Brazil congress attack: Argentine opposition draws comparison with domestic politics

Right-wing leaders compared the attacks in Brazil with anti-cuts protests and the Fernández administration’s attempts to impeach the supreme court.

Argentine politicians across the spectrum have condemned Sunday’s attack on Brazil’s congress, Supreme Court, and presidential palace. While ruling center-left Frente de Todos coalition has voiced solidarity with Lula, the Juntos por el Cambio opposition has compared the attacks with the internal wrangle for Argentina’s Supreme Court.

The comments have helped mark political battle lines at the start of an electoral year.

In Argentina, comments on behalf of politicians about the topic sparked internal controversies. As Frente de Todos leaders President Alberto Fernández and Vice-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner both expressed solidarity towards Lula and demanded the protection of democracy, Right-wing representatives from Juntos por el Cambio chose to link the anti-democratic attacks in Brazil with some of the political debates that both parties are currently engaged in. 

“I want to express my rejection of what’s happening in Brasilia. My unconditional support and that of the Argentine people to Lula in view of this attempted coup he’s facing,” President Alberto Fernández tweeted. 

Vice-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner compared the events in Brasilia to the storming of the US Capitol, blaming hate speech in the media and contrasting “the new right” with “those of us who believe in the national popular and democratic”.

Former president Mauricio Macri tweeted against the attacks, adding: “Let’s not forget that the kirchnerismo that’s shocked by what’s going on is the same movement that organized and starred in a violent attack against the National Congress in 2017,” he said. 

He was referring to a December 2017 protest against a reform that cut state support to retirees, pensioners, and social security recipients, in which demonstrators threw rocks at the Congress building and clashed with police, who cracked down with tear gas and rubber bullets. Macri also compared the riot in Brazil to Fernández’s request to impeach the Supreme Court justices, announced last week. 

María Eugenia Vidal, Macri’s ally and former Buenos Aires Province governor, tweeted directly against Fernández. “A president that’s willing to overthrow the judiciary has no authority to say that anyone’s a coup plotter. The republic must be always protected, not just when it’s convenient,” she said. 

The impeachment process has already started according to the Congress’ protocol and will be treated first in the Lower House’s impeachment commission. 

Far-right former security minister and 2023 presidential hopeful, Patricia Bullrich, tweeted: “Here, they [kirchnerismo] want to occupy the Supreme Court and destroy the Congress (…) the day you withdraw your impeachment request against the Supreme Court, you can give your opinion on what’s happening in Brazil,” she added, addressing President Fernández directly. 

Javier Milei, another possible presidential candidate and a congressman for the Partido Libertario in the Lower House, didn’t comment on the events in Brazil in his own words, but shared a statement by the international organization Madrid Forum, in which he participates along with Donald Trump and Bolsonaro. The statement said: “we condemn the violence carried out by those who attacked the Planalto Palace (…) but we also denounce the double standard of progressive leaders who supported Lula da Silva but are silent when it comes to similar episodes in other countries.” 

Later, Milei retweeted several accounts praising Bolsonaro and his presidency, as well as saying that yesterday’s events were far from being anti-democratic.

As Argentina braces itself for a tense election year, candidates and political leaders have used the attacks in Brasília as a way of positioning against each other or in relation to anti-democratic behaviors and institutional crises. 

Political representatives from all ideological backgrounds criticized the uprising. From conservatives Guillermo Lasso, Emmanuel Macron and Luis Lacalle Pou, to progressives Gabriel Boric, Gustavo Petro, and Luis Arce, dozens of world leaders spoke out in rejection of the attacks.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald