The images from Brasilia that day still haunt the left-leaning government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He has strived ever since to ensure that military leaders defend South America’s largest democracy and stay out of politics. Melo said Brazil’s military has long believed that it has “some kind of guardianship of the country’s political process,” and Bolsonaro only fueled that belief. These represented early tests of the relationship between Lula and the military, and the results were very positive, said political consultant Thomas Traumann. In contrast with Bolsonaro’s administration, few members of the armed forces work at the presidential palace, Victor said.