and the democracy, to advance in the realization of the project of a neoliberal society, even if this represented the failure of all the civilizing landmarks hard built throughout our history, especially after 1985, with the end of the civil-military government.

The “state of exception” and the process of destabilization experienced by Brazil since 2013 has bequeathed us a fractured institutionality, a society dominated by ideas, speeches and practices of intolerance and hatred, trivialized and elevated to State policies. This resulted in the death of thousands of Brazilians – due to the pandemic, the genocide of populations and the brutal and legitimate increase in the lethality of security agencies. This culminated in the subversion of all due legal process and in actions that, at the apex, led to institutional disorganization and the attempted coup d'état on January 8, 2023, which failed, but whose driving forces remain openly acting.

The cowardice and adherence of sectors of the Judiciary and the Public Ministry, the rigging of security and information agencies by neo-fascist extremism, made, in the last six years, quite complex the confrontation of this movement that, at the limit, aims to reform the Republic, revoke the Constitution of 1988 and define a model of (anti)democracy based on exclusion, the denial of rights, the invisibility of the majority of the Brazilian people, contempt for life and the imposition of a single ethics based on the triad “god, homeland, family” .

Investigating, prosecuting and punishing those responsible for the thousands of crimes committed is an imperative condition for reconciliation in Brazil. The democratic forces, victorious in the presidential elections of October 2022, need to understand the monstrosity and perverse character of the enemy that attacks them: right-wing extremism, neo-fascism. He does not seek dialogue, he moves towards confrontation and discrediting the institutions that he wants to assault and equip.

The old practice of conciliation will prevail, at least as far as the former president is concerned, as there is fear of the upheaval that could provoke his arrest, even if temporary. The hope is that such conciliation does not also apply to the members of this terrorist condominium that threw Brazil into a tangle of crises, all destined to make a tabula rasa of our history.

Finally, and painfully, I am obliged to assume that, as democratic forces, we have always been demonstrating our weakness in the face of the strength of this enemy. Our ability to understand the new times, the new media, is far below that of the extremists, which also gives them the domain of narratives that build “parallel realities”, devoid of a realistic basis, but insanely legitimized in the social imaginary. of millions of Brazilians.

This is our biggest challenge as defenders of democracy, that of resuming the fight for the truth and for the defense of Brazil's great interests, for the reconstruction of civilizing milestones, isolating and annulling the extremists and their proposals for the destruction of this country.

*Marcelo Siano Lima, historian, is a doctoral student in Fundamental Rights and Guarantees at the Faculty of Law of Vitória (FDV).


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