2022 Race

U.S. Democrats give up on pressuring Brazil’s Armed Forces on electoral non-interference

military us democrats armed forces
U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff: “Senior generals have already begun to publicly question the integrity of the election.” Image: Still from C-SPAN

U.S. Congressman Ted Malinowski, a Democrat from New Jersey, withdrew his amendment to the 2023 national defense budget which aimed at cutting funds from military cooperation programs with Brazil if the country’s Armed Forces insisted on questioning the integrity of the October elections. 

The yeas for the amendment prevailed in a vote called late on Thursday, but Republicans requested a roll-call vote, scheduled this afternoon. The withdrawal had no objection on the House floor.

Last night, however, Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff took the floor to defend the amendment. “This is a simple and straightforward proposition. It requires a review of any actions by the military in Brazil to interfere with their upcoming elections. This is not coming out of the blue, but responds to clear and concerning signals,” he said.

“Senior generals have already begun to publicly question the integrity of the election. The minister of defense sent a preemptive and unfounded formal complaint to electoral authorities expressing, quote, concerns about the election. And generals are getting involved in digging up electoral fraud stories,” he added. Mr. Schiff also pointed out that there are more military officials in the federal administration than there were during Brazil’s military dictatorship. 

Republican Congressman Tim Burchett challenged the amendment, arguing that cutting U.S.-Brazil military cooperation would hinder America’s interests. 

“Brazil and the U.S. have long enjoyed a close and successful security relationship. Both partners work together to address regional security challenges, like terrorist activity along the tri-border area,” he said. 

“Countering narcotics trafficking, including narcotics destined for the U.S. and the Venezuelan regime’s destabilizing activities. This short-sighted amendment fails to recognize our partnership in addressing our national interest and regional stability. It unnecessarily denigrates the reputation of one of our three major non-NATO allies in Latin America,” Mr. Burchett argued.

Mr. Schiff regretted that allowing the Armed Forces to endorse Mr. Bolsonaro’s narrative would enable the president to stage his own version of the January 6 Capitol riots.