Brazil’s Lula Rips Bolsonaro’s Election Fraud Warnings

The presidential front runner accused the incumbent of lying 20 times during a meeting with international diplomats.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with international diplomats in Brasília on July 18. (Palácio do Planalto/flickr/cc)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

Brazilian presidential frontrunner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva this week accused President Jair Bolsonaro of lying 20 times during a meeting with international diplomats in which the far-right incumbent repeated his baseless attacks on the integrity of the nation’s election system.

“The threat to Brazil is not the electronic voting machines, but the president.”

While offering no credible evidence to support his claim, Bolsonaro told dozens of diplomats from countries including the United States and members of the European Union that the Brazilian electoral system is “completely vulnerable” to fraud in the run-up to this October’s presidential election.

According to Folha de São Paulo, two of the diplomats present for Bolsonaro’s 50-minute presentation at the Palácio da Alvorada, the executive residence, accused the president of using “Trumpist tactics,” a reference to former U.S. President Donald Trump’s failed efforts to delegitimize and ultimately overturn the 2020 election.

Bolsonaro and his running mate, former Defense Minister Walter Braga Netto, have repeatedly warned that they may not accept the outcome of the Oct. 2 election if they lose under the current electronic voting system, which has been used since 1996 without evidence of irregularities. In 2000, Brazil became the first country to have a completely electronic voting system.

“It’s a shame that Brazil doesn’t have a president who calls 50 ambassadors to talk about something that interests the country. Employment, development, or the fight against hunger, for example,” da Silva, the leftist Workers’ Party (PT) nominee for this October’s presidential election, tweeted. “Instead, he tells lies against our democracy.”

“Bolsonaro wants to create a mess like Trump did in the U.S.,” da Silva said in a separate tweet. “He wants to create suspicion where there is none. He’s trying to deceive the people to justify some nonsense. He is not afraid of the electronic voting machine, he is afraid of the Brazilian people.”

On Tuesday, da Silva tweeted a link to a PT-affiliated website highlighting “the 20 lies Bolsonaro told the ambassadors.” These include claims that hackers have access to all Superior Electoral Court data and the ability to delete candidates’ names and switch votes, that international observers won’t be able to analyze the integrity of the country’s election system, and that there was fraud in the 2018 presidential election — which Bolsonaro won.

“Monday was another difficult day for the truth in Brazil,” the site noted. “While hunger increases and 61.3 million Brazilians do not know if they will have lunch today, Bolsonaro committed yet another crime of responsibility by convening an event for ambassadors… to parade lies about the security of the Brazilian electoral process… to diplomats who were dumbfounded.”

The page continued:

“With each day closer to an electoral defeat, it is not news that Bolsonaro wants to imitate Trump and promote violence and riots so as not to be removed from the presidency… What he wants is to spread lies to confuse the people.

Unfortunately, he has done so with impunity on social media… Only yesterday YouTube took down a video by Bolsonaro, from July 2021, in which he attacked electronic voting machines with his lies… That’s why it’s important to know the lies told yesterday and, especially, the denials. The Brazilian people cannot fall for this litany. Hunger must be fixed, not the polls.”

Without mentioning Bolsonaro by name, Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Luiz Edson Fachin — who currently heads the Superior Electoral Court and who came under repeated attack during the president’s speech Monday — told members of the bar association in the southeastern state of Paraná Monday that “there is unacceptable electoral denialism on the part of an important public figure within a democratic country and the accusation of fraud, in bad faith, against an institution, without presenting any evidence.”

Many Brazilian leftists accused Bolsonaro of “announcing a coup” to the diplomats, who, according to Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) politician, activist, and writer Guilherme Boulos, understand that “the threat to Brazil is not the electronic voting machines, but the president.”

Investigative journalist Rubens Valente tweeted that “the amount of misinformation and lies that Bolsonaro is telling ambassadors about the electronic voting machines and the judiciary” marks “a milestone in the history of fake news.”

Luciana Santos, vice-governor of the northeastern state of Pernambuco and national president of the Communist Party of Brazil, asserted that Bolsonaro’s speech Monday was “not only shameful, it’s a crime” and “an attack on the country’s sovereignty and the electoral process” that “only reveals his desperation and his authoritarian character.”

Citing election law expert Renato Ribeiro de Almeida, Brasilwire reports that by disseminating lies to the foreign diplomats, Bolsonaro may have rendered himself ineligible to run for president, or, if he’s reelected, may have committed an impeachment-worthy crime.

Bolsonaro, a former army officer during the 1964-1985 U.S.-backed military dictatorship, has praised that brutal regime and extolled as a “national hero” a former colonel who supervised the torture of leftist dissidents including ex-President Dilma Rousseff when she was a young resistance fighter.

