From Donald Trump to Santiago Abascal de Vox, the international far right is uniting around what, according to Steve Bannon, will be a top priority in 2022: to re-elect Jair Bolsonaro as President of Brazil.
For the left too, the Brazilian elections of 2022 are shaping up to be a contest that could deal a crucial blow to an increasingly well-organized far-right network.
Former Trump spokesman Jason Miller was recently detained and questioned for three hours at Brasilia airport. Miller, whose arrest was first reported by Metropolitan Portal, was in Brazil to participate in the local version of the Conference on Conservative Political Action (CPAC Brasil). The annual event hosted by the Conservative Union of America has become increasingly international over the past three years, with conferences also held in Japan, Australia and South Korea.
Miller is currently the CEO of Gettr, a right-wing social media platform created after former President Donald Trump was banned from Twitter and several other platforms in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot. . The former Trump aide has been questioned by Brazilian Federal Police. in connection with his possible involvement in “undemocratic acts”, suggesting that Miller could be suspected of having conspired with Bolsonaro to engage in a campaign of disinformation. Federal Supreme Court Minister Alexandre de Moraes ordered Miller’s questioning as part of an ongoing investigation into Bolsonaro’s attempt to discredit the electoral system and undermine the 2022 election.
Miller’s detention at the airport caused a stir among other CPAC attendees. Matthew Tyrmand, a Steve Bannon protege who was also in Brazil for the CPAC event, claimed that the Brazilian Supreme Court ordered Miller’s detention on the basis of explicit anti-Bolsonaro bias.
According to his Atlas network profile (retired after his trip to Brazil), Tyrmand is the son of Leopold Tyrmand, a Polish writer who edited the anti-Communist publication Chronicles of culture. After working on Wall Street for a while, Tyrmand began writing in 2016 for Breitbart, the far-right media site previously run by Steve Bannon.
Most importantly, Tyrmand is one of the board members of Project Veritas, a right-wing organization that claims to expose plots and crimes committed by liberals and leftists. However, the main activity of the organization appears to consist almost entirely of attacking journalists, political groups and social movements, and has well documented links to anti-labor groups who sought to destroy the teachers’ unions.
According to an American Federation of Michigan Teachers publication:
Project Veritas had revenues of $ 3.7 million in 2015, the year for which its most recent public tax records are available. While most of its donors have not been publicly disclosed, we do know that the Donors Trust, the Koch-linked foundation that has been called “the obscure conservative right-wing ATM,” has donated more than 2 , $ 1 million since 2012. The Donors Trust is funded by anonymous contributions from donors to the Koch Network, which allegedly includes Betsy DeVos and her husband. Donald Trump is also a Project Veritas donor, contributing $ 10,000 in 2015. Trump has referenced Project videos during the presidential debates and Donald Trump Jr. has tweeted about them.
Jair Boslonaro’s son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, was also present at the CPAC meeting. There, Eduardo championed Project Veritas and spoke about the need to create a Brazilian version that would similarly monitor journalists and expose political biases in the media. In addition to Eduardo, Tyrmand also met Jair Bolsonaro and his son Senator Flávio Bolsonaro at the official Brazilian presidential residence.
As Tyrmand, Miller and other Bannon proteges worked behind the scenes, Bannon himself spoke openly about the importance of Bolsonaro’s campaign to the international far right:
Jair Bolsonaro will take on the world’s most dangerous leftist, Lula, an all-media-backed criminal and communist here in the United States. . . . This election is the second most important in the world and the most important of all time in South America. Bolsonaro will win, unless [it] is stolen.
Bannon thus repeated Bolsonaro’s unfounded claim that electronic voting machines could be tampered with to secure his defeat. that of Bannon praise for Bolsonaro generally agrees with the view of the international far-right movement that Bolsonaro is the last great defender of “Western civilization”.
The Bolsonaro family has become a key player in a growing far-right network that appears to increasingly focus on Latin America. In 2019, Eduardo Bolsonaro announced that he would represent South America in the Movement, a consortium of conservative European representatives founded by Steve Bannon that supports populist nationalism and rejects the influence of “globalism”. Although the Movement’s political impact has been negligible, it has helped Eduardo Bolsonaro consolidate international alliances and position himself as his father’s unofficial ambassador in far-right circles abroad.
Eduardo was recently embroiled in one of the most baffling developments in far-right international politics. The Foro de Madrid is a “coordinated effort between different actors, from different ideological spheres, who share their determination to face the threat posed by the growth of communism on both sides of the Atlantic, which is supported by the Forum de São Paulo and the Puebla group.
Besides Eduardo Bolsonaro, the Foro is headed by a figure whose presence in Latin American politics seems to be increasing: the leader of the Vox party Santiago Abascal. The Spanish politician created Foro as an international platform promoting xenophobia and white supremacy. He shares with his other colleagues the same visceral hatred of anything that smacks of leftist or progressive politics.
The relations of Abascal and Vox with Latin America are strengthened. Abascal recently visited Mexico, where he received the support of fifteen senators and three members of the Congress of the National Action Party and the Institutional Revolutionary Party.
Likewise, President de Vox and Minister of the European Parliament Hermann Tertsch recently visited Peru, where he was received by opposition forces currently under investigation for sedition in their campaign against left-wing President Pedro Castillo. Tertsch was also appointed by the former Bolivian dictator Jeanine Áñez for the Sakharov Prize, awarded by the European Parliament in recognition of “freedom of thought”. Within the European Parliament, Vox is currently trying to push forward its agenda for the governing body to oppose left-wing governments in Latin America.
As a Zetkin collective writing in Jacobine Latin America, Vox has established contacts with prominent right-wing politicians in almost all parts of Latin America, hoping to expand his sphere of “Ibero influence” across the region.
The far right is organizing and showing its commitment to destabilize progressive movements and governments around the world, especially in Latin America.
Bolsonaro’s Brazil is the great bastion of the global far-right, and the president is making more and more overtures in its leadership as he sees his re-election hopes vanish.
Bolsonaro’s desperation became particularly evident after his failed September 7 rally. Cornered, the danger of Bolsonaro calling for international support is real. The 2022 elections will be a decisive battle not only for Brazil but for the whole world.