Explaining the political scenario in Brazil today to non-Brazilians is akin to trying to lay out the plot of Tiger King in a few words to those who have not watched the Netflix hit docu-series. You try to string words together into coherent sentences, but mainly end up with a mishmash of bizarre phrases.
Maybe that is the strategy of President Jair Bolsonaro: To cause enough confusion, throw enough haze, that spectators, unable to follow along, lose interest.
Just days after dismissing his level-headed Health minister amid the new coronavirus outbreak, Bolsonaro ousted the Federal Police chief, knowing the move would cause his “super-minister” and one of the stars of his administration, Sergio Moro, to resign.
Moro stepped down from his position as Justice minister today, April 24, after Bolsonaro dismissed the chief of the Federal Police, Maurício Valeixo, yesterday. Moro alleged political interference in the federal police force and accused, rather directly, Bolsonaro of requesting access to investigation reports, which could be an infringement of the penal code. Moro didn't mention details, but persistent rumors suggest that criminal police investigations involve members of Bolsonaro's family. His three oldest children – Flávio, Carlos and Eduardo – are named in several investigations.
In his pronouncement this morning, Moro – a controversial judge who shoot to recognition for his role in the Operation Car Wash corruption probe – claimed Bolsonaro’s decision to dismiss Valeixo was nothing but a political move. Holding nothing back, Moro said the president gave no valid reason for the decision and admitted his intentions were personal. Moro also said he never signed Valeixo’s resignation, learning about the fact from the government gazette.
Bolsonaro had previously threatened to replace members of the Federal Police, including Valeixo, which caused a rift between the president and the now former Justice minister. Valeixo worked closely with Moro in the Car Wash investigations until late 2018, when he joined Moro in Bolsonaro's new administration. The investigation sent scores of politicians and businessmen to jail throughout Latin America, including former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the CEO of construction giant Odebrecht, which made Moro a local hero.
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