The gun attack on the cavalcade of Brazil’s former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-11) confirmed what many predicted would happen after the coup on the country’s parliament and judiciary in 2016: the alarming march of Brazil along the twisted road of fascism.
Moisés Pérez Mok
The impact of three bullets on two of the buses in Lula’s cavalcade touring Brazil – which attempts were made to destroy also by spreading twisted nails known here as miguelitos (‘little Miguels’ after current President Michel Miguel Elias Temer Lulia) on the road to pierce tyres – were the latest testimony to this premonition.
The dangerous incident, fortunately resulting in no victims, took place between the towns of Quedas do Iguasu and Laranjeiras do Sul, in the southern state of Paraná, and alleged blame for it was attributed to fascist militias – which acted with the complicity of the local police – linked to far-right official shortlisted presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro ( Liberal Social Party).
The seriousness of the incident can in no way be downplayed because these were shots and not mere words or cowardly messages posted on the internet, journalist Joao Paulo Cunha remarked in an article published in Brasil de Fato; and he reminded readers that in the days before the attack the cavalcade and its followers were subjected to several acts of violence, including an attack in Rio Grande do Sul on four women who ended up in hospital.
Indeed, even before the fourth phase of the Lula for Brazil project was launched on March 19 in the gaúcho town of Bagé, the National Executive Committee of the Workers’ Party (PT) warned about the escalation of violence and authoritarianism gripping the country, in a statement.
As individual and collective rights are violated a ‘state of exception’ (as described in Georgio Agamben’s book of the same title) is progressively being imposed on the country, cloaked in dialogue of hatred and intolerance, Cunha’s article said, stressing that it is in this oppressive environment that the coup government of Michel Temer is progressively implementing its reactionary agenda. For Brazil’s deposed democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff, the gun attack on Lula’s cavalcade “is serious and occurs at a difficult time” for the country.
Dilma has said that “fascism is intolerable and will be condemned by all of us who believe in social justice and politics as instruments of true change.”
In fact, at a press conference held days after the events in Rio de Janeiro with former Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, she condemned the fact that the attackers were made up of “real militias” – far right armed groups – and she said that these were the result of an escalation in the coup mentality that had removed her as president in 2016.
In her opinion, it is precisely these radical groups that are setting the tone for politics in the conservative camp, disseminating hatred.
Brazil’s monster, the far right, which beforehand had neither a voice nor representation and today has both, is out of the box; it and far right-wing movements such as the MBL (Free Brazil Movement) are represented by Bolsonaro, she said, warning that “it represents intolerance towards everything and everyone.”
The clearest example of the link between the fascist tendencies of today and the slavery of yesteryear is the use of the whip by these groups and militias which use it to flog those who hold opposing political beliefs, she cited as a case in point.
The cruel execution in Rio de Janeiro just two weeks beforehand of human rights champion and councillor of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL) Marielle Franco, considered to be the first political assassination to have taken place during the term of the current government, also figures as part of this escalation in violence
“We know that democratic resistance has entered a new phase, marked by the test posed by open violence,” explained journalist Moreira Leite, warning that “the risks of an attack on Lula’s life cannot be underestimated even for a minute.”
He explained, however, that any care taken in the future concerning the security of the founder of the PT must at no time compromise Lula’s ties with the people.
The cavalcades represent from their very first phase “an attempt at rallying citizens to recapture democracy and lend support to the only candidate capable of overcoming the legal-media consortium responsible for dismantling this hard-won democracy following 21 years of military dictatorship,” he stressed.
During the recently concluded fourth phase of the Lula for Brazil project, the former president condemned the fact that the cavalcade had been “hounded by fascists and prominent landowners” and accused Brazil’s free-to-air television network Rede Globo of “inciting hatred” in the country. (PL)
(Translated by Nigel Conibear – DipTrans IoLET MCIL – firstname.lastname@example.org)