February 8

Clara Figueiredo, the government's economic summit is taking firm steps, digital photomontage, 2020
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By LUIS FELIPE MIGUEL*

We are not facing a coup planned but not delivered, but rather an unsuccessful coup

February 8th was historic. Only one (famously) fainted, but many panicked – from star generals who believe they are above good and evil to young neo-Nazis who thought it was okay to play conspiracy, but are now watching the sun rise squarely.

Brazil is drawing an important dividing line – showing that its limited democracy can handle a lot, but after a certain point it knows how to defend itself.

Three points deserve to be highlighted:

(i) The operation reached high-ranking military members. There were seizures and searches in the homes of active general officers, such as the former commander of the Army and the former commander of the Navy, and also of generals in pajamas as important as Augusto Heleno and Braga Netto (I can imagine the face of an old brucutu like Heleno, when he saw the PF knocking on his door).

The Minister of Defense, José Múcio Monteiro, in a rare statement of republican content, said that the military must respect the actions of justice. It is relevant that he, always ready to act as a proxy for those in uniform in the Executive, said this. It shows that the operation was well oiled in the government.

(ii) Valdemar Costa Neto, president of the Liberal Party (PL), was also the target of the operation. It was supposed to be just a search and seizure, but a happy coincidence meant that the police found an unregistered weapon in his possession – and he was arrested in the act.

Valdemar Costa Neto is a veteran member of the predatory and amoral political elite that has parasitized the country for decades. In an ideal world, the quality of our representation would rise and they would be swept out of spaces of power. In a less ideal world, at least those who agreed to support a fascist government should be isolated from any approach to the democratic political world.

We are not in either of those worlds – there are so many former scholarship holders who are part of the Lula government to prove it. The least we can demand, then, is that the limitless opportunists who agreed to participate in the machinations of a coup d'état, with the annulment of elections and everything, must be punished.

Valdemar Costa Neto is an obvious case, but we also have so many illustrious far-right parliamentarians – Carla Zambelli, Carlos Jordy, Bia Kicis, Chris Tonietto, Mário Frias, Nikolas Ferreira, the list is long. Their participation in anti-democratic agitation is evident, it is documented. Should they maintain their mandates? Should the PL continue to exist as a party?

On these people's pages, comments from followers are significant. “That’s what happens when you play on all four lines.” “We failed to act at the right time.” In short: the PL is an incubator for scammers.

And what to do with General Hamilton Mourão, who on Thursday went to the Senate rostrum to call for a military coup in reprisal against the Supreme Court?

Hamilton Mourão's move is obvious. He launches a threat to try to stop the action of justice. But what is at stake is precisely reducing the effectiveness of this card: reducing the weight of the threat of military intervention on Brazilian democracy.

(iii) What has already been leaked from the documents in the authority's possession shows that all of Jair Bolsonaro's justifications have fallen apart. He can no longer say that he was not involved in preparing the coup.

Your line of defense, I imagine, will be to remember that the coup did not occur. After all (some of its defenders have been saying this since the beginning of last year), planning a crime is not a crime.

It turns out that we are not facing a coup that was planned but not carried out, but rather an unsuccessful coup.

And, moreover, a President of the Republic, who swore to uphold the Constitution, cannot plan a coup. He is not an ordinary citizen. This alternative must be vetoed, even in the most fanciful speculations, for those who exercise power.

The elements for the arrest of Jair Bolsonaro and his accomplices are in place. If the course of events remains logical, it is a matter of time.

* Luis Felipe Miguel He is a professor at the Institute of Political Science at UnB. Author, among other books, of Democracy on the capitalist periphery: impasses in Brazil. (Authentic) [https://amzn.to/45NRwS2]

Originally posted on the author's social media.


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