Marcos do Val, a Brazilian senator considered close to former president Jair Bolsonaro, claimed to have participated on December 9 together with Bolsonaro himself in a meeting in which a plan was developed to prevent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from taking office as new president of Brazil. Do Val’s statements are relevant because two months before the alleged meeting, Lula had won the election against Bolsonaro, who had effectively contested the result. In early January 2023, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters stormed three important buildings of Brazilian institutions to protest against Lula’s victory, claiming it was the result of fraud and irregularities.
Investigations into the assault are still ongoing which are trying to understand, among other things, if Bolsonaro was aware of the assault and if he had participated in its organization in any way. Do Val’s testimony, if confirmed, would add strength to the hypothesis of Bolsonaro’s involvement in subverting the electoral result to stay in power (a hypothesis that at the moment must be considered with caution, because there is no solid evidence to confirm it). The hypothesis had been considered plausible since the very tense and violent electoral campaign that had led to the elections, in which Bolsonaro had made it quite clear that he was not willing to accept defeat.
The meeting, said do Val, would be held on the initiative of the deputy Daniel Silveira, close to Bolsonaro and belonging to the Brazilian Labor Party (in recent years the Labor Party, which is traditionally less left-wing in Brazil than in other countries of the world, have assumed increasingly right-wing positions and have shown great closeness to Bolsonaro).
During the meeting, a plan was allegedly discussed which involved secretly recording a conversation in which Alexandre de Moraes, judge of the Brazilian Supreme Court and above all head of the Brazilian Electoral Commission, participated. The goal was to get de Moraes to make compromising statements about his having acted beyond the limits of his authority in violation of the constitution, and then use them to have him arrested and to void the election result in case Lula and not Bolsonaro won ( in Brazil de Moraes is long disputed for the way he exercises his power).
It is not clear how this should actually have happened: according to do Val, Bolsonaro said: “I cancel the elections, Lula does not take office, I remain president and arrest de Moraes for his statements”. Do Val said the technical equipment to record the conversation with de Moraes would have been provided by the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN), the country’s main intelligence agency, which however maintained that it was “absolutely not involved in any initiative” of this type.
Do Val told his version of events Thursday morning at a press conference in Brasilia. Shortly before the Brazilian magazine Veja had published an article describing the plan that would be discussed at the December meeting, quoting directly do Val as one of the people present. In the press conference do Val he had confirmed of having been invited together with Bolsonaro to a meeting to subvert the result of the elections, but of having been “forced” by Silveira to go. Do Val had also said that Bolsonaro had remained silent during the meeting.
Further details on the matter were released on Thursday Vejawho in response to do Val’s denials released the tape of the interview, also claiming to have seen some messages which confirmed part of his story. De Moraes ordered the Brazilian federal police to take do Val’s sworn testimony within five days.
For now, no comments have been made by Bolsonaro, who has been keeping a very low profile since December and who is currently in the United States, where he asked a tourist visa to be able to stay another six months (his visa is about to expire).
Meanwhile Silveira, the deputy who would have organized the meeting, was arrested just Thursday on de Moraes’ orders, accused of violating the terms of his release from prison: Silveira had previously been convicted of anti-democratic acts after threatening de Moraes and other judges, but was released after Bolsonaro pardoned him.