Brazil minister responsible for presidential security resigns

Brasilia, Apr 19 (EFE).- Brazil’s cabinet chief for Institutional Security of the Presidency, Marco Edson Goncalves Dias, resigned on Wednesday after the press published images in which he appears with demonstrators who assaulted the seats of the three government branches on Jan. 8, 2021.

The resignation of Goncalves Dias, a close confidant of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was immediately accepted by the president, official sources said.

The reserve military officer presented his resignation just hours after CNN Brasil broadcast images recorded by security cameras at the Planalto Presidential Palace in which he appears at the palace on the day of the attempted coup staged by supporters of former ultrarightist President Jair Bolsonaro.

Initially, Goncalves Dias appears in images moving through the halls on the third floor of Planalto Palace and entering the president’s office, but he is also seen together with some of the demonstrators who invaded the building apparently showing them an emergency exit.

In another image, one of his advisors is seen conversing with the palace invaders, greeting them and offering them bottled water.

According to the Security Cabinet, the images reflect “the activities of security agents, whose objective, initially, was to evacuate the third and fourth floors of Planalto Palace.”

Goncalves Dias was a military officer very close to Lula who worked to provide security for him during his two prior terms as president and for his successor and political protege Dilma Rousseff, and he was also in charge of Lula’s security during his 2022 election campaign.

On Jan. 8, thousands of radicalized demonstrators who did not recognize Lula’s election defeat of Bolsonaro in the balloting the previous October attacked the seats of the presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court in an attempt to spark – or carry out – a coup d’etat to remove Lula from office.

Shortly before announcing the minister’s resignation, the President’s Office released a statement in which it emphasizes that the participation of military personnel in the pro-coup actions have been under investigation by the Supreme Court since Feb. 27 and affirming that all those bearing responsibility for the attack on Brazil’s democracy will be punished.

“All the soldiers involved in (the events) of Jan. 8 have already been identified and investigated within the framework of the mentioned investigation. Eighty-one military personnel have already (provided testimony), including members of the Institutional Security Cabinet,” the statement says.

The communique also says that the pro-coup actions came just a week after Lula took office and that at the time many members of the previous Bolsonaro administration were still on the security teams for the President’s Office.

“The stance of the government remains the same: there will be no impunity for those involved in the criminal acts of Jan. 8,” the statement concludes.

EFE cm/mp/bp

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