The Bolsonaro Controversy: Alleged Coup Plot Sends Shockwaves Through Brazil

Brazil's federal police are questioning Bolsonaro, he has decided not to answer questions

by Sededin Dedovic
The Bolsonaro Controversy: Alleged Coup Plot Sends Shockwaves Through Brazil
© Andressa Anholete / Getty Images

Right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro, the former president of Brazil, today found himself under the spotlight of judicial authorities, together with several key associates from the period when he was in power. The reason? Alleged plan to organize a coup to overthrow his political rival, leftist leader Luiz Ignatius Lula da Silva.

Bolsonaro arrived at the federal police headquarters in the capital, Brasilia, accompanied by some of the key members of his former administration, including military advisers. However, instead of declaring openly, the former president decided to adopt the tactics of silence, leaving many questions unanswered.

Documents from Brazil's Supreme Court reveal plans that were hatched in secret. According to those documents, Bolsonaro was supposed to sign a decree by which, in case of electoral defeat in 2022, he would challenge the regularity of the electoral process, which would serve as a pretext for military intervention and the organization of new elections.

However, that decree never saw the light of day, leaving the plot partially unfulfilled. To date, no one has been charged in connection with the case, but the federal police are not resting. 23 people are expected to testify, including key players in Bolsonaro's regime, such as his planned vice president General Walter Braga Neto, former adviser General Augusto Heleno, former justice minister Anderson Torres and head of Bolsonaro's Liberal Party Valdemar Costa Neto.

Bolsonaro has already announced his position before the meeting with the police, stressing that he will probably refuse to make statements due to lack of access to documents. "I am following the advice of the lawyer," Bolsonaro said, leaving open the possibility of changing his position if he is given access to the relevant documentation.

As part of the investigation, Brazilian police searched the homes and business premises of key associates of the former president, as well as one of Bolsonaro's sons, Carlos. Passports were confiscated, and the police made it clear that they were targeting suspects who were "preparing an attempted coup".

Bolsonaro's political path was marked by doubts about the regularity of the election process, refusal to admit defeat and avoidance of Lula's inauguration event. Instead of attending the inauguration of his political rival, Bolsonaro left the country for the US, where he remained during Lula's inauguration on January 1, 2023.

Immediately afterwards, on January 8, 2023, Brazil was rocked by the chaos caused by Bolsonaro's supporters. In the following, the former president invites his supporters to the demonstrations planned for February 25 of this year, clearly showing that he still enjoys the support of a certain part of the population, despite the accusations and investigations that follow him.