Brazil: Congressman Silveira, the undisciplined police officer who embodies the pulse between Bolsonarism and the Supreme Court | International

Deputy Silveira, together with President Bolsonaro, in a photo published on his Instagram account in 2020.Play Instagram

For more than 24 hours, the Bolsonarista deputy Daniel Silveira, 39, was the undisputed protagonist of the last news hour in Brazil. He captured all the attention of television commentators, of social networks. One and the other followed each of his steps and statements while he tried to slip away from the police officers who were looking for him at the end of March to place an electronic anklet on him by order of a Supreme Court judge. Taking refuge in the headquarters of Congress, in Brasilia, he only abandoned his attitude when he found himself with frozen accounts and a daily fine of thousands of reais. This former military policeman sits on the bench next week, accused of broadcasting a video in defense of anti-democratic acts such as dismissing the judges of the highest court and the military order that served to close Congress during the dictatorship, the so-called Act Institutional number five.

Silveira personifies like nobody else the pulse that Bolsonaroism and the Supreme Court have maintained since Jair Bolsonaro became president. The Court, which is one more political actor, has emerged as the most combative institution when it comes to curbing the authoritarian temptations of the president and his followers. The Bolsonaristas, who accuse her of curtailing freedoms, have turned the controversial parliamentarian into a martyr for freedom of expression.

The trial comes at a time when Bolsonaro is beginning to close the gap in the electoral polls after many months at a huge distance from former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Brazil will elect a president and renew the Congress within six months.

That hectic day in late March when he openly disregarded the judge’s orders, Silveira slept in his office in Congress in Brasilia. Hours earlier, he had taken the floor in the plenary hall to accuse Judge Alexandre de Moraes of being “running over the Legislative, running over what the Constitution says.” It did not matter if a deputy listened to him in the seats, the speech was not for them, but for his followers, to whom it reached them through social networks perfectly packaged. Judge Moraes wrote that day in an order: “Strange and bizarre situation in which the accused uses the Chamber of Deputies to hide from the police and Justice, offending the very dignity of Parliament, by treating it as a lair of fugitives from the Justice”. The deputy has been prohibited from using the networks since he was charged last February. He spent time under house arrest.

The political scientist Camila Rocha explains that Silveira “has had that role of agitator for the most extremist Bolsonaro militancy since the time he broke Marielle’s plate. [Franco]. It was that episode that prompted the choice of him”. Bolsonaro had not yet won the elections and Silveira was still a military policeman trying to be elected to Congress, when he broke a plaque in Rio honoring the black and bisexual leftist councilor murdered months earlier. It was recorded on video, it was broadcast and thanks to those im[agesheceasedtobeonemoreamongthethousandsofunknowncandidatesWeekslatervoterstookhimtoCongressinBrasilia“Withoutadoubtthereisastrategybehind”theradicalismthatthisrookiedeputyembodiesaddsRocha”Thisradicalizationhasapoliticalmotivationitisfromthewingthatpressesthemostforaninstitutionalrupture”[agenesdejódeserunomásentrelosmilesdecandidatosdesconocidosSemanasdespuéslosvotanteslellevaronhastaelCongresoenBrasilia“Sindudahayunaestrategiadetrás”delradicalismoqueencarnaestediputadonovatoañadeRocha“Esaradicalizacióntieneunamotivaciónpolíticaesdelalaquemáspresionaparaunarupturainstitucional”

Silveira is an undisciplined guy. Just take a look at his career. He was sanctioned sixty times during his six years as a military policeman in Rio de Janeiro. They must have been serious offenses because the punishments included almost a month in jail and almost two months in jail. He maintains that this bad record is “for going head-on against arbitrariness, against the absurd orders of some officers.”

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Muscular, square as a wardrobe, sometimes it seems that the suits he wears in the Chamber of Deputies are going to explode. He likes to wear a tie and, on his lapel, a brooch with two crossed pistols.

Political scientist Rocha maintains that Silveira’s trial before the Supreme Court is important for the president himself and for the political movement he leads. “Now, Bolsonaro expects loyalty from the two Supreme Court justices he appointed. The idea is that (these) request a postponement of the hearing to avoid the ineligibility of deputy Silveira. If he is convicted, he will be ineligible and that harms Bolsonaroism because it would show the firepower of the sector of the Supreme Court headed by Moraes.”

Bolsonarism considers Moraes its black beast because he directs that investigation for promoting anti-democratic acts and another on false news that threatens the digital strategy that gives the president so much joy. The president himself is being investigated in one of the cases for his campaign against electronic ballot boxes. This week, YouTube has removed a video from months ago in which it questioned, without evidence, the voting system adopted by Brazil 25 years ago. One of the most widespread fears is that, if he loses the election, he will refuse to recognize the result and try to cause a crisis in the style of Donald Trump. The Superior Electoral Court has invited the European Union, the OAS and the Carter Center to send observers for the October elections.

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