Monday, July 6, 2020

In Bolsonaro's Brazil, monarchists dream of restoration

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Descendants of the Brazilian royal family gathered in Rio de Janeiro, in June 2018. Dom Bertrand (2nd from the right) is present. MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP

LETTER FROM RIO DE JANEIRO

Let's face it: by giving an appointment to a monarchist at the café of the museum of the Republic of Rio de Janeiro, we wanted to make a little provocation. " But no ! It doesn't bother me at all! We monarchists do not want to abolish the history of our country! ", smiles Rodrigo Dias, as he sits under the arches of the Catete Palace, which was the seat of the Brazilian presidency until 1960.

Because, yes, Brazil was a monarchy. And even an empire, one of the largest in the world, spanning 8 million km2 (four times the size of the First Napoleonic Empire) which, in 67 years, knew "only" two sovereigns: Dom Pedro I (1822-1831), father of independence, and Dom Pedro II (1831-1889), his son, overthrown and died in exile in Paris.

Portrait of Dom Pedro II, 1872. Oil on canvas, 245x288cm, Museu Imperial.
Portrait of Dom Pedro II, 1872. Oil on canvas, 245x288cm, Museu Imperial. MUSEU IMPERIAL / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

"I have always loved the monarchy. From college, I was passionate about Pedro II : a cultivated, temperate, honest man… ”, remembers Mr. Dias, 37, a doctor by profession and "Vice-chancellor" of the Monarchical Circle of Rio. Himself believes hard as the return of a Brazilian Empire "Constitutional and parliamentary", like Denmark or England. "All prosperous and honest countries are monarchies, believes Mr. Dias, for whom the climate has never been so favorable! "

Read also "Thank you Napoleon", say the Brazilians, by Jean-Pierre Langellier

In fact: the monarchists, long ultramarginals, have a new visibility in the Brazil of Jair Bolsonaro, ruled to the extreme right.

"Monarchist lobby"

Within the executive, several officials do not hide their imperial inclinations; thus the President's Foreign Affairs Advisor, Filipe Martins; or the Minister of Infrastructure, Tarcisio Gomes de Freitas. And especially Abraham Weintraub, in charge of education, who, on November 15, 2019, described on Twitter as"Infamy" the advent of the Republic, proclaimed exactly 130 years earlier.

In parliament, ten elected officials form an embryo of "Monarchist lobby". Their figurehead is quite naturally Prince Luiz Philippe of Orleans and Braganza, himself from the imperial family. At 50, this "Deputy with blue blood", close among the relatives of the Bolsonaro clan, was a time tipped to be its vice-president of the Republic. A shame for this monarchist by birth!

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"Being Republican makes no sense, says he. The Empire was liberal, it brought prosperity and stability. It was a bright moment, interrupted by a small corrupt dictatorial republic. " For the "Dom" Luiz Philippe, Brazil would have “Never been so monarchist: we find groups of partisans in all the States and all the big cities. In all, there must be 100,000 to 200,000 activists and ten to twenty times more supporters. "

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