"Brazil, love it or leave it"
One of Brazil's largest television channels, SBT, has launched a two part spot which pays homage to the most bloody period of the military dictatorship which ruled from 1964-1985.
The first television spot plays Brazil's national anthem and closes with the slogan "Brazil, love it or leave it". The slogan was popularized under Emílio Garrastazu Médici who headed the military dictatorship from 1969-1974 and oversaw the dictatorship's most intensive repression of the left and of democratic forces. The legendary Brazilian communist Carlos Marighella was executed under his reign, and an incipient guerilla movement in the Amazon was ruthlessly crushed.
While the period became famous in the United States as an example of the "Brazilian Miracle", the real economic foundation of this miracle was the ruthless suppression of the workers movement and the left. The resurgent profitability of Brazilian Capital was based on stripping away workers rights and the very real possibility labor activists faced of detention, torture or execution. The period saw the wealthiest grow their share of national income significantly while the share held by the poorest sectors of society shrunk.
Vast quantities of money and foreign loans were acquired to sponsor infrastructure projects that enriched regime allies. Most of the great fortunes which continue to economically and politically dominate the country grew exponentially in this period. The other major Brazilian media player Globo, which played a key role in ousting the Workers Party's Dilma Rousseff in 2014, is another such product of big give-outs to regime allies.
The second part of the television spot accompanies the same pictures of Brazil's tourist highlights from the first with the song "Pra frente Brasil" which was promoted during the World Cup of 1970. The song is also widely associated with the dictatorship and the period of Medici's rule.
Under questioning by journalists as to the motivation for the two spots, official representatives of SBT provided no answers. There is little question that the spot is aimed to court the favor of Bolsonaro's incoming regime and help set the tone for the coming political period.
Both Bolsonaro and his allies continue to test provocative symbolic and political statements alongside reassurances of the continuity of constitutionality. The aim is clearly to test how far and how quickly they can go in consolidating the new civil-military regime. The world left must remain vigilant and prepared to offer every bit of solidarity and aid which we can muster to those fighting to resist in Brazil.