© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Brazilian soldiers take part in Army Day celebrations in Brasilia, Brazil April 19, 2022. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo
By Gabriel Stargardter
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil’s military, which is facing calls from supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro to resort to violence after losing elections, is unhappy that its officers are being derided as “watermelons” – green on the outside, communist red on the inside. – and his fans.
Since Bolsonaro lost the Oct. 30 against his leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, small but dedicated groups of his supporters across Brazil have set up camps and armed groups, asking the military to cancel the election results.
In recent days, it seems that some of them have lost patience with the military’s failure to intervene, accusing their senior officers of being communists who like Lula.
“These are the 4 communist leaders who are against the people, they want Lula’s government,” Twitter user Eugenia Moreira da Costa wrote, with pictures of Brazil’s top military leaders. “They’re big watermelons, green on the outside, red on the inside.”
That was a long bridge for soldiers.
In the Nov. 16 seen by Reuters, the army chief said he was instructed by the chief of staff to refuse positions “with lies and lies about members of the Army High Command.”
The document was “bad and an attempt to destroy the honor of the military for more than forty years,” General José Ricardo Vendramin Nunes wrote, not mentioning the watermelon.
The documents turned out to be “false,” he said, adding that “the Brazilian army was united and unified.”
For months, Bolsonaro has called for military support over what he called baseless claims that the country’s voting machine had been rigged. This led to fears that Bolsonaro would not accept losing last month’s elections, and that the military, which ruled Brazil during the 1964-85 junta, would support him.
In the end, those fears were unfounded: Bolsonaro did not prevent a peaceful handover of power to Lula, and the armed forces have so far refused to call for a coup.