The United States government orchestrated a covert operation involving multiple agencies such as the military, the CIA, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the White House, with the aim of undermining former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and facilitating the rise of his far-left successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in 2023.
This revelation has caused a significant stir as it implies a high-level foreign intervention in Brazil’s electoral process, raising concerns particularly with America’s upcoming presidential election. The Financial Times interviewed six former or current US officials involved in the operation, as well as key figures within Brazilian institutions, to piece together the narrative of how the Biden administration engaged in an unprecedented messaging campaign leading up to the Brazilian vote, utilizing both public and private channels.
The climax of these efforts occurred when Lula distanced himself from the United States by opposing sanctions against China and aligning with China-led initiatives to shift the global trade system away from the US dollar.
An article in Financial Times highlights that the United States had a more immediate motive for this intervention, specifically citing the January 6th Capitol insurrection by supporters of former President Trump as a driving force behind President Biden’s strong stance on intervening in Brazil.
The Brazilian military was reportedly cautioned about potential repercussions if they supported Bolsonaro. When Bolsonaro’s supporters stormed the Brazilian capitol following Lula’s narrow victory, the military chose not to intervene. Subsequently, President Biden, along with the left-leaning leaders of Canada and Mexico, issued a joint statement in support of Lula.
Brazil’s Importance to the United States
Brazil is a country of great significance to the United States for multiple reasons. It is the largest country in the hemisphere and possesses vast oil reserves. Additionally, Brazil is home to the Amazon rainforest, the most important environmental resource on the planet, rich in valuable natural resources that can be exploited for profit. Throughout history, Brazil and the United States have maintained a close and interconnected relationship.
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Operation Condor: CIA’s Intervention in Brazil’s 1964 Coup
In 1964, the Johnson Administration collaborated with the CIA in conjunction with Brazil’s military leaders, orchestrated a coup to remove President João Goulart’s democratically elected government and replacing it with a repressive military regime. Although not as severe as those in Chile or Argentina, this military regime in Brazil was backed aggressively by the United States and Great Britain for the next 21 years. However, the Brazilian people’s demand for democratization in 1989 led to the country’s first presidential election and the establishment of a democratic system.
The CIA’s Alleged Role in the 2022 Brazilian Elections
During his time in Brazil while reporting on the Snowden revelations, Glenn Greenwald discovered the significant presence of the CIA in the country due to their Cold War ties. The CIA’s influence in Brazil surpassed that in any other nation, as he was told by a seasoned reporter from The New York Times. This highlights the enduring importance of Brazil to the United States.
The Biden Administration openly supported Lula da Silva’s candidacy over Bolsonaro because, unlike during the Cold War when they favored right-wing governments, they now view populist right-wing movements, including Donald Trump’s, as a supreme threat. Consequently, they strive to undermine, disturb, and defeat such governments. Bolsonaro and Trump had openly expressed their admiration for each other, further solidifying the CIA’s and the Biden Administration’s support for Lula’s victory. The CIA’s involvement in Brazil was not hidden; they played an active role in the country.
The United States’ interference in Brazil’s internal affairs raises important questions about its rightful involvement in other nations’ political processes. While the CIA consistently claims to act in defense of democracy, historical evidence challenges this narrative, highlighting instances where the agency supported undemocratic regimes that violated human rights and suppressed civil liberties. It is crucial to note the hypocrisy surrounding the outrage over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election, while the CIA’s involvement in foreign elections is considered acceptable.