Operation Tempus Veritatis, launched by the Federal Police on Thursday, February 8 as part of the investigation into the attempted coup, has shed even more light on the intricacies of the coup plot carefully planned by Bolsonaro’s followers.
The body of evidence that has already come to light, much of which is still under wraps, leaves no room for doubt: Bolsonaro not only considered a coup d’état, but prepared it in every detail, in an articulate and “professional” manner. He was even behind the coup demonstrations that took over the barracks and culminated on January 8. The aim of the coup was not only to delegitimize the electoral results, but also to establish a regime of violence in the country, putting an end to democratic freedoms and imposing a dictatorship.
It is also becoming increasingly clear that it was not the resistance of the military leadership as a whole that prevented the coup from being carried out, a discourse widely disseminated, especially by the current Minister of Defense and ally of the military and Bolsonaro, José Múcio. On the one hand, if some sectors of the Armed Forces didn’t take the lead in the coup plot, they also didn’t act to stop it. They waited to see how it would turn out, as they say.
What has been discovered so far reinforces the idea that there was no coup only because the so-called objective conditions didn’t allow it. Internationally, there was no support for it from imperialism, and internally, there was no way to sustain it without the support of the majority of the population. But there was a lot of intention, preparation, and mobilization. From the Bolsonaro leadership, from sectors of the armed forces command, and from the businessmen who organized and financed the coup, many of them linked to agribusiness.
The Coup Would be a Retreat from Democratic Freedoms and a Dictatorship
The PSTU has been at the forefront of calling for mobilizations to reject the January 8 and the coup, and has warned of the need to fight these far-right sectors thoroughly and relentlessly, including advancing the discussion of the need for self-defense on the part of the working class.
The party does not defend the current democracy of the rich, a false and hypocritical democracy in which the billionaires, the big financial conglomerates, and imperialism really call the shots. However, a setback in the meager democratic freedoms that the workers enjoy today, the fruit of many struggles, such as the freedom to organize, to strike, to demonstrate and to express themselves, would make our struggle even more difficult.
Faced with any attack or threat to our democratic freedoms, the working class must not hesitate to mobilize to defeat it. This is the only way to fight the coup threat effectively and thoroughly.
The revelation of the details of the preparation of the coup strengthens the climate of impunity of those who were really behind this far-right criminal organization. While the small fish manipulated by Bolsonaro for the ill-fated events at the Capitol are receiving heavy sentences from the Supreme Court, Bolsonaro, Heleno, Braga Neto are free, despite the fact they organized the coup, as are the main members of the military leadership who prepared the coup. The businessmen who financed the coup also enjoy impunity.
We must demand “no amnesty” for the coup plotters, starting with Bolsonaro, Heleno, and the entire military leadership that participated in this plot to undermine democratic freedoms.
The STF and Lula’s Government in the Struggle Against the Coup
The working class cannot rest on the hope that the Supreme Court, the National Congress, and the other institutions of bourgeois democracy will fight the coup threats consistently and to the end. We have arrived at this point precisely because these institutions have failed miserably to stamp out the coup. To take just one example, beyond the impunity enjoyed by the Bolsonaro leadership, a few hours after the Federal Police action, General and Senator Hamilton Mourão stood in the Chamber of Deputies and urged the Armed Forces and its extreme right-wing base to stage a coup.
The Lula government, for its part, has done very little against the coup plotters. Incredibly, it has kept José Múcio at the head of the Ministry of Defense, a man linked to Bolsonaro who is doing nothing but preventing the Armed Forces from being held accountable or even investigated for January 8 and the coup preparations. Múcio, by the way, recently argued that the Armed Forces guarantee democracy, showing himself to be a supporter of the thesis of the Armed Forces as a “moderating force,” precisely the thesis that the ultra-right used to justify the coup.
Not only that, but Lula’s policy of reconciliation with the coup plotters is attracting far-right parties to his base, and he is betting on a rapprochement with their cadres, such as the governor of São Paulo, Tarcisio de Freitas. A policy of appeasement that, far from “dividing” Bolsonaro, as his supporters claim (or hope), actually guarantees his survival and strengthens these sectors.
We’ve seen this story before. Augusto Heleno commanded the Brazilian occupation forces in Haiti during the first Lula administration. The neo-Pentecostal fundamentalist sectors that form an important base for Bolsonaro were strengthened precisely during the PT governments, including the government’s abandonment of the agendas of the most oppressed sectors, such as LGBTQ people.
Finally, we must demand exemplary punishment for the coup plotters. But it is also essential to be aware that the far-right has proliferated in the midst of the profound process of regression, deindustrialization, subordination, and social degradation that the working class and the most oppressed sectors have experienced in recent years. This process has been continued by the PT governments, a trend that will only deepen with the policies of the third Lula government, such as the Fiscal Framework, which imposes a radical austerity regime in favor of the bankers. Or the General Law of Military Police, recently approved by the Lula government, which strengthens the militarism of the police, a pillar of the extreme right in our country.
The demoralization of conciliatory governments, or those considered “leftist,” is fuel for the ultra-right, as we are seeing in Argentina or even in the U.S. itself with Biden and the imminent return of Trump.
The only way to bury the ultra-right and send it back to the dustbin of history is to strengthen a militant alternative, with class independence, for the working class, and a revolutionary and socialist alternative, truly anti-system, that can be a reference for social change and hope for better days in the eyes of the whole class and the poor majority of our country.