Miami Herald (Sunday)

Bolsonaro named target in Brazil coup probe, ordered to surrender passport


Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been named a target in a federal investigat­ion into whether his government plotted a military takeover of the country, police officials told The Washington Post on Thursday, and has been given 24 hours to surrender his passport.

The revelation came as federal police launched a large search-and-seizure operation early Thursday that targeted some of Bolsonaro’s closest advisers and aides, including former justice minister Anderson Torres and Bolsonaro’s running mate, Walter Braga Netto.

The announceme­nt sent political shock waves through Latin America’s largest country, still reckoning with an attack by thousands of Bolsonaro supporters on its most important federal buildings early last year after a historical­ly divisive presidenti­al election. It also brought closer the prospect that Brazil could again witness the prosecutio­n of a former president.

Since Bolsonaro lost to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the 2022 presidenti­al election and left office, he and his allies have fended off probes and allegation­s of corruption that have included lying to U.S. authoritie­s about Bolsonaro’s vaccinatio­n status, improper handling of state jewelry and using government surveillan­ce to spy on opponents.

But the most significan­t has long been an investigat­ion, overseen by Brazil’s

supreme court, into whether the Bolsonaro government planned to subvert Brazilian democracy and maintain its grip on power despite the outcome of the 2022 vote.

On Thursday, federal officials revealed fresh findings of the investigat­ion. Two police officials, who spoke to The Post on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss the probe, said the plot to steal power was far more advanced than previously known.

For months before the election, Bolsonaro and his top allies made unsubstant­iated allegation­s in public and on social media that the Brazilian electoral system had been stained by fraud and could no longer be trusted. Police now say those remarks were part of a plot to provide political cover for a military takeover if the election didn’t go their way.

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