WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
12 Sep 2022 | WOLA Statement

WOLA Welcomes Bicameral U.S. Congressional Letter and Resolution to Protect Democracy in Brazil

On September 7, five U.S. Senators and five House Representatives introduced a bicameral resolution urging free, fair and peaceful elections in Brazil. WOLA applauds these efforts and urges U.S. policymakers to pass the resolution before the first round of Presidential elections scheduled for October 2

The resolution was introduced by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and their House colleagues Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Sara Jacobs (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Susan Wild (D-PA). 

U.S. policymakers are concerned that President Jair Bolsonaro is showing distrust of the electoral system and spreading misinformation. They called on the Biden Administration to “make it unequivocally clear that the costs of subverting a free and fair election will be immediate and severe.” Congresswoman Jacob added that if Bolsonaro refuses to accept the result of the election “the United States should not formally recognize or provide military aid to an illegitimate government.” 

Two days later, on September 9, a bicameral letter signed by 38 U.S. lawmakers was sent to President Joseph Biden expressing their concern about the unprecedented threats Brazilian democracy is facing, including the risks of political violence faced by candidates who are female, LGBTIQ+, indigenous and Afro-Brazilian. Lawmakers encouraged Biden to tell President Bolsonaro that any attempts to subvert the democratic process will be “met with serious consequences.” Signers of the letter include Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and House Representatives Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Susan Wild (D-PA). Given what the U.S. experienced during the January 6 insurrection, the U.S. policymakers believe the U.S. has a duty to “use all available diplomatic and assistance tools to denounce and deter actions threatening to incite political violence in the country and undermine the integrity of its electoral process.”

WOLA shares the concerns raised by U.S. policymakers regarding rising tensions, political polarization, disinformation and threats to political violence in Brazil. We strongly condemn the reckless statements made by President Bolsonaro that include urging his supporters to attack the Supreme Court and asking the armed forces to run a parallel vote count. We thank U.S. policymakers for the resolution and the letter and ask them to continue to monitor and act on developments in Brazil.