Analysis: U.S. agencies targeted ‘election-deniers’ in Brazil before the election

by WorldTribune Staff, November 2, 2022

For more than a year and leading up to Sunday’s presidential election in Brazil, top officials from the White House, Defense Department, State Department, and CIA met with and called Brazilian officials to implore them to cut off any efforts by President Jair Bolsonaro to contest the results of the election.

Bolsonaro has not explicitly conceded and did not say that socialist felon Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was the victor, but did say that he would obey the constitution of Brazil. Bolsonaro’s chief of staff said that Lula would become president as would normally happen.

Jair Bolsonaro, left, and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Bolsonaro received 49.17 percent of the vote compared to 50.83 for da Silva, a former president who was convicted in 2017 for money laundering in a major operation that saw many South American politicians and executives arrested.

On Monday, shortly after media reported the results, Joe Biden spoke with da Silva “to offer his congratulations on his election,” a statement from the White House said.

Biden “commended the strength of Brazilian democratic institutions following free, fair, and credible elections. The two leaders discussed the strong relationship between the United States and Brazil, and committed to continue working as partners to address common challenges, including combating climate change, safeguarding food security, promoting inclusion and democracy, and managing regional migration,” the statement said.

Prior to Sunday’s vote in Brazil, and right on cue, leftists insisted that Bolsonaro would not accept the outcome and the result would be an “insurrection” type event akin to Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

“There’s a parallel here with what we saw after the U.S. elections in 2020 and then Jan. 6 — I think it’s made everyone’s antennae much more sensitive to these things,” Matt Duss, a former top foreign-policy advisor to Sen. Bernie Sanders, was quoted as saying by Foreign Policy.

Sanders and Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine passed a resolution in the U.S. Senate last month voicing support for Brazil’s democratic institutions in what Foreign Policy described as “a less-than-subtle signal from Congress to Bolsonaro.”

In July 2021, Team Biden CIA Director William Burns went to Brazil to meet with senior officials and warn them that Bolsonaro should stop casting doubt on his country’s electoral process.

A month after Burns’s visit, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan visited Brazil to reinforce the same warning.

In June 2022, Team Biden said that Joe Biden had relayed the same message during his meeting with Bolsonaro at the Summit of the Americas meeting in Los Angeles. A month after that, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pressured the chief of the Brazilian armed forces to commit to upholding safe and transparent democratic elections.

“The Biden administration expects all candidates to respect and accept the results of free and fair elections. We have made this clear to Brazilian officials, just as we do concerning elections held in countries around the world,” a spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council told Foreign Policy when asked about the matter. “We are monitoring the upcoming elections in Brazil closely. We trust the Brazilian people and have faith in the strength of Brazil’s democratic institutions.”

Some analysts say there were early signals that the pressure from Team Biden paid off. The Brazilian news outlet Estadao reported last month that U.S. pressure may have played a hand in persuading Brazil’s armed forces not to back any unfounded claims by Bolsonaro of fraud in the first round. The Brazilian military disputed the report.

Crowds of Bolsonaro supporters – including Brazilian truckers – have used burning tires and vehicles to shut down major routes since polls closed on Sunday, pledging not to accept Lula’s return to the presidency. Protesters reportedly were blocking highways partially or fully in 156 locations as of Wednesday morning, down from approximately 190 the previous night.

“He cannot concede, impossible,” Steve Bannon said of the results in Brazil. “Screw Biden, screw the State Department, screw the CIA, f*ck ’em.” He said that “we have to outvote the machines, we have to be in the counting room… This is why we need people to get out the vote, force multiplier.”

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