The Post’s Ishaan Tharoor has an interesting rundown of differences and similarities between the events of Jan. 8 in Brazil and Jan. 6 two years ago. The fundamental difference, which any expert would have told you in advance, is the role of the Brazilian military and security services. Less than 40 years ago, Brazil was under military rule. Military rule is not some fantastical dystopia there. It’s the reality that most of the country’s political class grew up in.
Brazil’s insurrectionists had studied Jan. 6 closely. You can see that in so many of the visuals. But there was a key difference. The focus of the insurrectionists’ plan, in advance and on the day of, was to build support within the military. They camped out around military bases. They tried to build links to military factions. Nor was this some vain hope. It’s generally agreed that the military and security services were and are sympathetic to Bolsonaro. But political sympathy is not the same as a willingness to intervene to overthrow the political order. Tom Shannon, a former U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, told Tharoor: “The Bolsonaro people had really studied January 6 and the conclusion that they came to was that Trump failed because he relied on a mob and that he had no institutional support.” Institutional support, in this case, being the army and the police.