Brazil: Police Seize Bolsonaro's Passport, Arrest Close Aides

    Brazil: Police Seize Bolsonaro's Passport, Arrest Close Aides
    Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • On orders of Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, Brazilian federal police confiscated the passport of former right-wing Pres. Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday for allegedly working on a draft decree to overturn the 2022 presidential elections and arrest de Moraes, and pressuring military commanders to support a coup.

    • This comes as part of a broader operation, dubbed "Tempus Veritatis," that served dozens of precautionary measures, including four preventive arrest warrants. At least two former aides to Bolsonaro were reportedly among those named in the warrants, with the chair of his Liberal Party, Valdemar Costa Neto, also arrested after being caught for reported illegal possession of a weapon.

    The Spin

    Left narrative

    Even if the coup failed, accountability for what happened in Brazil isn't only a matter of justice but is crucial for the future of the country's democracy. The current investigation has revealed a coordinated, multi-pronged attempt by Bolsonaro and his accomplices to undermine the election's result. Despite the many similarities to the US Jan. 6 Capitol riots, the political influence of Brazil's military cannot be underestimated, and this is a concern that politicians must confront in the future.

    Right narrative

    You don't have to be a Bolsonaro supporter to see that Lula is using the judicial system as a means to punish his predecessor. Lula is a leftist career politician who was convicted on corruption charges before they were stunningly reversed by activist judges. Right-leaning figures across the nation are being censored, and checks and balances are being curtailed as the legal system is increasingly used as a weapon against opponents. We ought to be skeptical about charges against Bolsonaro in this environment.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 16% chance that Brazil will experience a successful coup d'etat before 2040, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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