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Evaluation-Bolsonaro dangers blowback from joint army parade and marketing campaign rally By Reuters

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© Reuters. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro attends an evangelical worship on the Nationwide Congress in Brasilia, Brazil August 3, 2022. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Efforts by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to show an Independence Day army parade right into a political occasion for his re-election marketing campaign has turn out to be a check of the armed forces’ loyalty, retired generals and analysts mentioned.

Bolsonaro is looking on supporters to attend a rally on Sept. 7 – lower than a month earlier than the presidential election – alongside Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Seaside. He additionally ordered the army to parade there as a substitute of their typical downtown route.

That has stoked issues that the far-right former military captain is dragging the army into politics to compensate for his sagging reputation – a grievance heard more and more from each civilian critics and former army brass.

“As commander in chief, he has each proper to alter the army parade venue, however to not hyperlink it with an election marketing campaign exercise,” mentioned retired normal Paulo Chagas. “It is exceptional. The army have to remain out of politics.”

Copacabana’s beach-front avenue shouldn’t be an applicable route for troops and armored autos, mentioned Chagas, a cavalry officer who has paraded 4 occasions on horseback alongside the same old President Vargas Avenue in downtown Rio.

The function of the armed forces in politics is especially delicate provided that Brazil was underneath a army dictatorship from 1964 to 1985.

Final yr, Bolsonaro sacked his protection minister and the highest three commanders of Brazil’s armed forces over resistance to creating public demonstrations of their political help, based on individuals aware of the matter.

“Bolsonaro performs with the fantasy that he embodies the desire of the individuals recognized with the armed forces,” mentioned Christian Lynch, a professor on the Rio de Janeiro State College, evaluating his use of the army’s status to a “parasite.”

Neither Bolsonaro’s workplace nor the Ministry of Protection responded to requests for remark.

Bolsonaro’s efforts to blur the traces between army and political energy additionally come as he ramps up assaults on Brazil’s high courts and criticism of the nation’s electoral system.

Bolsonaro has made baseless allegations of fraud in latest elections and threatened to disregard the outcomes of the Oct. 2 vote, which polls now present him dropping to his leftist rival, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The president bought some military officers to echo his doubts concerning the integrity of Brazil’s digital voting system, including to friction with the Superior Electoral Tribunal, which runs the nation’s elections. Bolsonaro has additionally proposed a parallel tally of the vote by army observers.

“The military is on our aspect,” he informed a political rally final week.

However political analyst Andre Cesar mentioned that’s not so clear.

“The barracks are divided on Bolsonaro. There’s criticism of him each amongst energetic obligation and retired officers,” mentioned Cesar, a founding associate at Brasilia-based political consultancy Maintain Assessoria Legislativa. “They’re more and more uncomfortable along with his habits.”

Carlos dos Santos Cruz, a retired normal who served in Bolsonaro’s cupboard in 2019, mentioned Brazilians could recoil on the president’s efforts to co-opt the vacation marking nationwide independence from Portugal 200 years in the past.

“If the president needs to provide it a political connotation, it’s going to backfire. The Brazilian inhabitants is aware of that it shouldn’t be used for political campaigning,” mentioned Santos Cruz.

Not everybody sees the concept of a joint army and civilian celebration so fraught.

Paulo Kramer, a politics professor on the College of Brasilia, performed down the dangers of democratic rupture involving Brazil’s present army leaders.

“Should you discuss to colonels and generals at the moment, they do not wish to learn about a coup,” mentioned Kramer. “Brazil’s armed forces took so lengthy to get well their fame (after the dictatorship) and at the moment are among the many nation’s most valued establishments.”

But Bolsonaro, who was discharged from the military in 1988 amid allegations of political agitation and insubordination, has constructed his political id round nostalgia for Brazil’s dictatorship and disdain for sure democratic establishments.

On Independence Day final yr, he organized avenue demonstrations the place he referred to as the 2022 election a “farce” and threatened to disobey Supreme Court docket orders. A lot of his supporters referred to as for the closure of the highest courtroom and a army takeover of presidency.

On Tuesday, Bolsonaro urged his supporters to end up once more en masse for his Sept. 7 rally this yr.

“No one needs a coup. There can be an election. However we would like transparency,” he mentioned in a radio interview.

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