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Bolsonaro receives boost from military allies

Bolsonaro receives boost from military allies

Malcolm Beith

Brazilian President Jai Bolsonaro is awesome to the military, but is unlikely to return Brazil to military dictatorship after taking office on 1 January. 1. How he addresses the country's problems with crime and corruption is another matter. In Brazil, there were more than 63,000 homicides in 2017 and the military has become the main force against the gangs problem.

General Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, a former UN mission chief whose friendship with Bolsonaro began in the 1970s when they were trained together at the country's Military Academy, has high hopes for the new president. "He is honest. He will respect the law 100 percent, "he said over the phone from Brasilia.

There are good reasons to be skeptical about Dos Santos Cruz. Bolsonaro is known as the spur of military power, the torture of political prisoners, and has publicly demonstrated his homophobia. He said that criminals are "not normal people" and have no rights. At a time when activists and investors are afraid of the rise of right-wing governments around the world, Bolsonaro is another big question mark.

"Bolsonaro said he would" cleanse "- he said it – homosexuals, the poor and blacks," said Anielle Franco, an activist and sister of the murdered city councilor Marielle Franco of Rio, at the World Human Rights Summit on AFP. "I'm scared of him," she said.

Dos Santos Cruz, who led UN missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Haiti during his career before becoming Brazil's Secretary of State for Public Security until his resignation in July, rejected the fears of an authoritarian crackdown. "Why are you calling? [Bolsonaro] Right? "He said about the foreign media. "[He is] It's one thing to be a socialist in Europe, another to be a socialist in Latin America. "

Dos Santos Cruz has no doubt that Bolsonaro will respect human rights concerns as he attacks the gangs and organized crime that plagued Latin America's largest nation – and its strongest economy – in recent years. President Michel Temer deployed 30,000 troops in the Rio de Janeiro favelas in early 2018 after he admitted that organized crime had taken "Rio de Janeiro". According to a representative of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the region, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Since he has no authority to comment on this issue, the Brazilian gangs, mainly in Rio and Sao Paolo, are increasingly making Links to international organized crime syndicates in the region and even in Europe. In Rio and Sao Paulo, prison gangs have wreaked havoc on business, while local militias – paramilitary forces consisting largely of former police officers – have joined forces to form a gangs vigilante operation. The councilor of Rio, Franco, an outspoken critic of the militias, was killed in March in a shoot-out attributed to the militia just before the military took over police operations in the city.

US Adm. Jim Stavridis, who led the US Southern Command and frequented Brazil between 2006 and 2009, wrote a column for Bloomberg, arguing, "While I was at Southcom, Brazil leaned as far as possible from the US military … there were real barriers separate us. "

Under Bolsonaro, he wrote: "Be aware that the Brazilian military is spending more on US defense systems to practice with us in training exercises, especially at sea and in the air, and on Drug Enforcement Agency and Pentagon teams to step up the fight against drugs take part [and] participate in anti-terrorist exercises with the US. "

"Bolsonaro will not slow down at all for human rights violations, but will accelerate the hard fist fight he promised during the campaign," he said in an e-mail, adding that Bolsonaro is unlikely to "receive a serious setback from the military." empower them. "

Dos Santos Cruz was relentless that Bolsonaro would not rock the boat too much. "I'm 100 percent sure that human rights are more respected [under Bolsonaro]"One reason is that Brazil is being examined more by foreign investors and lenders than ever before, he said." We will respect human rights much more. "

Stavridis stated in his e-mail that "the situation is in Venezuela [Bolsonaro] Influence on the international community because it can be part of the solution. "In Bloomberg he made the claim that Bolsonaro" completed a US sweep in South America "…. Except for Venezuela … the continent is now US friendly, "he wrote.

Bolsonaro's actual test, of course, will be to fight corruption. Operation Car Wash, launched in 2014 by Judge Sergio Moro against Petrobras and high-ranking officials, including former President Ignacio Lula da Silva, serving a 12-year prison sentence, has proven that corruption can be prevented. November raised his eyebrows and gave early ammunition to critics.

Moro, a vocal advocate of Law 12,850, a Brazilian law passed in 2013 that has helped law enforcement agencies and prosecutors prosecute criminal organizations through wiretapping and pleading, has said in earlier interviews that he is not political. As soon as he was appointed, Gleisi Hoffman, president of the Labor Party of Lula, tweeted him about "deceit of the century."

"Judge Sergio Moro will be Minister of Justice in the government of Jair Bolsonaro, who was elected only because Lula was wrongfully convicted and prevented from voting in the elections … by Judge Sergio Moro," she tweeted. "Helped to choose, to help, to govern …"

Brazilian journalist Eliane Brum described the appointment as "obscenity," while Latin American expert Michael Reid of Economist wrote: "Moro's prison in Lula now looks like a political act."

Dos Santos Cruz defended Bolsonaro for corruption and said he knew that it was in his best interests to crack down on it. "Corruption is Brazil's worst thing," he said. "By fighting corruption [Bolsonaro] can change the budget. The public money will go where it belongs. This change makes Brazil much more serious [foreign] Investment."

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