Posted January 11, 2023
By Matt Insley
Election Denialism, Brazilian-Style
In Brazil on Oct. 30, 2022, left-wing Workers’ Party presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva — known simply as Lula — defeated incumbent President Bolsonaro by a hairline margin.
When all the votes were tallied, Lula had garnered 50.8% of the votes compared with 49.2% for Bolsonaro.
Two days after the election, Bolsonaro said “he would respect Brazil’s constitution but stopping short of conceding or congratulating his left-wing rival,” says Al Jazeera.
Thereafter, Bolsonaro stayed mum on the subject, neither confirming nor denying the idea of election fraud — having already stoked widespread mistrust. (More on that below.)
“Bolsonaro may have lost, but his movement, Bolsonarismo, is as strong as ever,” said Brazil-based independent journalist Glenn Greenwald at The Spectator in November 2022.
“[Bolsonaro’s] party is the largest in both houses of Congress. It controls the governorships of many key states, such as Rio and Sao Paulo.
“His most devoted followers, including many in the state and local police, await his reaction,” Greenwald wrote. “Already serious strife is apparent.
“Massive pro-Bolsonaro protests with a large police component are blocking roads and airports as the Supreme Court orders other police officers to stop them. It is, to put it mildly, quite dangerous when police units begin facing off.”
Nevertheless, Lula was sworn in as president on January 1, 2023…
Send your opinions to, firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Rundown for Wednesday, January 11, 2023...
Democracy Or Denialism?
Lula himself is an enormously controversial figure. Although he previously served two presidential terms (2003-2010), Lula was convicted in 2017 on corruption charges related to Operation “Lava Jato” (or Car Wash).
The investigation “exposed a bribes‐for‐political‐access scheme that shook politics in Brazil and throughout Latin America,” says an article at the CATO Institute.
In fact, as recently as 2019, Lula was serving a 12-year prison sentence when “Brazil’s Supreme Court annulled [Lula] Da Silva’s conviction… [ruling] that former judge Sergio Moro, who led the Lava Jato proceedings, had no jurisdiction over the former president’s case.”
Lula went free, then, because of a due-process violation, but he was never retried for his alleged role in the $5-billion “Car Wash” scandal.
(Proving no one has clean hands here, Judge Moro, who’d conveniently jailed Bolsonaro’s main political opponent, was rewarded “with a job as [Bolsonaro’s] minister of justice and public security,” Greenwald notes.)
Early 1980s: Bolsonaro (left) was an officer in the Brazilian Army; Lula (right) was jailed briefly for organizing labor unions and the Workers’ Party
Unlike Lula, President Jair Bolsonaro was an officer in Brazil’s military; after which, his political career emerged virtually out of nowhere. Dubbed the “Trump of the tropics,” Bolsonaro campaigned for president and won in 2018.
Then, on one of the last days of his presidency, December 30, 2022, Bolsonaro flew his presidential plane to Florida where he announced he would be staying at the Orlando vacation home of former Brazilian MMA fighter Jose Aldo for a number of months.
(We understand Bolsonaro took a brief detour to a Florida hospital, apparently suffering from abdominal discomfort from an old stab wound he endured on the campaign trail in 2018… Yes, this story has more twists and turns than a soap opera.)
According to Greenwald, “it’s certainly feasible, knowing what Bolsonaro was capable of doing,” that the Lula administration agreed to back off investigating Bolsonaro’s politician sons for corruption, provided he left Brazilian soil. (To be clear, that’s just speculation.)
But amid a vacuum of leadership, Bolsonora’s devotees ransacked three government buildings on Sunday. And while the mainstream’s been tripping over themselves since to draw comparisons to the January 6 raid on the Capitol in D.C., Greenwald says suspicion of one’s government didn’t originate in the United States, nor is it a new phenomenon.
Plus, Brazilians have much to be suspicious about…
Some Americans would believe the U.S. government’s been in the business of “exporting democracy” around the globe, but in 1964, LBJ in concert with the CIA, overturned Brazil’s democratically-elected government, installing instead a military dictatorship that would last until 1985.
Like we said earlier, no one has clean hands here.
While we strayed today from our usual financial beat, we thought it worthwhile to provide some historical context for the mainstream’s centimeter-deep analysis of what’s happening in Brazil.
Join us tomorrow for another episode of The Rundown.
Market Rundown for Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023
S&P 500 futures are up 0.45% to 3,935.
Oil is up 2.10% to $76.71 for a barrel of WTI.
Gold is up 0.30% to $1,881.20 per ounce.
And Bitcoin’s slightly in the red at $17,400.
Send your comments and questions to, email@example.com