Brazil
Bolsonaro turns over his Cabinet to the Military to protect his son Flavio from another scandal
The death of a Carioca militia member, close to the president's son, debilitated Bolsonaro.

The death of a criminal on the run from Brazilian justice shook the entire structure of Jair Bolsonaro's government. Adriano da Nóbrega, a former military police officer and leader of a gang of Carioca militiamen: "The crime desk", was killed in the state of Bahia in an event that, for many, was a "file burner". The man had a history with the Bolsonaro family: he was decorated as a "hero" twice by the former provincial deputy, and current national senator, Flavio, the eldest son of the president.

Suspicions about the parliamentarian's links with these criminal gangs, which began to be investigated in 2018 after the murder of the left-wing Carioca councillor Marielle Franco, had almost fallen into oblivion. And, if not for the tragic end of "Captain Adriano", the former policeman's alias, he would have been left floating in time. But the fall of that man, in a confusing police action, reactivated the case.

Suspicions about Flavio Bolsonaro's links with Rio de Janeiro's militias began to be investigated in 2018 after the murder of left-wing councillor Marielle Franco. The tragic end of "Captain Adriano" reactivated the case

Last Friday, a simple ceremony put General Walter Braga Netto in charge of the Civil House, the most important ministry. With this move, the president completed the militarization of key functions within his cabinet. Braga thus joined General Augusto Heleno, from Institutional Security; Military Police Major Jorge de Oliveira, from the General Secretariat of the Presidency; and General Luiz Eduardo Ramos, from the Secretariat of Government, who has another key secretariat under his purview: Social Communication (SECOM). With this quartet, all the top-level officials with offices in the Planalto Palace are now in uniform.

What led the Brazilian president to surround himself with heads of the Armed Forces? Braga Netto, who until recently served as the Army Chief of Staff, is often described as "too reserved" for a role that includes establishing ties with Congress. It is no small thing, either, that the federal deputy Onyx Lorenzoni was urged to abandon this prominent position, to be later rewarded with a ministry of little relevance.

 General Braga Netto 

The reasons for the castling are only now beginning to be elucidated. It is the way that Bolsonaro and his entourage found to protect themselves and their offspring from a scandal that is spreading everywhere. The death of "Captain Adriano", which occurred last week after a year "on the run", is on the front pages of the newspapers and takes up a lot of space in the news.

Young Flavio, who managed to take his seat in the Upper House in 2019, is now suffering the consequences of past events. They are from the epic of his state deputy's seat. The Fluminense justice system considers that Flavio committed a crime during that period: he used "gnocchis" -workers that only go on pay day- to keep the bulk of their salaries. It also assumes that the congressman laundered that money, accumulated over more than a decade, through a shop selling chocolates in the capital of Rio de Janeiro.

The Bolsonaro family's ties to the militias are not new. The now president called "Captain Adriano," who ran the gang known as "The Crime Bureau" a "hero" even though he was jailed for killing a car caretaker. "It is common for a Military Policeman in operations to kill a tramp, a trafficker," explained Bolsonaro.

How is the story of Adriano da Nóbrega's murder linked to this? It is relatively simple: his ex-wife and his mother were "employed" by Flavio in the Fluminense Legislative Assembly. They both had to leave their posts, which in practice they had never held, at the end of 2018 when the alleged crimes of the now Senator Flavio were exposed. Both managed to transfer money to an account linked to a close friend of President Bolsonaro, retired military policeman Fabricio Queiroz, also a fugitive from justice. Queiroz also had a strong friendship with "Captain Adriano," who until his escape had led the militia group called "The Office of Crime. In 2005, Bolsonaro himself came to vindicate the militiaman. At that time, Adriano had fallen in prison for killing a car caretaker in a parking lot. Jair, who was then a federal deputy, went so far as to say in the lower house in Brasília that the military policeman was "a hero". (Nóbrega). "As usual, a military policeman in an operation kills a homeless person, a drug dealer," he said.

Last week, after keeping silent about the matter, the president of Brazil decided to speak up: he recovered his old discourse, saying that Adriano had been "a hero" at the time, even though he could not define the current behavior of the former policeman. But the episode seems to be going "in crescendo". There are strong suspicions There are strong suspicions about how Da Nóbrega's death occurred. He was found, after weeks of searching, in the interior of the state of Bahia. He was surrounded by Bahian police in a joint operation with Rio de Janeiro police. The man died from police fire at close range. This information allowed Jair Bolsonaro to assume that the Bahian military police, in a province whose governor, Rui Costa, is from the Workers' Party, would be responsible for this "murder". Conclusion: the Brazilian president insinuated that the blame lies with the PT. However, he also put part of the responsibility on Wilson Witzel, who recently became a "mortal enemy" of the president.

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