Brazil, the world’s fifth-largest country, is at a political crossroads. Heading into next year’s presidential elections, the country’s 211 million people are faced with choosing between social democrat and anti-imperialist Lula Da Silva (president between 2003 and 2010) and far-right populist incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.
But many are worried they will not even be allowed to elect anyone. Whispers are turning into shouts about a military-backed coup before next year, as the ailing Bolsonaro -- trailing Lula by 15-20 points in the polls -- seeks to hang on to power. The 66-year-old former military officer recently stated that there are only three potential futures for him: arrested and jailed, killed, or staying on as president, only adding fuel to the fire of speculation.
Bolsonaro came to power in 2018 in a deeply flawed election that saw Lula imprisoned on phony corruption charges. Still ahead in the polls, judges ordered Lula be stripped of the right to stand for office, even from his jail cell. The judge leading the “anti-corruption” crusade (known as Operation Car Wash) was quietly co-ordinating with the prosecution the whole time, and later accepted a position as Justice Minister in Bolsonaro’s cabinet.
Here today to talk about Brazil’s past, present and uncertain future is Brian Mier. Brian is co-editor at Brasil Wire and Brazil correspondent for TeleSUR English. Unlike most U.S. journalists who cover the country, Brian has lived and worked in Brazil for over 25 years and speaks Portuguese. He also co-edited the book, “Year of Lead. Washington, Wall Street and the New Imperialism in Brazil.”
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