BRAZIL: Reactionary Armed Forces Caught Trafficking Drugs on Presidential Plane

By Jakob Stein

On June 25, a member of the reactionary Brazilian armed forces was caught trying to smuggle 39 kilograms of cocaine through the Spanish town of Seville as he accompanied fascist president Jair Bolsonaro to the imperialist G20 summit in Japan. Sgt. Manoel Silva Rodrgues, who had previously served as an aircrew member for two other Brazilian presidents, was arrested on charges of drug trafficking to the embarrassment of Bolsonaro, who has committed many offenses against the people of Brazil in the name of “combating the drug trade.”

Although both Bolsonaro and his Vice President Hamilton Mourao feigned shock at the revelation, it is not the first time the reactionary armed forces in Brazil have been caught trafficking drugs.

Last April, an Aviation Major was sentenced to 16 years in prison for international drug trafficking and criminal association when he was caught with almost 33 kilograms of cocaine in a Brazilian Air Force (FAB) plane.

In 2018 alone, 228 cases involving trafficking, possession, and use of drugs by the military were registered, demonstrating a clear pattern of corruption.

Even the president’s son, Carlos Bolsonaro, commented that he was not surprised at the revelation and doesn’t travel with security so as to avoid such entanglements. The collusion between the reactionary armed forces and the big bourgeoisie and large landowners in drug production and distribution is logical since it is the army that guards ruling class interests.

This latest controversy is taking place in the context of a struggle for power between the more traditional rightwing of the Brazilian government, represented by the high command of the reactionary armed forces, and the extreme rightwing represented by Bolsonaro and his camp.

As both sides jockey for control of the military, the masses see the class interests of each faction. The Bolsonaro administration wishes to gain the support of the troops to help him carry out his fascist coup, while the military high command is struggling to keep up the façade of “democracy.”

As already demonstrated by the masses in Brazil, the popular and combative struggle for New Democracy is the only way out of this vicious cycle of oppression.