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It’s time to punish the coupists!

By Henrique Canary, translated from portuguese by Daniel Kraucher
Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil

Datafolha* published yesterday (21) a detailed opinion poll about the coupist demonstrations that have been carried out in the country since Bolsonaro’s defeat by Lula on October 30. According to the institute, 75% of respondents are against this type of demonstration, while 21% are in favor. In addition, 56% defend that there be some type of punishment for those demanding a coup or military dictatorship, while 40% are against any type of punishment because it would be a democratic right. The survey, which was carried out face-to-face, interviewed 2,026 people in 126 cities between the 19th and 20th of December. The margin of error is plus or minus two percentage points.

Some segments are particularly interesting. Among those who voted for Bolsonaro, 50% are against the demonstrations, while among Lula’s voters it reaches 96%. Among those who voted blank or null, 90% are against the demonstrations. Regarding punishments, only 29% of Bolsonaro voters support some type of punishment, while among Lula voters it reaches 81%. Among those who voted blank or null, 58% support the demand for legal accountability.

The map produced by Datafolha is strongly influenced, of course, by the electoral result of the second round of the elections. In the Center-West and North regions, for instance, where Bolsonaro won, 29% of respondents support the coup demonstrations, while in the Northeast, this support is a mere 14%. The same goes for the possibility of punishment. In the Northeast, 69% believe that coupist should be punished, while in the Center-West and North this percentage is 45% and in the South, 54%.

Religion is also a factor that influences people’s opinions. Among catholics, 80% are against the demonstrations, while among evangelicals the number drops to 65%. Parallel to this, 60% of catholics defend some type of punishment for coupists, while among evangelicals the number is 45%.

Among women, 78% say they are against coup demonstrations, while among men it stays in 73%.

Finally, personal income is also a factor that influences opinion, with the poorest expressing more categorical opinions against the demonstrations and for punishing the coupists. Among those who make up to two minimum wages [something like US$ 500 a month], 81% are against the demonstrations and 63% defend the punishment. Among those who make up to ten minimum wages [around US$ 2,500], 51% are against the demonstrations, while only 33% believe that some punishment is necessary.

That is, in general, even taking into account the different political, regional, religious and economic strata, there is a solid social majority against the demonstrations promoted by coupists and, in general, although to a lesser extent, also a favorable majority to punish those responsible.

Brazil is faced with the possibility of producing, perhaps for the first time in its history, real justice for those who were responsible for the suffering of the people. Bolsonaro and his coupists are aware of their crimes and openly declare their fear of being punished. It is no wonder that they cling so strongly to positions with privileged jurisdiction and try all kinds of behind-the-scenes deals to avoid any kind of legal persecution.

On the other hand, Lula will start his third term with a wave of hope having taken over the country. This is no time to turn a blind eye on historical grime. We have already made this mistake by granting amnesty to the murderers and torturers of the military dictatorship. The result is there for all to see: the military and civilians coupists once again put their wings outside to try to impose a new dictatorship in the country. We cannot repeat the mistake. It is necessary to “debolsonarize” the Brazilian State, investigate the organizers and sponsors, arrest and persecute the ones involved, dismantle the networks of support and of distribution of lies and conspiracy theories and expel Bolsonarists from all State structures. It is required a real struggle for truth and justice. It is necessary to impose a definitive defeat on Bolsonarism, not just a momentary recoil. And for that, the new government can count, as we can see, with the support and sympathy of the majority of the population. There won’t be a better window of opportunity than this one. It’s time to punish the coupists.

*Datafolha is the survey institute linked to Folha de São Paulo.

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