RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — A federal investigation has named former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro as a target, probing whether his administration conspired to orchestrate a military takeover of the country. The latest development comes as federal police carried out a search-and-seizure operation, targeting some of Bolsonaro’s close advisers and aides, including former justice minister Anderson Torres and Bolsonaro’s running mate, Walter Braga Netto.
The revelation has sent shock waves through Brazil, a country still grappling with the aftermath of a divisive presidential election and a violent attack by Bolsonaro supporters on federal buildings. It also raises the possibility of a former president facing prosecution.
Since leaving office, Bolsonaro and his allies have faced allegations of corruption, including accusations of falsifying his vaccination status before entering the U.S., mishandling state jewelry, and using government surveillance to spy on opponents. However, the most significant probe has been an investigation into whether the Bolsonaro government planned to subvert Brazilian democracy and maintain power despite the outcome of the 2022 presidential election.
Fresh findings of the investigation reveal that the plot to steal power was more advanced than previously known, involving logistical and tactical planning and the involvement of senior officials in the Brazilian government. The police allege that Bolsonaro officials even undertook planning in coordination with military officials to execute the military takeover.
Bolsonaro, who has denied the allegations, has been ordered by the federal police to refrain from any contact with aides under investigation. The latest operation and revelations are expected to further divide Brazil politically, with Bolsonaro’s son dismissing the operation as a “fishing expedition” and an attempt to “destroy the right.” Meanwhile, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has expressed doubt about Bolsonaro’s involvement in the alleged plan to take over the country militarily.