Ironically, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency — which played a key role in the 1964 military coup that overthrew reformist President João Goulart —has reportedly rebuked Bolsonaro over his aspersions against Brazil’s electoral integrity. 

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

10 comments for “Brazil’s Lula Rips Bolsonaro’s Election Fraud Warnings

  1. John Perry
    July 24, 2022 at 11:16

    This article gives me zero comfort or hope. Yes, I really want Lula to win as much as I want Bolsonaro to lose. Both Lula and the writer from Common Dreams use Trump as a weapon to advance. . . . electronic voting machines? Even the CIA doesn’t agree with Bolsonaro! Why was the CIA even asked to weigh in on the topic, or considered relevant? Its job has never been to inform the public. Never. As Britton Kiner wrote above, local voting and local open counting of paper ballots is the best way to insure honest elections.

  2. Overlord
    July 23, 2022 at 06:22

    Mr. Lula: “The threat to Brazil is not the electronic voting machines, but the president.”

    How about both are a threat (Bolsonaro and the machines), Mr. Lula? Where are those voting machines from? USA? And he said this after he got already toppled once with lawfare. Why would he do such a thing? What if Lula loses surprisingly and there are irregularities? As soon as somebody does not want to acknowledge the vote and there are these black box machines, which totally defeat the purpose of any election, it is game over. You can not prove everything was clean, if these machines have malfunctions or are full of vulnerabilities, which they all are. You can try to count paper ballots, In the Us election 2016 controlling those machines went terribly wrong, when Jill Stein tried that to find an explanation, why the Greens had less then 0,5 % of the votes, though they polled higher. Oh and she was doing it for Hillary Clinton against Trump, so that was okay, I guess.

    It is like in Bolivia. I was very surprised to read, they have even there some voting machines in rich districts. Why does such a poor country have even these machines? They also did not learn their lesson after Morales was couped, still using machines from the USA.

    In Germany the supreme court banned voting machines after the German hacker group Computer Chaos Club sued the government. Again: Black boxes totally defeat the one purpose voting has – to make the process of a decision for many people transparent.

  3. Afdal
    July 23, 2022 at 05:44

    On the other hand wide swaths of Europe have rejected and outlawed electronic voting machines because, what little convenience they enhance (and this is quite oversold), they fundamentally obscure the counting process (by moving a process done by humans in a room that can be observed by others to circuitry and programming inside a computer), and they introduce a wide variety of additional vectors for electoral tampering that paper systems do not have.

    I hope no one is letting their hatred towards Trump dismiss rightful concerns over transparency that the election integrity movement has been voicing for decades.

  4. Peter C
    July 22, 2022 at 18:28

    “the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency — which played a key role in the 1964 military coup that overthrew reformist President João Goulart —has reportedly rebuked Bolsonaro over his aspersions against Brazil’s electoral integrity. ”

    Revenge for not supporting their ongoing efforts to bring down Russia?

  5. Steve
    July 22, 2022 at 15:53

    To hell with everyone, the environment, other people especially the poor! I used to be a socialist but as the neo-liberals have taken over and made it OK for everyone to be greedy, especially the elites I will now join them. Thank you Ronald and Maggie for helping me see the light seeing the light.

  6. Kev
    July 22, 2022 at 14:13

    This reminds me of the Venezuelan election some years ago where electronic voting and other protections against fraud was considered by observers to be “the best in the world”, including former President Carter. And yet, the election was declared by USA and their supporters to be fraudulent. Then they couped Chavez. (sorry no exact dates, my memory is poor).

    I get the irony of the CIA statement.

    I would add that the censorship of alt news by the Canadian military/intelligence is gearing up. Perhaps they intend to instal Bolsonaro if the vote goes against their wishes?

  7. Guilherme
    July 22, 2022 at 13:59

    Trust in electronic voting machines is giving by those who have no credibility!

  8. Britton Kiner
    July 22, 2022 at 13:24

    worth noting that electronic voting is a terrible idea if for no other reason than the possibility of fraud always exists in systems that can’t be directly audited.

    paper ballots, a precinct-countable voting system (e.g. score voting as described on and citizen volunteer auditors (with possible selection by sortition) is the solution here

  9. July 22, 2022 at 13:20

    Bolsonaro is shamelessly following the same game plan as Donald Trump in 2020. What troubles me is that the US might well support him as they have virtually all Latin American right-wing dictators in the past.

  10. Vera Gottlieb
    July 22, 2022 at 11:36

    Lying and deceiving…in today’s world the best way to get ahead.

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