Angle: “carrot and stick” Mr. Lula to the Brazilian army, not easy control | Reuters

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Lula has used a “carrot and stick” to establish his authority over the military, even after the attacks on the presidential palace and parliament on Saturday. President Bolsonaro.

On January 23, Brazilian President Lula (pictured) used a combination of “carrots and sticks” against the army to establish his authority. He is trying to eliminate the deep connection with former President Bolsonaro. FILE PHOTO: A visit to Bure Nest Aires, Argentina, March 23, 2023. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

Lula fired Dealda, the army commander, on Thursday for refusing to follow a government order to remove the “tent village” where Bolsonaro’s supporters had gathered.

The successor was Commander Paiva of the South East Headquarters. A few days ago, in a video posted on social media, he fiercely called on military units to respect the result of last year’s presidential election, where Lula narrowly defeated Bolsonaro.

In a television interview last week, Lula said he believed there was collusion with some members of the military. “I thought a coup had started. I even had the impression that the people involved had followed instructions given by Mr Bolsonaro a long time ago,” he said.

Lula then promised to bring to justice all who were involved in the attack, whether civilian or military, in accordance with the request of the ruling Labor Party.

Lula did not mention the attack when he met with senior military officials on Tuesday, according to a senior government official with knowledge of the meeting.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Defense, Mr. Lula instead focused on the issue of front equipment as weapons that the military considers necessary for national defense.

Lula’s emphasis on weapons development and an increase in the defense budget to ease distrust within the military overlaps with his time as president from 2003 to 2010. It clearly shows his willingness to forge new relationships with senior military officers, even at a time when left-wing forces supported by Lula are calling for an overhaul of the army.

However, it is doubtful whether the pro-Bolsonaro mood within the military can be extinguished by playing it quiet on defense spending.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that Mr Lula had asked the military to depoliticise him. But defense and political risk experts say military leaders, who have won high government jobs and big paychecks under Bolsonaro’s four years, cannot be told to suddenly become neutral.

In fact, among the demonstrators who gathered around the General Headquarters of the Army in Brasilia, demanding a military coup, there were even family members of the current military officers.

Olivier Stuenkel of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a think tank, told Reuters that Lula had no choice but to sack Dealda out of political necessity after the media reported that he had disobeyed the government which he indicated he had not. That’s because Lula is facing pressure from the public to do something about pro-Bolsonaro sentiment within the military.

However, Mr Stuenkel said the government would not go further to remove anti-democratic elements within the army and pursue them.

Brazil’s military handed power to a civilian government in 1985, but unlike Argentina and Chile, no individual soldier has ever been brought to justice for human rights violations.

Because of this, he still thinks he has a say in national affairs, and it will take time to correct such relations between the government and the army, said Mr Stuenkel.

And the efforts of Mr. Lula to change these relationships took time away from him, which is essential to achieve his main goal of ending poverty and inequality.

“It is legally correct to start punishing senior military officers for what has happened, but politically it opens a ‘Pandora’s box,'” said Stuenkel. “Mr. Lula hopes that this problem will pass as soon as possible,” he said.

Musio has persuaded Lula not to take drastic measures that would antagonize the military, said Paulo Kramer, a professor at the University of Brasilia. Musio is a conservative politician, and his appointment as defense minister was welcomed by the army.

Still, distrust of Mr Lula’s Labor Party remains an integral part of the military, which continues to train on Cold War-era national security doctrines, said André Cooper of consultancy Hold Acesoria Regis. Lativa.

“There will be tensions between the army and the left-wing government for the rest of our lives, and there is no going back,” said César.

(Reporter Anthony Boadle)


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