Brazil: Chief of Security Resigns for Coup Attempt | The departure of Gonçalves Dias caused the first casualty of Lula’s government

Prime Minister of the Institutional Security Council (GSI) of the Brazilian Presidency, Marco Edson Gonçalves Dias resigned on Wednesday to the post after the press released photographs questioning the organization’s actions during it coup attempt on January 8. His departure from the government came shortly after his meeting with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who accepted the resignation. This is the first fall of a minister in the current administrationfour months and 19 days into Lola’s term.

What do the footage show?

Gonsalves Dias He submitted his resignation a few hours after CNN Brazil published images from the security cameras of the Planalto presidential palace, where Appears at the Presidency of the Republic on the day the coup d’état took place. The ex-minister is initially seen walking down the corridors of the third floor of the Presidency and entering the office of the Head of State, but he can also be seen beside some of the protesters who stormed the facilities, who are apparently pointing to an emergency exit.

In another, one of Gonçalves Dias’ advisors is shown talking with the palace invaders, greeting them, and even offering them a bottle of water. According to the Institutional Security Cabinet, the images reflect “the actions of the security personnel, whose objective was initially to vacate the third and fourth floors of the Planalto Palace.”

Gonçalves Dias was a soldier very close to Lula. He worked in presidential security in the first two terms of the left-wing leader and his successor, Dilma Rousseff, and was responsible for Lula’s security during the 2022 election campaign, thus becoming the frontrunner to take over the institutional security council.

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However, the body has been largely associated with former President Jair Bolsonaro over the past four years. The then chief of staff, General Augusto Helino, downsized the body by appointing soldiers whom he trusted and who strongly disapproved of the Workers’ Party (PT).

This was one of the reasons why Lula’s team decided, even while the transitional government was in operation, to transfer the official security of the president from the GSI to the Federal Police. Gonçalves Dias then became the target of harsh domestic criticism with the coup d’état of January 8, when Bolsonaro’s supporters invaded and destroyed Planalto, the National Congress and the seat of the Supreme Court. Some of Lula’s allies indicated that the GSI did not act during the attacks.

On Wednesday, Gonçalves Dias was due to appear before the House Public Security Committee to give clarifications about the events of January 8, following a request approved by deputies in March. At the last minute, after the photos were revealed, the general alleged health problems and canceled his engagement.

The Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Riccardo Capelli, will be responsible for taking over the leadership of GSI on an interim basis. Capelli had already been appointed as the observer of public security in Brasília shortly after the January 8 coup. On his Twitter account, he confirmed that he is temporarily taking over the Institutional Security Council “with poise, firmness and the usual commitment to Brazil”.

‘There will be no impunity’

Shortly before announcing the minister’s resignation, the Brazilian presidency issued a statement confirming that the army’s participation in the coup actions has been under investigation by the Supreme Court since February 27, and confirmed that all those responsible will be punished.

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The memorandum indicates that the coup d’état took place only a week after Lula took office, which is why many members of the previous administration were still in the security teams of the presidency at that time.

The government’s approach remains the same: There will be no impunity for those involved in criminal acts on January 8thThe statement says. To date, 2,151 people have been arrested, including about thirty soldiers..

About 300 people are still in prison, and the rest have been released, but they will answer the charges freely, under strict precautionary measures. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court began a trial to accept the charges against the first 100 defendants, which will end next Monday.

“renewed” army

In the morning, before Gonçalves Dias’ resignation was announced, the President of Brazil led the Army Day ceremonies, in a powerfully symbolic act after the far-right coup attempt. The only speaker at the ceremony was the army commander, General Tomás Ribeiro Paiva, who emphasized the institutional role of that force, of which he said “it owes respect to the population, to the institutions and, above all, to the constitution”.

General Paiva’s message seems to refer to the past four years, a period when then-President Jair Bolsonaro, commander of the Army Reserve, tried on more than one occasion to add the armed forces to his constant attacks against democratic institutions. The general was sure and confirmed it The military is a non-political and impartial state institution.Its mission is to “defend the homeland, independence, republic and democracy”.

Lula, along with Defense Minister José Museo Montero and General Paiva, presided over the ceremony and parade of troops at the Army Headquarters in Brasília. Also present were the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira, the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, the Federal Supreme Court, Rosa Weber, as well as the Attorney General of the Republic, Augusto Aras. The presence of the former commander of the army, Eduardo Villas Boas, a staunch critic of Lula in the past, drew attention.

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This is the first event that Villas-Boas shares with Lula after, in 2018, he called on the Brazilian people to “repudiate impunity”, the day before a major Supreme Court decision regarding the then-detained ex-president. A book published in 2021 revealed that this threatening tweet was concocted by the entire army high command and released just in time for it to appear on the most-viewed newscast, “Jornal Nacional” in Brazil.

Paiva was appointed commander of the army in January by Lula after the dismissal of General Julio César Arruda, for his alleged complicity with the activists who invaded the seat of the three powers on the 8th of that month. The military agenda follows the guidance of an internal armed forces document published by the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulowhich says the military needs to build credibility by enhancing its non-partisan and non-political image.

Freddie Dawson

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