Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva only started his formal work on the third floor of the Planalto Palace on Wednesday, three days after taking office on Sunday.
The delay is mainly due to distrust, some “traps” and a police check by fear that Bolsonarism has left a legacy of microphones and microcameras videos in offices.
According to a source close to the transition process told Télam, for the same reasons of security, espionage and even changes to the decorations, Lula and his wife, Rosángela Janja da Silva, still They do not have a move date to the official residence Palacio de la Alvoradawhere Jair Bolsonaro and his wife Michelle lived until they fled the country on December 29.
The “007” climate that reigns in Brasilia continues with the presidential handover: Lula and Janja will sleep until further notice in the presidential suite of the Meliá 21 hotel, facing the Brasilia TV Tower, in the South hotel sector, where Lula for example, he received on Tuesday the president of East Timor, José Ramos Horta.
The Meliá 21 hotel is located in front of an emblematic place in Brazil: a gas station called “Torre”, whose former owners have been investigated for laundering money diverted from political groups.
This is how Operation Lava Jato was born, which uncovered the corruption in Petrobras’ contracts with construction companies, and which led Judge Sergio Moro to sentence Lula da Silva to prison.
The current president was jailed for 580 days in Curitiba until his sentence was overturned and the Supreme Court retrained him to hold public office.
This gas station gave the operation its name because among its services it offers a quick car wash, aka “Lava Jato”.
Preparations on the go
According to Lula’s relatives, Janja has already met with the heads of the presidential facilities in La Alvorada to prepare for the move.
Both have their residence in the Alto de Pinheiros district, in São Paulo, where they have lived since before their marriage, which took place last May.
Widowed in 2017 due to the death of his wife Marisa Leticia Rocco, Lula left Sao Bernardo do Campo, a municipality in Greater São Paulo where she forged her political and trade union career.
For the moment, it is excluded that Lula resides with the first lady in Granja do Torto, the official country house on the outskirts of Brasilia where Bolsonaro’s Economy Minister, Paulo Guedes, has lived since the pandemic.
It is therefore expected that the decoration of the Palacio de la Alvorada will change again, as has always happened at the rate of political crises.
In September 2016, after Dilma Rousseff’s departure, incoming president Michel Temer and his then-wife, Marcela, swapped out all the red furniture to try to remove any branding linking the official residence, which overlooks Lake Paranoá, with the Workers’ Party.
Along the same lines, Michelle Bolsonaro, a fanatical evangelist, before going to live there, did an “energetic cleansing” and removed all sacred elements, such as statuettes of the Virgin, angels and other Catholic symbols.
Bolsonaro, as a symbolic message of savings, announced with great fanfare that he would not turn on the machine to heat the water in the Palazzo’s swimming pool. That was one of the austerity messages to try and give his government a permanent adjustment profile in public spending.
Microphones and keys “missing”.
The Federal Police did the job of metal detection and microphones on phones and all the rooms and corridors of the Planalto Palace, the building of glass and concrete curves designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer, located in the Plaza de los Tres Poderes, where the executive power coexists with Congress and the Federal Supreme Court.
Janja da Silva will have as First Lady an office next to the presidential office of Lula and the Chief of Cabinet (Civil House), Rui Costa, and the Ministers of Institutional Relations, Alexandre Padilha, the Secretary General of the presidency, Marcio Macedo and that of Communication Social, deputy Paulo Pimenta.
Janja should replace in the Palazzo Planalto the decoration referring to Afro-Brazilian culture, removed by Bolsonaro and his wife, including the Orixás painting, which was removed from the Noble Hall.
The painting, which refers to religions of African origin, by the plastic artist Djanira da Motta, from 1960, was taken by Michelle Bolsonaro to the basement of the government building following her Pentecostal evangelization.
The same had been done in 1974 by the dictator Ernesto Geisel who, in order not to be treated as a racist, maintained that it was because he was Lutheran.
As reported by the Federal Police quoted by the newspaper or globeseveral doors of the Palazzo Planalto were closed, with the mysteriously “missing” keys by its former tenants. For this reason, several blacksmiths worked continuously on Monday and Tuesday at the government building.
The fear that Bolsonarism creates situations of espionage has a close antecedent: the institutional security cabinet, which controls the Abin intelligence agency, in November offered Lula’s transition team all the IT equipment, from computers, to service Wi-Fi and broadband, for future ministers and secretaries who have worked at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil.
All the lines have been eliminated and security has been entrusted to federal policemen chosen by Lula.
The government has more than 6,000 soldiers in administrative positions who answer directly to the military wing that has crossed the barrier from institutional to political neutrality.
As part of the government transition at all levels, the most curious event occurred on Monday at the Ministry of Economy: before Fernando Haddad’s arrival at the helm of the Treasury portfolio, career employees wanted to bid him farewell “always” to Bolsonaro’s minister Paulo Guedes.
Everyone grabbed brooms, squeegees and threw salt in the entrance and corridors to “cleanse” the bad energy, which, although it may not exist, like witches, who do exist, do exist.
Source: Pablo Giuliano, Télam correspondent in Brasilia
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.