Bolsonaro faces potential impeachment charges as Brazil’s ruling elite cracks
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a press conference on the resignation of Justice Minister Sérgio Moro, at the Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasília, Brazil, April 24. Some reports suggest the U.S. is throwing its weight behind Moro for the 2022 election. | Eraldo Peres / AP

Political crisis is unfolding in Brazil, with far-right President Jair Bolsonaro facing potential impeachment charges after a complaint raised against him by former justice minister Sérgio Moro.

The former ally of Bolsonaro resigned sensationally on Friday after the president fired federal police chief Maurício Valeixo without giving a reason. He was replaced by the boss of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency, Alexandre Ramagem.

Brazil’s Attorney General Augusto Aras has paved the way for charges to be brought against Bolsonaro, requesting the Supreme Federal Court open investigations into allegations of political interference.

Analysts suggest that Bolsonaro could face impeachment, while his administration is in turmoil over his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month he sacked health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, the pair clashing over the measures needed to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. Mandetta had insisted the need to maintain social distancing, which Bolsonaro has dismissed.

Formerly, Moro was the judge behind the widely condemned jailing of Brazil’s popular former president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, who was leading in the polls ahead of the 2018 presidential election.

His subsequent banning from standing paved the way for Bolsonaro’s victory, and the far-right leader rewarded Moro by appointing him justice minister.

But last year, investigative news website The Intercept published stunning revelations in a series of WhatsApp messages, suggesting a conspiracy between Moro and prosecutors to ensure that Lula ended up behind bars.

Moro remained a close confidant of Bolsonaro, but his resignation last Friday indicates serious cracks in Brazil’s ruling elite. He said the sacking of Valeixo was “a signal that the president wanted me out.”

The former minister has now emerged as a serious rival to Bolsonaro, with Free Journalists spokesman Boaventura de Sousa claiming that the U.S. is now backing Moro for the 2022 election.

The Portuguese academic said that Moro has paved the way for his candidacy by “destroying the Brazilian economy, destroying the left” and creating the conditions for Bolsonaro, whom he described as a “transitional politician” to be discarded.

Brazil remains the worst-hit country in the region, with nearly 63,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 4,200 deaths.

But health officials warn that the true figure may be much higher, citing a lack of early testing, as hospitals struggle to cope and bodies are buried in mass graves.

Morning Star

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Steve Sweeney
Steve Sweeney

Steve Sweeney writes for Morning Star, the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. He is also a People's Assembly National Committee member, patron of the Peace in Kurdistan campaign, and a proud trade unionist. Steve Sweeney escribe para Morning Star, el diario socialista publicado en Gran Bretaña. También es miembro del Comité Nacional de la Asamblea Popular, patrocinador de la campaña Paz en Kurdistán y un orgulloso sindicalista.