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Brazilian Police Raid Former President Bolsonaro’s Home for Allegedly Dodging Vaccine Mandate

Victor Westerkamp
Victor resides in the Netherlands and writes about freedom and governmental and social changes to the democratic form of nations.
Published: May 5, 2023
Police guards are posting with much show of force outside former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s home in Brasilia, Brazil, during a raid on his home on May 3. The popular former right-wing president is accused of dodging Covid-19 vaccination requirements on his entry to the United States last year. (Image: Video still/Thomson Reuters)

Brazilian police last on May 3 raided former President Jair Bolsonaro’s home and arrested two personal aides as part of an investigation into falsified COVID-19 vaccination records, two sources familiar with the matter said.

During the raids, several figures close to Bolsonaro were arrested, including former army captain Ailton Gonçalves Moraes Barros, Lt. Col. Mauro Sid, and Max Guilherme, who stayed on as Bolsonaro’s aide when the latter stepped down in January.

The sources, who requested anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the operation had arrested Mauro Cid Federal police, in a statement, said they were serving 16 search warrants and six preventive arrest warrants in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro as part of the operation but did not disclose the names of those targeted.

Police confiscated Bolsonaro’s cell phone, reports allege. Bolsonaro himself, against whom no arrest warrant had been issued, was not present at the moment.

Bolsonaro’s wife, former First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro, first said in a Twitter post that her phone had also been confiscated and that she had indeed had to surrender her phone. 

She added that she did not know what the purpose of the raid was and that she had had to learn about it through the media.

The raids were organized in response to allegations that the party had traveled to America with fake vaccination papers to meet the CDC’s vaccination requirement in effect at the time.

Bolsonaro has consistently spoken against vaccination and publicly said he will never get vaccinated. The same holds for his daughter, 12-year-old Laura. 

Anti-democratic digital militias spreading fake news

The vaccination mandate fraud is alleged to have occurred during the Bolsonaros’ 3-month trip to America immediately after his controversial election defeat and just before his resignation as the country’s president.

The plaintiffs claim that the false vaccination statements were entered into the Brazilian Ministry of Health register on Dec. 21, just six days before the three had scheduled to travel to the US. 


According to Brazilian police, charges of violation of public health law, entry for false information in government systems, and bribery of employees hang over the trio. 

“As a result, they were able to issue vaccine certificates and use them to circumvent restrictions imposed by public authorities in Brazil and the United States,” the police said, according to Reuters.

The investigation points to “ideological” reasons for circumventing vaccination rules, police said, “to keep up a discourse of attacking vaccination against COVID-19.”

Wednesday’s operation was reportedly carried out at the behest of the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, Alexandre de Moraes, who has far-reaching powers drawn to himself and had previously shown his dictatorial side when he challenged protesters and political leaders who questioned the results of the presidential election in which leftist candidate and convicted criminal Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) would have won. 

De Morais spoke of an investigation that would be done into “anti-democratic digital militias” that were allegedly spreading “fake news. 

The right to remain silent

Immediately after the raid, Bolsonaro had said he was “surprised” by the operation. He denied all allegations but stressed that neither he nor his daughter had been vaccinated. 

“I have never been asked for a vaccination card anywhere. There is no tampering on my part,” Bolsonaro said, according to Breitbart. “There isn’t. I didn’t take the vaccine, and that’s it. I never denied that. There were people who pressured me to take the vaccine. Yes, naturally. I decided not to take it because I read the Pfizer leaflet.”

He added that it was “a personal decision of mine — after reading the Pfizer package insert, I decided not to take it. My wife’s vaccine card was also photographed, and she took the vaccine in the United States from Janssen [Johnson & Johnson],” he added, according to the outlet.

“And the other, my daughter, Laura, 12 years old, didn’t take the vaccine either, and she has a medical report regarding that,” Bolsonaro said.

The former president had also been summoned to appear before the Federal Police Headquarters. Still, he did not comply, according to his lawyer Paulo Dunya Weno, who asserted Bolsonaro is exercising his right to remain silent for the time being.

Reuters contributed to this report.