UOL | Fake news from Bolsonarists exposes disappointment with the Army in the Lula era
Written May 22, 2024

Letícia Casado • Columnist for UOL | Report | 11/05/2024 

The intensification of political polarization and the dissemination of fake news amid the work to rescue the victims of the tragedy in Rio Grande do Sul exposes the disappointment of Bolsonaro supporters with the Army during the Lula government.

Political scientists who analyze social networks say that the movement of Bolsonarists against the Armed Forces has been growing steadily for some time, but has become more crystallized and widespread with the participation of parliamentarians now in the crisis in the South.

Bolsonaro deputies such as Ricardo Salles, Carla Zambelli, Mario Frias and Luiz Philippe de Orleans, all from the PL in São Paulo, have criticized, overt or covert, the work of the military in the state. The proliferation of fake news on the internet has already been the subject of complaints from government ministers and led to the opening of an investigation by the Federal Police.

“When a figure, who was once a minister and is a federal deputy, appears making sarcasm with the military, it really attracts attention, it is a step further”, says political scientist Claudio Couto, from FGV (Fundação Getulio Vargas), referring to Salles. The parliamentarian published a video this Friday (10) criticizing what he ironically classified as “logistical efficiency”.

Some reasons indicate Bolsonarists' disappointment with the military: the lack of support for the coup attempt at the end of 2022; the criticisms made by generals who were against the plan to prevent Lula from taking office; Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid's plea bargain; statements by military personnel at the CPI on January 8; the lack of intervention in the TSE (Superior Electoral Court); and the peaceful actions of the Armed Forces in the current government.

From saviors of the country to discredit

Supporters and members of the Jair Bolsonaro government had the idea that they would remain in power with the support of the Armed Forces. The banners calling for military intervention became a hallmark of demonstrations in favor of the former president — including the events on September 7th.

“It’s no surprise that supporters went to camp in front of the barracks. They were not aimed at just anyone, but specifically at the military. They used 'jungle' (a slang term used by soldiers and majors) as their motto, in addition to the entire military-inspired aesthetic, saluting and marching,” says Couto.

“[Bolsonaro supporters] are finding themselves abandoned by those in whom they placed all their trust [Armed Forces].”
– political scientist Claudio Couto

Ana Julia Bernardi, project director of the Democracy in Xeque institute, says that the Armed Forces began to be seen by Bolsonarists as part of the Brazilian state, which is commanded by Lula; therefore, “they are no longer useful” and “also need to be criticized”.

“Even to show the electorate: 'they (military) didn't support us back there, they didn't collude with our attempt to stay in power and they collude with this government that doesn't help the population'.”
Ana Júlia Bernardi, project director at the Democracia em Xeque institute

Experts consulted by UOL also see behind the comments an organized and well-articulated fake news machine in the distribution of disinformation.

Fake news hinders rescue work

This Friday, Minister José Múcio (Defense) said that the spread of fake news is hindering the work of the military in the South.

“Some unsuspecting people have been disturbing us. We are being victims, especially the Armed Forces, of fake news, of people who, while we are fighting to save lives, these people are thinking about elections, about votes, about attacking”, said Múcio.

Minister Paulo Pimenta (Secretariat of Social Communication) told Globonews that false information about a rescue problem involving the Army caused a team to be moved to a hospital — ceasing to operate in the area they were in — to get there and find out. that was a lie. In addition to not being able to work, the soldiers were also harassed on site.

Since the beginning of the crisis in Rio Grande do Sul, UOL Confere has been reporting to deny the main fake news that is circulating on the topic.

Read the article on the UOL website.

Ana Julia Bernardi
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