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Bolsonaro Comments About Resisting Potential 'Communist Attack' and Uruguayan Crime/Violence Wave

May 12-18, 2022 | Issue 8 - SOUTHCOM

Stacey Casas, Jhamil Moya, Daniel Ruiz, Jan García, SOUTHCOM Team

Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his supporters[1]



Date: May 13, 2022

Location: Brazil

Parties involved: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro; Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva; local authorities; ammunition and firearm manufacturing companies

The event: On Thursday, May 13, during a meeting with the country’s rural producers, Bolsonaro stated that when "families have weapons they can help the armed forces to resist a potential communist dictatorship." Bolsonaro's statements were made during the electoral campaign for the upcoming October 2 general elections, in which his rival, Lula Da Silva, is leading the polls.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Jair Bolsonaro will likely continue to push an agenda to facilitate the acquisition and carrying of weapons to promote his political campaign. If Bolsonaro's pro-gun initiatives progress, it is very likely that the purchase and sale of guns in the country will grow, likely leading ammunition and firearm manufacturing companies to benefit economically. A large sector of society will likely support Bolsonaro's gun initiatives, favoring him in the campaign for the presidency.

  • Bolsonaro supporters will likely arm themselves to counter the potential “communist dictatorship threat” mentioned by the Brazilian president. Pro-Lula da Silva citizens will likely buy firearms in response to the acquisition of weapons by their political counterparts, likely resulting in gun casualties causing injuries and deaths. Due to increased tensions between citizens, the number of firearm attacks between Brazilian citizens will likely rise when the election date approaches.

  • The rejection of more flexible gun laws will likely produce a greater backlash against Bolsonaro’s campaign, favoring Lula Da Silva. An increase in homicides due to the easy purchase and acquisition of weapons is likely to affect Bolsonaro's electoral results, with voters choosing candidates opting for stricter gun legislation. Other political parties will likely seek to announce pro-stricter gun legislation electoral programs in order to be more relevant in public discussions. Electoral turnout will likely increase in the October 2022 elections as citizens will likely try to avoid pro-weak gun legislation parties, likely causing agglomerations in polling stations and raising tensions between opposing voters.


Date: May 14, 2022

Location: Uruguay

Parties involved: Uruguayan government; Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou; Uruguayan Interior Minister Luis Alberto Heber; Uruguayan law enforcement agencies; Uruguayan drug gangs; Africa; Europe

The event: Uruguay faces a wave of violence that could mean a record high for homicides which, according to the government, are perpetrated by drug gangs.[3] The country has become an important drug transit point in recent years. Heber said on Wednesday that, "police efforts are going to be redoubled in the fight, without backing down an inch" after meeting with Pou.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The drug trafficking flow in Uruguay is almost certainly to increase due to the geostrategic importance of the country in exporting drugs from South America to Africa and Europe. If drug trafficking increases out of Uruguay, violence and murders will likely increase due to the continuous clashes between opposing gangs in a growing struggle to control the transit zone. The police deficiencies and their inability to eliminate drug trafficking routes in Uruguay will very likely end in a drug cartels' open war.

  • The Uruguayan government and local authorities will likely seek to implement new measures to combat the crime wave in the country. Investment in citizen and border security will likely rise to increase police capacities to address the security crisis. Security efforts by Uruguayan authorities are likely to result in short-term captures, seizures of drug shipments, and the dismantling of criminal organizations. The latter will likely help reduce the country's rising homicide rate while likely improving the immediate perception of security among the population.

  • The persecution of drug gangs will unlikely solve the structural causes that allow Uruguay to be a drug exporting country in the long term. Increased drug gang violence will very likely raise social concerns in Uruguayan society. Citizens will likely hold the president accountable for the strengthening of these groups and the rising violence, very likely resulting in protests demanding more efficient solutions. Social unrest will likely force Pou to implement more stringent security policies aimed at increasing border security and police surveillance in areas with high drug trafficking activity, such as in the city of Montevideo.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]Cerimônia de abertura da 36ª Edição da APAS Show” by Palácio do Planalto licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Brazil: Bolsonaro finds it best when families own guns, Mercopress, May 2022, https://en.mercopress.com/2022/05/13/brazil-bolsonaro-finds-it-best-when-families-own-guns

[3] Uruguay faces a wave of violence that could mean a homicide record – government blames drug trafficking, Merco Press, May 2022, https://en.mercopress.com/2022/05/14/uruguay-faces-a-wave-of-violence-that-could-mean-a-homicide-record-government-blames-drug-trafficking

[4] Uruguay busca frenar una ola de violencia "narco" sin precedentes, France 24, May 2022, https://www.france24.com/es/minuto-a-minuto/20220511-uruguay-busca-frenar-una-ola-de-violencia-narco-sin-precedentes (translated by Jhamil Moya)

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