Bolsonaro Makes Generals Uneasy With Statement About Their Role In Democracy

President said that freedom only exists when the Army allows it

São Paulo , Rio de Janeiro and Brasília

​A strange statement made by president Jair Bolsonaro about the Armed Forces brought uneasiness to generals within his inner circle, who tied to do damage control in one more controversy from the president this week.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Bolsonaro had already brought unwanted attention to himself by tweeting a pornographic video and criticizing Carnaval, one of Brazil's biggest popular festivities.

On Thursday morning (7th), Bolsonaro attended an event at the Brazilian Marines Corps headquarters in Rio, and during his speech, he said: "This mission will be accomplished hand in hand with the people who hold family values in Brazil, those who love their country, who respect their families, those who want us close to countries with similar ideologies, those who love democracy. And democracy and freedom only happen when the Armed Forces allow them to exist."

The statement displeased many senior cabinet officers who belong to the Armed Forces and other high ranking officials -- eight out of Bolsonaro's 22 ministers are servicemen.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a ceremony in celebration of 211th anniversary of Brazilian Marine Corps in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 7, 2019 - REUTERS

Left-wing politicians from PT and PSOL also immediately took to social media to criticize the speech, seen by them as an admission that Bolsonaro think that democracy only happens when the Army intervenes.

For the administration's "military wing," however, saw issues with Bolsonaro saying that democracy happens "when the Armed Forces allow," meaning the Armey has the discretion to decide when to act, but that is not granted by the Brazilian Constitution.

But they also think that the most problematic part is when the president mentions people who hold family values and share his ideologies, for then to add the comment on the Armed Forces. With that comment, Bolsonaro made it look like that the Armed Forces are ready to fight those who disagree with him, which he sees as adversaries.

Bolsonaro's public mishaps are starting to shake investors' confidence in his administration. Inside the Brazilian Congress, many think that the president will have to either choose to be open to political negotiations or he will need to face the fact that his term will be a bumpy one.

In the last couple of days, bankers and financial brokers personally sought political parties inside Bolsonaro's base to ask what are the chances for the Social Security reform to move forward. What they heard was not encouraging.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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