Brazil Elections Roadblocks BMS

PHOTO: LUIZ GOMES/FOTOARENA/ZUMA PRESS

-Lula Wins Against Bolsonaro-

On 30 October 2022 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro lost his bid for re-election to former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a runoff that ended with a nearly 50% match, at 49.1 and 50.9 percent of the vote. Bolsonaro has enjoyed a popular following in Brazil during his presidency in spite of being a highly controversial figure who has questioned democratic processes opposed LGBTQ rights, rolled back environmental protections, and generally promoted authoritarian ideals. Lula makes an easy target for rhetoric from Bolsonaro and supporters of the current President, given that the former President and his former Chief of Staff who succeeded him were swept up in investigations and litigation, that even saw Lula jailed, for corruption scandals known as Lavo Jato (Car Wash), uncovered in Brazil and the Latin America region in the late 2010s. An annulment of Lula’s conviction in 2019 by the Brazilian Supreme Court freed the former president to run once again.

-Public Reaction: Protests and Roadblocks-

While it seems that for the time being Bolsonaro’s allies and the Brazilian military fully 
recognize the results of the election, that hasn’t stopped tens of thousands of civilians from taking to the streets to protest and even go so far as to demand that the military step in to stop the transfer of power between administrations. Some Bolsonaro supporters saw his lack of acknowledgement of his loss of the presidency and his encouragement of peaceful protests as a clear signal to take to the streets. The most disruptive of these protests so far have been 100sof blockades of highways around the country, in some cases lead by members of the trucking and transportation industry, though now largely broken up by authorities.

-Civil Unrest Likely to Continue-

While the larger protests that occurred during the first week have abated or been broken up, supporters of Bolsonaro continue to contend the results of the election and openly advocate military intervention of the transfer of executive power, amassing regularly outside of military bases in the country. While confrontations between supporters of the two candidates have been limited, there have been some interactions such as road blockades being cleared by football fans eager to get through and being hailed in media and social media as defenders of democracy for their actions. As 1 January 2023 draws nearer and the administration of the country changes hands, further protests and civil unrest are likely and could escalate in terms of both aggression and organization, even without any direction from Bolsonaro or his allies in government. Brazil has experienced notoriously high crime rates in the past, and while some crime fell during his administration reports of state violence and abuse of authority increased. While many contend that the crime rate in Brazil may have fallen due to policies put in place before Bolsonaro’s presidency, statistics are difficult to discern given additional factors such as the pandemic of 2020 and the fluctuations in criminal activity given the circumstances and impacts, which in many ways are ongoing.

Impact:

-Regional Influence on Recent and Upcoming Elections-
Between 2022 and 2023 several major countries in the Latin American region will have hadlections and transfers of power between political rivals with results hotly contested. Even without any major violence to block or impede new administrations, civil unrest coupled with criminal activity that is likely to increase in the medium term will raise risks across sectors and industries. Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America, and it is likely that unrest there will encourage and/or be encouraged by some level of civil unrest in neighbouring countries, with the influence of social media transcending borders and inspiring local movements where a sense of solidarity against corruption, real or perceived, can motivate citizens on either side of a political divide to take some form of action.

-Effects on Business Travel-

In a best-case scenario in the near term, roadblocks and protests will be an inconvenience thatsecurity planners will need to account for when making arrangements for personnel working in or visiting Brazil and perhaps other countries in the region where elections are upcoming or have recently taken place. However, more than likely the rising risks associated with regional civil unrest and rising rates of crime may require additional precautions to mitigate potential outcomes with high levels of impact on organizational activities.

Recommendations:

Security and travel planners can contact Black Mountain Solutions for Security Services Brazil, 
VIP Executive Protection or Secure Transportation. At Black Mountain, we can also coordinate secure travel and transport in any one of several countries that is likely to experience increased risk over the next year due to civil unrest and rising crime rates.

See https://www.blackmountain-solutions.com/security-services-brazil/ for more information on services provided or contact info@blackmountain-solutions.com