Speeches by General Marcos Amaro, new minister of the Institutional Security Office, about the preparations to resume the leadership of the bodyguard team for the president, the vice president and family members irritated members of the Federal Police leadership
BRASÍLIA – On the verge of losing control over the immediate security of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, federal police officers launched a reaction backstage at the Planalto Palace to remain in office. The recent statements by General Marcos Amaro, the new minister of the Institutional Security Office (GSI), about the preparations for resuming the leadership of Lula’s bodyguard team, his vice-president, Geraldo Alckmin, and their family members, surprised and irritated members of the dome of the Federal Police.
This clash between the military and police over Lula’s role in security dates back to the transition of government. In December of last year, Lula decided to put the PF, temporarily, in charge of his security. The deadline was six months. Faced with distrust of active duty military personnel and lack of relations with general officers, he honored the team of delegate Andrei Passos, current director general of the Federal Police, who had headed Lula’s security during the election campaign.
Since January, the security of the PT supporter, Alckmin and their families has been carried out by the Extraordinary Secretariat for Immediate Security of the President of the Republic, formed by delegates and agents of the Federal Police. The GSI took on security assignments for facilities and events involving the president, but does not manage the professionals who circulate uninterruptedly around Lula.
As the scheme was provisional, despite indications from Lula’s interlocutors that it could be maintained and become permanent, there was a date for the clash to intensify again. Now, representatives of the two corporations – the PF and the Armed Forces – with transit in the Planalto dispute who will provide Lula’s approximate protection from the 30th of June. As of this date, according to the decree in force, the government will return control of presidential security to a team subordinated to the GSI, as traditionally happened with its predecessors. Consequently, Lula would extinguish the structure created to open the federal police in his personal office. The attributions would be exercised “privately” by the GSI.
Behind the scenes, the PF works to maintain competence over the protection of the president, vice president and family members. In private conversations, delegates complain about Amaro’s statements. The police say that the general was made official on Thursday, the 4th, in a “very quick” meeting with Lula and “there wasn’t even enough time” for the petista to have decided to return his protection to the GSI.
Delegates also criticized the fact that the statements were made at a time when the PT member is not in Brazil. Lula traveled to London, where he participated in the coronation of King Charles III. this Saturday, 6. Ten federal police traveled with the president.
In Brazil, the PF provides security for ministers and foreign authorities arriving in the country. During the presidential election, the Federal also takes care of the protection of candidates.
In the evaluation of the delegates, Lula’s security should remain under the responsibility of the PF, since the police are responsible for this protection “in every democracy on the planet”. The police say that returning this attribution to the GSI would put Brazil against the grain of other countries.
Privately, these officers also claim that Amaro is trying to put together “a narrative” to regain power at the GSI. Delegates say they were not approached by the general for a conversation about presidential protection.
If you don’t get presidential security, the GSI will be a body with few attributions. In March, the cabinet lost the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN), which was linked to the Civil House.
Since 2016, ABIN has once again been part of the structure of the Institutional Security Office (GSI). Before, the Agency was also part of the Government Secretariat – from 2015 to 2016, in a short period, and the GSI itself – from the creation of ABIN, in 1999, until 2015.
The cabinet began to lose strength after Lula’s arrival in the Presidency. It was even more emptied after the January 8 coup attempt, when supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro invaded and vandalized the headquarters of the Three Powers. At the time, the petista said that he had lost confidence in part of the military and promoted a mass dismissal in the body.
The GSI went through an investigation in the last month under suspicion that Bolsonarist employees had leaked the video that caused the fall of the prime minister of Lula’s government, General Gonçalves Dias. The then head of the GSI appeared in images from the Planalto’s internal circuit indicating the way out for coup plotters who invaded and destroyed the building on January 8.
After the departure of Gonçalves Dias, the cabinet was under an interim period of the executive secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Ricardo Cappelli, as minister. Cappelli, who intervened in public security in the Federal District, belongs to a wing of the government that defended the extinction of the portfolio.
Lula, however, resisted the pressures coming from people close to him, such as First Lady Rosângela da Silva, and decided to keep the GSI in the Planalto structure. Amaro took office in a closed meeting with the president at the Planalto Palace.
As anticipated by Estadão, the choice of general was made on April 27. The military man occupied the Casa Militar during the second term of former President Dilma Rousseff and was even described behind the scenes as the “shadow” of the president, a role played by Gonçalves Dias in Lula’s first two terms.
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