Jair Bolsonaro: The police search the houses of eight businessmen related to Bolsonaro for exchanging coup messages | International
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The Brazilian police launched an operation on Tuesday against eight large businessmen, close to President Jair Bolsonaro, suspected of being linked to a network that spreads false news and promotes attacks on institutions. The businessmen wanted by the agents participate in a WhatsApp group in which messages against the Judiciary and in favor of a coup d’état are proliferated in the event that Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva wins the elections in October. “I prefer a coup to the return of the PT (the Workers’ Party). A million times,” wrote Jose Koury, a real estate businessman from Rio de Janeiro, three weeks ago. The operation includes home searches, the blocking of social network accounts and the inspection of their bank accounts.
The best known of those wanted is the billionaire Luciano Hang, owner of Havan, a chain of department stores scattered throughout Brazil that are easily identifiable because a replica of the statue of liberty stands at the entrance. Han is a proud Bolsonarista. Among the suspects, the owners of the Tecnisa and W3 engineering construction companies, the owner of a chain of restaurants called Cocobambu, the owner of a chain that sells furniture.
The operation has become the news of the day in a Brazil that is already officially campaigning for the closest duel in recent decades. The electorate is called to vote on October 2 in elections that are a heads-up between the leftist Lula, the favorite, and the current president, of the extreme right, who closes the gap.
The private messages exchanged by the Bolsonarist businessmen were revealed a few days ago by the digital media metropoles. Hang has confirmed on Twitter that the police showed up at his company at six in the morning and has denied that he spoke suddenly in the aforementioned WhatsApp group. Senator Flávio Bolsonaro has tweeted that “it is insane to order the search for honest businessmen (…) for saying that they prefer anything to the ex-prisoner”, in reference to Lula, whose sentences were annulled.
It is insane to determine the search for and apprehension of honest businessmen, who created thousands of businesses, some known to be STF ministers (who wisely would never plot a “coup” in the first place) for saying that they prefer any thing to an ex-prisoner, a private WhatsApp conversation.
– Flavio Bolsonaro #B22 (@FlavioBolsonaro) August 23, 2022
The search warrant for the Bolsonaristas is signed by the man whom Bolsonaro and his most faithful followers have considered in recent times as enemy number one and with whom there was apparently a truce, Judge Alexandre de Moraes. The magistrate is a member of the Supreme Court – the institution that most counterbalances Bolsonaro’s authoritarian threats – and has just assumed the presidency of the electoral court, which supervises the voting process.
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The fear of a coup -more in the form of a constitutional rupture than a tank takeover- has been present in the Brazilian public debate for a long time due to the president’s constant attacks on other institutions and his campaign to sow doubts about the voting process.
President Bolsonaro was interviewed last night in National Journal, the nightly news program of the Globo network, the most watched in Brazil. One of the interviewers encouraged him to commit himself, before the millions of viewers who saw him live, to respect the results of the elections. Bolsonaro accepted, but with a tagline: he will accept the verdict of “clean and transparent elections”, as if they were not now. The electoral authorities have never detected any relevant fraud in the electronic ballot box system, which according to Bolsonaro is not 100% secure. The Armed Forces have been fully involved in the supervision of the electoral process.
It also causes concern in the leadership of other institutions, in the opposition and in the Brazilian press that Bolsonaro has summoned his followers to fill the streets on September 7, when Brazil celebrates the bicentennial of its independence. Given that last year the far-right president already turned the anniversary into a show of popular strength and called Judge Moraes a scoundrel before a crowd, many analysts consider that the independence party could be another serious step in the authoritarian escalation. To commemorate the date, the president has managed to get Portugal to lend him the heart of Pedro, I, the emperor who proclaimed independence in 1822.
The body, which arrived on Monday on a Brazilian military plane, will be honored on Tuesday by Bolsonaro and presented to foreign ambassadors before being exhibited until the Bicentennial at the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry, also in Brasilia.
Although the far-right leader has gained support in recent weeks, Lula leads all the polls. The most recent Datafolha poll gives the favorite a 47% vote intention compared to 32% for Bolsonaro. Lula was convinced this Monday that Brazil will not experience an assault like the one carried out by hundreds of supporters of Donald Trump in the Capitol. “I am sure that the electoral result will be fully accepted,” the former president told foreign correspondents in São Paulo. “Those who lose have the right to complain, but patience, it’s part of the game,” he added.
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