What was Eduardo Bolsonaro doing in Washington during the January 6 coup?

New information has emerged in recent weeks about the broad involvement of former President Donald Trump and his close political circle, broad sectors of the Republican Party and the military in the attempted fascist coup launched at the US Capitol on January 6. These facts vindicate the seriousness with which the World Socialist Web Site has dealt with this event and its international political significance.

This significance, on the other hand, has been totally underestimated by the Brazilian corporate media and pseudo-left publications, despite the profound implications of the coup for Brazil’s own political situation. This has been underscored by the fascistic President Jair Bolsonaro’s threats to repeat in Brazil the same coup methods employed by Trump.

In particular, no Brazilian media or political force has questioned the motives of Eduardo Bolsonaro—President Bolsonaro’s son, federal congressman, and chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee—for being present in the United States during the events of January 6. The fact that Eduardo traveled during his parliamentary vacation has been cynically used as an argument to treat the trip by this fascistic conspirator as a personal affair.

Eduardo’s Bolsonaro’s arrival in the United States on January 4 was first reported by Globo as a “surprise visit” to the White House at the invitation of Ivanka Trump, daughter of the former US president. The next day, “Zero Three,” as the Brazilian president calls his third son, published on social media a photo of Ivanka holding his newborn daughter in her arms.

Nothing was reported in the media about the Brazilian congressman’s activities on January 5, the day before the Capitol invasion. His wife, Heloísa Bolsonaro, however, posted that day on her social media that “now that he [Eduardo] is in a meeting, I could be walking, but the city of Washington is very much closed.” No information came out about who he met, or what this meeting was about.

Amidst Heloísa Bolsonaro’s platitudes about this being her daughter’s “first international trip” and her meeting with “Aunt Ivanka,” there is still further revealing information about the circumstances surrounding her husband’s visit to Washington: “This trip was recently confirmed, at the last minute. We were in the middle of summer, I had to think about winter clothes.”

On the evening of January 6, before Congress had finally completed the certification of Joe Biden’s election as US president, Eduardo Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself beside Trump supporter Michael Lindell, saying: “Pleased to meet Michael Lindell, a former junkie and now a successful businessman in the US.” He mentioned no reason for this meeting.

Lindell is not just any businessman. He played a central role in the planning of Trump’s coup. At the end of January, as reported by the WSWS, information emerged about a meeting held on January 5 between the former US president and his supporters at Trump International Hotel to discuss the following day’s events. Among the 15 people present at this meeting, besides the organizers of the next day’s rally and march to the Capitol, was MyPillow’s CEO, Michael Lindell.

On January 15, Lindell made a brief visit to Donald Trump at the White House. A Washington Post photographer was able to partially photograph a document in Lindell’s hands, apparently outlining proposals for the former president’s final days in office. The note suggested invoking the Insurrection Act, allowing the deployment of the US Armed Forces in the streets, and a declaration of “martial law if necessary.”

The document appeared to also include a proposal to claim that China and Iran were behind the alleged election fraud as the pretext for the invocation of emergency powers, and called for the installation of Trump loyalist Kash Patel at the head of the CIA.

Even after these revelations, the only mention in the Brazilian media about the meeting between Lindell and Bolsonaro has been a brief report in Época magazine, still on January 6.

Instead of exposing the ominous presence of the fascistic congressman and son of the president in the US during the January 6 events, which was a political statement in itself, the Brazilian press did just the opposite. Folha de São Paulo, the newspaper with the largest circulation in Brazil, highlighted Eduardo Bolsonaro’s “silence” about the siege of the US Capitol. The right-wing Veja, the magazine with the largest national circulation in Brazil, stated that the coup had been “forgotten” by Eduardo.

But Eduardo Bolsonaro did not keep silent about the coup. On the next day, he shared a tweet by Brazil’s far-right Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo, stating: “I make my own the words of Chancellor Ernesto Araújo. This is also my vision about what happened in the USA yesterday.” Araújo, repeating the arguments of Trump’s inner circle, cynically “regretted” the storming of the Capitol, while declaring:

“One must recognize that a large part of the American people feel assaulted and betrayed by their political class and distrust the electoral process.

“One has to distinguish between ‘electoral process’ and ‘democracy.’ Doubting the suitability of an electoral process does NOT mean rejecting democracy…

“One must stop calling decent citizens ‘fascists’ when they demonstrate against elements of the political system or members of institutions…

“Nothing justifies an invasion like the one that occurred yesterday. But at the same time nothing justifies, in a democracy, the disrespect of the people by the institutions or those who control them.

“The right of the people to demand the proper functioning of their institutions is sacred. May yesterday’s events in Washington not serve as a pretext, in the USA or in any country, to place any institution above popular scrutiny.”

These words, signed onto by “Zero Three,” are an unequivocal declaration of support for the fascist conspiracy in the US. Along with the coup-mongering statements of President Jair Bolsonaro himself, they should be taken with the utmost seriousness by the Brazilian working class.

Eduardo Bolsonaro is a particularly nefarious and dangerous figure. A federal policeman, his political activities in Brazil are directly connected to the mobilization of police forces as the basis for a fascistic movement. As a congressman, he is a vocal supporter of weapons manufacturing and unrestricted “gun rights” in Brazil, along with the criminalization of communism. Like his father, he is an avid defender of the bloody military dictatorship that ruled Brazil for 21 years.

In the first year of his administration, Bolsonaro appointed his son Eduardo as Brazil’s ambassador to the US, allegedly because he is “a friend of Donald Trump’s children” and has “a very great global experience.” This plan ultimately failed. The “global experience” mentioned by Bolsonaro includes having been nominated by Steve Bannon as the South American leader of his fascistic front, The Movement.

Eduardo did not go to the United States as a tourist. He was effectively summoned as an international observer of Trump’s coup on behalf of Brazilian fascists. If Trump tweeted his supporters that January 6 “will be wild,” one has only to imagine what Eduardo Bolsonaro was told.

It is extremely revealing of the character of organizations like the Workers Party (PT), the Maoist Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), and the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), the so-called opposition to the Bolsonaro’s administration, that they did not even challenge Eduardo Bolsonaro’s explanations to the House of Representatives about the reasons for his trip to the United States.

The turn of the ruling class to dictatorial forms of rule, whether in Brazil, the US or anywhere else in the world, will find no serious barrier in the parties based on the bourgeois state and the defense of capitalist property relations, regardless of the “left” varnish with which they attempt to cover themselves. Only the independent political mobilization of the international working class, oriented by the socialist perspective of the International Committee of the Fourth International, can seriously confront this threat.