Brazil police find plans for military coup on Bolsonaro aide’s phone

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters): Brazil’s Federal Police have found a detailed planning document for a military intervention to block the handover of power in last year’s election on the phone of an aide to former President Jair Bolsonaro, news magazine Veja reported.

It was unclear who wrote the document and whether it reached Bolsonaro, a former army captain who narrowly lost the October election to his leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

A similar, less detailed document was found in January at the home of former Justice Minister Anderson Torres, part of a growing body of evidence that members of Bolsonaro’s inner circle were looking at ways to block Lula from taking office and strip the powers of Brazil’s top federal courts.

The magazine said a police document showed that the plan was found on the phone of Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid, one of Bolsonaro’s personal assistants who stayed on as an aide after he stepped down. Cid is currently under arrest as part of a probe into the alleged falsification of Bolsonaro’s COVID-19 vaccination card.

Cid’s lawyer Bernardo Fenelon did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Veja, the three-page document provided a roadmap for how to block Lula’s inauguration, using the military as a “moderating force.” To justify such an institutional rupture, the document alleged unconstitutional actions by the judiciary and media to favor Lula in the election.

The document calls for the nomination of an “intervener” with power over the armed forces and all of Brazil’s federal public security agencies. Offending justices in the Supreme Court and the federal electoral court would be investigated, removed and replaced.

The revamped electoral court would then oversee fresh elections that would only take place once the military had decided the constitutional order had been reestablished.

Brazil’s army said any “opinions and personal comments do not represent the thinking of the … chain of command, nor the official positioning of the Force.”

“Any individual conduct judged to be irregular will be dealt with in court,” it added.