In yet another demonstration of how Brazil’s congressional hearings committees are used for political theater, Congressman Luis Miranda arrived for his deposition at the Senate this afternoon wearing a bulletproof vest. He is set to give testimony on alleged irregularities involving a Health Ministry contract to purchase Covaxin vaccines in February. His brother, a senior Health Ministry official, will also give a deposition.
Mr. Miranda claims to have received death threats. Pro-Bolsonaro supporters questioned the candor of his words, dismissing them as “clickbait.” The congressman is a member of the so-called “iPhone caucus,” referring to a group of neophyte politicians who use social media frequently to speak to their constituents.
Prior to the beginning of his deposition, Mr. Miranda asked to speak privately with Senator Omar Aziz, the committee’s chairman. To avoid outcry from pro-Bolsonaro committee members, Mr. Aziz accepted the request but brought the government’s whip in the Senate along with him.
Expectations around today’s depositions have left tensions in Brasília at fever pitch, but observers worry that the relevance of the inquiry could be at stake. Previous depositions have promised fireworks but ended up falling flat.