On Sunday January 8, supporters of former far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro invaded the Supreme Federal Court, the National Congress, and the Planalto Palace, the office of the president, breaking through the blockade of the Military Police and the National Security Force at the Esplanade of Ministers in the capital Brasília. After invading the headquarters of the three branches of government, the violent groups vandalized the buildings, looted the armory at the Planalto Palace, and caused tremendous damage to public institutions.
Following the acts of violence, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva condemned the situation, criticized the complicity of Brasília’s public security forces in the attacks, and decreed federal intervention in public security of Brasília until January 31.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court justice Alexandre de Moraes, suspended the governor of the Federal District of Brasilia, Ibaneis Rocha, for 90 days. Moraes determined that Rocha was aware of the preparations for the violent actions, and such events could only occur with the consent and effective participation of the authorities in matters of security in Brasília.
“Absolutely nothing justifies the omission and conspiracy of the Secretary of Public Security and the Governor of the Federal District with criminals who had previously announced that they would commit violent acts against the constituted powers,” wrote Judge Moraes.
The attacks came just one week after the leader of the Workers’ Party of Brazil (PT), Lula da Silva, took office. The attacks have been widely condemned by political leaders and organizations in Brazil as well as from across the globe as terrorism and a coup attempt.
Argentine President Alberto Fernández explicitly rejected the attempted coup. “I want to express my rejection of what is happening in Brasilia. My unconditional support and that of the Argentine people to President Lula da Silva in the face of this attempted coup d’état. As president of CELAC and MERCOSUR, I put member countries on alert so that we unite in this unacceptable anti-democratic reaction that is trying to be imposed in Brazil. Let us demonstrate with firmness and unity our total adherence to the government democratically elected by the Brazilians headed by President Lula. We are together with the Brazilian people to defend democracy and not to ever again allow the return of the coup ghosts promoted by the right,” President Fernández wrote in a thread on Twitter. Brazilian politics is forever shaped by a CIA-backed coup in 1964 against leftist president João Goulart, which ushered in decades of military dictatorship.
Bolivian President Luis Arce “strongly condemned the attack on the Brazilian Congress, Palace and Supreme Court by anti-democratic groups.”
“Fascists will always seek to take by force what they failed to achieve at the ballot box,” Arce tweeted. “Our solidarity with the Brazilian people and president Lula.”
US President Joe Biden also joined in the chorus of denunciations, adding, “I condemn the assault on democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power in Brazil. Brazil’s democratic institutions have our full support and the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined.”
Chilean President Gabriel Boric described the invasion of the headquarters of the three branches of the State of Brazil as a “cowardly and vile attack on democracy.”
Colombian President Gustavo Petro sent his solidarity to President Lula and the people of Brazil. “Fascism decides to carry out a coup. The right has not been able to maintain the pact of non-violence. It is urgent that the OAS meet if it wants to continue to live as an institution and apply the democratic charter,” he tweeted.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel also strongly condemned the attacks. “We strongly condemn the violent and anti-democratic acts that occur in Brazil, with the aim of generating chaos and disrespecting the popular will expressed with the election of President Lula. We express all our support and solidarity to Lula and his government,” he tweeted.
Estas imágenes de vandalismo, destrucción y violencia se han visto antes. Negados a reconocer un triunfo de la alternativa, los bolsonaristas de #Brasil son émulos de los trumpistas que asaltaron el Capitolio de #Washington. #NoAlGolpe. Solidaridad total con @LulaOficial https://t.co/QvMYkLZ9Kk
— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) January 8, 2023
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro also categorically rejected “the violence generated by Bolsonaro’s neo-fascist groups that have assaulted the democratic institutions of Brazil” and reiterated Venezuela’s support for President Lula and the Brazilian people.
Honduran President Xiomara Castro expressed her “unconditional support for President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva against fascism already defeated in Brazil” and called on “the Presidents of Latin America to move to Brazil if necessary to defend democracy.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador deemed “reprehensible and undemocratic, the coup attempt by the Brazilian conservatives urged on by the leadership of the oligarchic power, their spokespersons and fanatics,” adding that “Lula is not alone, he has the support of the progressive forces of his country, of Mexico, of the American continent and of the world.”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also strongly condemned the attacks and called for “an immediate return to democratic normality,” expressing his support to “President Lula and the institutions freely and democratically elected by the Brazilian people.”
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso also condemned “the actions of disrespect and vandalism perpetrated against the democratic institutions in Brasilia, since they threaten the democratic order and citizen security. I express my support and that of my government to the legally constituted regime of President Lula.”
The Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, also criticized the attacks. “The will of the Brazilian people and the country’s institutions must be respected. I am confident that it will be so. Brazil is a great democratic country,” he tweeted.
The member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) also expressed their profound rejection of the serious acts of violence perpetrated in Brazil by neo-fascist groups. The Alliance also expressed “its solidarity with the people and the Government of Brazil and warmed against attempts to break the basic principles of democracy such as respect for the law, institutions and electoral results.”
The International Peoples’ Assembly also rejected the attacks. “Brazil is now witnessing the initial steps of a coup attempt against the recently inaugurated government of Lula da Silva. We condemn this attempt by far-right mobs to seize power against the democratic mandate of millions of Brazilians who voted for change,” the organization tweeted.
The Progressive International also condemned the violence. “Bolsonaristas are leading a violent insurrection in the capital Brasilia, ransacking their way to the Congress, Supreme Court, and Presidential Palace. The Progressive International stands with Lula against these acts of terror and in defense of democracy in Brazil. Today’s insurrection is months in the making. Last September, the Progressive International convened parliamentarians across the world to warn of Bolsonaro’s ambitions to lead a coup through a similar mobilization to the Three Powers Plaza. Bolsonaro may be gone to Florida, but the fight against Bolsonarismo has just begun. The Progressive International calls on progressive forces across the world to stand with Brazil’s popular movements as they prepare to defend their democracy against this violent insurrection,” the organization wrote in a series of tweets.
Similarly, Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chavez, Dominican President Luis Abinader, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez, Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou, among numerous others rejected the attempted coup in Brazil and demanded respect for the will of the Brazilian people.