Safe conduct for General Braga Netto

Image: Toni Cuenca


Even though he was the organizer of the meeting with ambassadors, the TSE opened up the possibility that the extreme right-wing military man would be a candidate for mayor or governor of Rio in the next elections

Playing in tandem with the Armed Forces, the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) confirmed the possibility of General Braga Netto running for mayor of Rio de Janeiro in 2024, even though he organized such a meeting with ambassadors that motivated the Court's decision for unengivability of Jair Bolsonaro until 2030.

Thus, with court approval and its Bolsonaro program already discarded, the barracks received carte blanche from the TSE to continue doing the only thing it knows how to do: politics.

The release of Braga Netto is a fundamental contradiction. When making the decision to condemn Jair Bolsonaro, the Court considered the coup context in which the former captain always operated and even took into account the coup script found in the possession of former Minister of Justice Anderson Torres. But, on the other hand, he presented Braga Netto with illegitimate eligibility, even though he participated in the entire long chain of illegalities for which Jair Bolsonaro was just beginning to be condemned.

Throughout the entire mandate of Jair Bolsonaro, whose vice-president was on the 2022 ticket, Braga Netto was active extensively. He was Chief Minister of the General Staff of the Army, the Civil House, Defense and enjoyed the very special mouth of special advisor to the Presidency.

Now, if his candidacy for mayor of the capital or for governor of Rio de Janeiro in 2026 is confirmed, he will be free to use, in any way that suits him, the privileged information that the uniformed bellhops have always collected from the Rio de Janeiro security system.


Military information available

Lacking external enemies, the troops waste their time and our money between having fun in the military clubs and the permanent preparation to operate the guardianship over society, as required by Article 142, which the uniforms themselves included in the Constitution.

Among the possibilities derived from this Article is the use of the Armed Forces in Law and Order (GLO) missions. The GLO are a legal excrescence designed to maintain military control over civilian life, even when they don't run the government, as they did throughout the Jair Bolsonaro period.

Using gimmicks like the GLO, the militaries treat the very society they need to defend from international dangers as an enemy. They are activated by the Presidency of the Republic in supposedly moments of crisis in public security and put the military armed to the teeth against fathers and mothers of families on their way to work and children in the direction of school.

They should be the exception, but they have become the rule in Brazil. Between 1992 and 2022, according to the Ministry of Defense, there were 145 GLO – on average, one every 2,5 months. They show the real control that the military maintains over civilian life and demonstrates that the High Command of the Armed Forces is a true Fourth Estate.

As there is a possibility that the GLO could be summoned at any moment and immediately take the military to the streets, the Armed Forces remain on standby and spend days and nights receiving information about criminal organizations and society in general from the Military and Civil Police across the country. . This includes information on political enemies and militia groups operating in the state, including those very close to Jair Bolsonaro's family.

That is: if the candidacy is confirmed, all this material will be unofficially available to Braga Netto, which will be used against political enemies. Also available will be those information raised by Braga Netto himself and his olive green staff, who occupied the government of RJ in 2018 through financial-military intervention.

For most of 2018, he was the bionic governor of the state where Marielle Franco was murdered. He managed to be made viable in the position of intervenor in Rio de Janeiro by General Sergio Etchegoyen.

Today on the reserve and a wealthy lobbyist for private economic groups, Sergio Etchegoyen is the newest member of the old military clan of the Etchegoyen, which since the beginning of the XNUMXth century has participated in coups d'état and military espionage services in Brazil. Sergio was the guarantor with the military of the then coup-president Michel Temer, of whom he was Chief Minister of the Institutional Security Office, the GSI.

This body is the same one that was at the organizational heart of the attempted coup d'état on January 8th. It is a modernized and super-expanded version of the old and infamous National Information Service (SNI), which so many murders, torture and millionaire fraud provided to the business-military-delivery dictatorship implemented in Brazil in 1964.


Marielle's ghost over Braga Netto

The entire arsenal of information amassed by the military will arm Braga Netto, in case he disputes the municipal election in Rio, or any other elective position. Even if this hypothesis of the candidacy has already been denied in “leaks” to a certain press specialized in vocalizing the diffuse intentions of the barracks, the name of Braga Netto has already been disclosed, in order to be tested in the electoral polls.

No wonder the city of Rio de Janeiro was chosen as the platform for Braga Netto. In Rio, there is the largest contingent (about 600) of active and reserve military personnel. Including retirees and pensioners in this count, this number doubles to 1,2 million voters and could reach 2,4 million, if you also consider relatives and people close to the original nucleus. This is the so-called “military family”.

In Rio, Braga Netto will find a left weakened to the point of having lost the state government in the first round in 2018 to an almost unknown governor, who relies on alliances with the militia in the Baixada Fuminense and propagandizes over successive mega-massacres perpetrated by the PM of RJ on residents of favelas.

A possible drawback to this project by Braga Netto is the ghost of Marielle Franco, who continues to wander, more than five years after the crime, the bosses and motives of the assassins (two former PMs who are in prison) are not publicly known.

Intervener in the State of Rio in the year in which the councilwoman was cowardly and still inexplicably murdered, Braga Netto confessed in cipher to the Veja in January 2019: “That was a bad assessment of them, of their intention. … They thought she was a greater danger than she was. (…) I could have announced it earlier, but I would have hit it, not having enough evidence. (…) From the information I have, if there is continuity, a result will be reached”.

The demand for Braga Netto's omission (complicity?) in resolving this case could even lead him to the ropes and make his candidacy unfeasible, but the Rio left does not seem to have enough strength or willingness to make this confrontation. It will also be necessary for Braga Netto to take off his name from the ineligible Jair Bolsonaro, who will still face other trials until 2024.

But, from now on, the general, the Armed Forces and the extreme right can thank you for the safe conduct that was presented to them by the TSE.

*Carlos Tautz is a journalist and doctoral candidate in history at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF).

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