Speculation that Brazil's right wing president Jair Bolsonaro could be deposed by the military amid the Coronavirus crisis is gaining momentum. One of the latest reports says Bolsonaro will fall within a few weeks and that the military will install the current vice-president in power.
Interestingly, the rumours of the coup-in-the-works came after Bolsonaro controversially praised the military over the 1964 coup that overturned a democratically elected government. The far right leader himself is a former military captain. Bolsonaro, who has been in power for about a year, played down the risk of the Covid-19 epidemic, earning brickbats from around the world.
"Everything indicates that Bolsonaro will fall in a matter of weeks or months. It remains to be seen what will come after him," Global Research wrote in an analytical piece. The piece argues that despite the storied bonhomie between the president and the military, recent developments exposed the fault lines. It says that Bolsonaro has been trying to undermine the powerful Brazilian military. The budget allocation for the military this year was the smallest in more than two decades, it says, adding that Bolsonaro is in a 'serious process of scrapping the Armed Forces'.
'Military openly planning political coup'
It must be noted that Global Research, an ultra left think tank, is highly opinionated in its views and is extremely critical of the western, capitalist systems. "Bolsonaro's project has as its main objective the complete subordination of Brazil to the foreign military and economic powers of the western axis and this project requires the definitive bankruptcy of national military institutions," the article adds.
Global Research decries Bolsonaro's alleged 'neoliberal ideological fanaticism' which it says has seriously endangered national security. The publication says that Vice President Hamilton Mourao recently met a group of generals to discuss ways to bring him to power. "In practice, this means that the Brazilian military are openly planning a political coup to withdraw Bolsonaro and place Mourao in the presidency of the Republic," the article says.
Bolsonaro has been the principal denier among world leaders of the threat of coronavirus. As late as end-March he asked the country to get back to work but governors in a vast number of states refused to ease the lockdown. International media have been reporting that people across the country are calling for his impeachment. However, Latin American political analysts do not think an impeachment process will get underway anytime soon.
The article speculates that the Brazilian military, however, will not grab power per se but rather pass the mantle to the vice-president.
Former President Lula's bid to retake power?
On the other end of the spectrum, Bolsonaro's supporters say his Leftist detractors are sowing confusion among the people amid the coronavirus crisis. In an article, the Panampost said former President Luiz InÃ¡cio Lula da Silva is trying to take advantage of the situation and retake power with the help of his Leftist allies in the region.
The post says that Lula requested the help of former Argentine guerrilla Horacio Verbitsky to achieve the objective of "removing Bolsonaro from power." Verbitsky is a member of the Sao Paulo Forum, the unofficial apex body of leftist political parties and similar movements in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The publication says that Verbitsky's claims in this context are false. It says that Verbitsky wrongly cited a "telephone communication between the high-ranking Brazilian army chief and an Argentine chief in which the former informed him that they had decided to bypass President Bolsonaro in all important decisions."
The post says the Left wing wants to create an impression of impending military coup only to take advantage of the situation and retake power through Lula.