Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia, January 2023
Adriano Machado / Reuters

It was hard to avoid a sense of déjà vu when supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, the former Brazilian president, stormed major federal institutions in the capital Brasília in early January. Insisting that Brazil’s 2022 presidential election was “stolen,” the demonstrators ransacked the Congress, the presidential palace, and other key government buildings. Observers swiftly noted similarities to scenes that played out two years before in Washington, when right-wing mobs attacked the U.S. Capitol in an effort to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.

There was nothing accidental

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