Jair Bolsonaro has won Brazil’s Presidential election in the final round. Bolsonaro has secured 55% of the vote, defeating the Workers Party candidate Fernando Haddad.
Bolsonaro has been propelled to victory by a sophisticated imperialist intervention coordinated by the US, in alliance with the right wing in Brazil. This imperialist intervention took the form of decapitating the left – starting with the Parliamentary coup against Dilma Rousseff in 2016 and then the imprisonment of Lula da Silva earlier this year. It also took the form of building up the far right candidate, Bolsonaro, in light of the collapse of Brazil’s traditional centre-right bourgeois political party, the Social Democracy Party (PSDB). Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon was an advisor on Bolsonaro’s campaign and millions of dollars were given by international capital to spread inflammatory, reactionary fake news and slander against the Workers Party on the scale of a tsunami.
Sections of liberals have attempted to confuse the real character of Bolsonaro by creating the fake category of ‘strongman/woman’, ‘populist’ etc. So Bolsonaro is claimed to be part of a ‘wave’ similar to Trump, Duterte, Putin – supposedly following on earlier leaders such as Peron. This claims that Bolsonaro is a ‘Brazilian nationalist’. This fake category is aimed to conceal the fact that Bolsonaro is in fact a pure puppet of the US, aimed at entirely subordinating Brazil to the US, whereas leaders such as Peron, Duterte, Putin etc were bourgeois nationalist leaders attempting to differing degrees, and inadequately, to pursue a path of national independence from US imperialism. Bolsonaro is not a ‘Brazilian nationalist’ he is a simply a follower of the regime in Brazil he most admires – the Brazilian military dictatorship which was a pure pawn of the US.
Bolsonaro’s win is one of the greatest, possibly the biggest, geopolitical defeats for the left in 20 years – since the historic election of Hugo Chavez in 1998 which spearheaded a massive advance for the left across Latin America.
Donald Trump will now have a puppet presiding over the fifth largest country in the world and the eighth largest economy. Trump will want to use Bolsonaro as a tool to attack the left across Latin America particularly the left governments in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Mexico. Military intervention to overthrow the Maduro socialist government in Venezuela is a serious possibility. Trump will also want to use Bolsonaro as his puppet on the world stage – from participating in the US’ political and economic war on China to derailing the international struggle to stop runaway climate change.
The working class and oppressed in Brazil are in an immensely dangerous situation. Last week Bolsonaro issued a chilling threat that he would “banish” the left from Brazil. He has relentlessly encouraged an intense wave of far right violence and attacks on the left, women, LGBT people, black people and journalists. He has outlined his plans to bolster and institutionalise this violence through empowering the military and the police.
The left and progressive people of Brazil urgently need international support and solidarity on an immense scale. Across the world progressive governments, political parties, politicians, trade unions, public figures and celebrities, women’s organisations, LGBT movements, anti-racist movements, the anti-war and peace movements and the environmental movements must speak out against Bolsonaro and defend human rights, democracy and social progress. We also need to redouble our efforts to demand that Lula da Silva, political prisoner and the person who would have beaten Bolsonaro in this election if Brazil’s right wing, conservative judiciary, in an alliance with the US, had not banned him from standing for President, is freed. Lula Livre!
* Updated at 10.15am on Monday 29 October 2018 to reflect the final percentage of votes for Jair Bolsonaro.