Crisis In Brazil


Aleena Pawa, Staff Writer

On January 8th, there was an incident in Brazil regarding their president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. A day earlier, a bus full of frustrated passengers who were ready to attack made their way to the capital. The bus took the people from Brazil’s agricultural heartland to uproot the regime. A fellow passenger, Andrea Barth, had recorded other people’s intentions for when they arrived. Most of their responses had to do with removing the current president who is a leftist, which they did not agree with.

Passengers had visions of violence and plans of attack. All of those who were ready to protest were supporters of the far-right former president, Jair Bolsonaro. They were dedicated to this man and wanted him back to running the country. This was only one of more than a hundred buses of Jair Bolsonaro fans who were heading to the Brazilian capital. On the morning of January 8th, 2023, the chaos began when a pro-Bolsonaro mob invaded and ravaged Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court, and presidential offices. The raid was broadcasted all over the world and sent the whole of Brazil into shock.

Rioters had the intent of encouraging military leaders to topple President Lula who had just gotten into office a week prior. The attack was similar to that of the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021. The right-wing protesters thought that the election was rigged, so with this mindset, they continued stomping through the halls of power. This attack showed the threat of far-right extremism motivated by antidemocratic leaders and conspiracy theories. To regain control of the country, more than 1,150 rioters were arrested.

An investigation conducted to figure out if Bolsonaro may have inspired this havoc. It was opened on Friday, Jan. 13th. It is being questioned how a band of protesters who had greatly publicized their plans had made their way into the country’s most important government buildings so easily without facing enforcement. There are several videos on social media that showcase some of the officers overlooking the protesters and failing to take any action. The recordings display a mob that was led by a small group of extremists set out to destroy and had effortlessly gotten across a tremendously outnumbered amount of police. Officers seemed to be commiserating and taking pictures as they were destroying things around them.

A man who said that he went over to see what was going on, saw the police just wave him over toward the riot. The  investigation will also be focusing on the large gap between the number of rioters and police present. The governor, who was responsible for protecting the buildings, was suspended, along with the two top security officials who worked for him. The political juncture of the country is as challenging as it was in 1985 when civilian leaders replaced a 21 year ongoing military dictatorship. All the destruction in the heart of Brazil’s capital has caused the nation to descend into an awful state.

Since Brazil has gone through so much in its past– graft scandals, huge protests, economic crisis, tense elections, presidents being imprisoned and or impeached– the nation is now starting to lose faith. This raid really divulged the vulnerability of Brazil’s democracy. Those involved in the riot had been preparing and announcing their plans all over social media. However, warnings from intelligence officials were disregarded and went without being noticed. Brazil’s democracy is very weak right now. The assault of the capital failed to overthrow the elected government, but it showed how extremism is threatening Latin America’s largest democracy. Interviews with protesters shows that they are not even close to being done.