Bolsonaro Forced to Turn over Passport as Top Aides Arrested over Coup Plot

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Last year, former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was caught using a fake vaccine card, a federal crime in Brazil. The aide, who helped him forge the vaccine card, has flipped to avoid prosecution and provided evidence of how Bolsonaro tried to plan a coup. 

According to a 134-page dossier released by the Brazilian federal police, Bolsonaro assembled the Defense Minister, his Justice Minister, the head of ABIN (Brazil’s equivalent of the CIA), and others to plan the coup. 

In meetings, some strangely recorded, the group plotted how they would arrest the President of the Brazilian Senate and members of the Brazilian Supreme Court Justice to prevent election results from being certified. The Brazilian intelligence chief agreed to work with Israeli intelligence, Mossad, to spy on potential opponents of their coup plan. 

Bolsonaro was forced to turn over his passport and warned by federal officials that he was not allowed to contact others being investigated by federal authorities. 

Already, Valdemar Caso Neto, the chairman of Bolsonaro’s political party, the PL, was arrested this morning when his house was searched, and it was discovered that he illegally owned a gun. 

A former US State Department employee, Felipe Martins, was also arrested. Over several years, he had been a close advisor to Steve Bannon, who worked for Bolsonaro and was the chief liaison between Trump and Bolsonaro.  

Interestingly, the Lula Administration did not issue the investigation and warrants, but by Supreme Court Justice Alexander de Moraes. Under Brazil’s legal system, judges can investigate and issue warrants. 

Alexander de Moraes is by no means an ally of Lula. After right-wingers in the Brazilian Congress illegally impeached Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, a protege of Lula, in 2016, they appointed center-right politician Michel Temer as President. 

In 2017, Temer appointed de Moraes to the Brazilian Supreme Court. Since then, de Moraes, in his role as both a Brazilian Supreme Court and as the head of the federal election commission, has become a scratch critic of Bolsonaro, leading Bolsonaro and his allies to plan to arrest de Moraes during a coup, according to documents released by the Brazilian federal police. 

The investigation’s release and arrests surprised Brazilian President Lula, who was falsely imprisoned by Bolosnaro’s allies for nearly two years and later exonerated. 

“It is very difficult for a President of the Republic to comment on a Federal Police operation that takes place in secret. I hope that no excess occurs and the rigor of the law is applied,” tweeted Lula earlier today. “We know about the attacks on democracy. We need to know who financed the camps. Let’s wait for the investigations”. 

Later in the evening, after news broke, Lula went to the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia to plant an olive tree and call for a ceasefire in Brazil. 

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing over 1,800 stories from 46 states, Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]