Bombastic Documentary Raises Questions on Bolsonaro Stabbing

New film generates controversy by suggesting it’s time to take a deeper look into the September 6th, 2018 stabbing incident of Jair Bolsonaro.

by Brian Mier

A new documentary by Joaquim de Carvalho about the 2018 Presidential campaign stabbing incident involving Jair Bolsonaro has led to a possible congressional investigation and attacks against the journalist from an Intercept Brasil editor and Folha de Sao Paulo.

The documentary, called Bolsonaro e Adélio – Uma fakeada no coração do Brasil, which was released on September 11 and has nearly 1 million YouTube views, reveals new evidence on the incident and although some is only circumstantial it supports Carvalho’s assertion that more investigation into the stabbing is needed.

A large percentage of the Brazilian population has never believed that Bolsonaro was really stabbed, in part because there was no blood (actually a pretty common situation in puncture wounds), but also because he had a series of intestinal problems before and after the alleged stabbing. A theory advanced by some journalists, like Leonardo Stoppa, is that Bolsonaro used the stabbing incident to cover up intestinal cancer surgery.

From Bolsonaro’s decision to not wear his bullet proof vest that day, to the promotion of several of his bodyguards into ABIN, the Brazilian intelligence agency, to hand signals exchanged with body guards right before the stabbing, to the fluid way protagonist, Adélio Bispo, was able to walk in and out of the security cordon while brandishing the knife, there is a lot to think about.

Clip from film subtitled by author, shows hand signals exchanged between Bolsonaro and security agent shortly before the stabbing

There is also the fact that while working as a freelance bricklayer’s assistant living in a tiny rented room in a Florianopolis favela with a collective bathroom, Adélio was able to pay cash for shooting lessons weeks before the incident at one of the most expensive gun clubs in the city – a club which has a kind of shrine set up to Carlos and Eduardo Bolsonaro in it. At the time that news came out that Carlos Bolsonaro and Adélio belonged to the same shooting club, it’s spokeswoman, Júlia Zanatta, told the national media it was a coincidence – that the knife-man had only been there on one day. It later came out through analysis of club records that he had taken a 3 day course there and on the last day, Carlos Bolsonaro was on the range with him. Shortly after Bolsonaro took office, Zanetta was given a cushy government job as head of the Embratur Federal Tourism Agency’s southern region.

One incident which deserves more scrutiny is what has happened to Adélio since the day of the stabbing. Within 2 hours of the incident, one of the most notorious and expensive defense lawyers in Brazil, Zanone Junior, arrived in Juiz de Fora by small plane and announced he was taking over the defense. Some may remember Zanone as the defense lawyer who prevented the millionaire rancher convicted of ordering the 2005 murder of US nun/environmentalist Dorothy Stang, Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura, from ever doing any jail time.

Announcing that he fees were being paid for by an anonymous benefactor, within weeks Zanone had Adélio declared criminally insane, set up a Britney Spears-style custodianship over him without informing his immediate family (who are interviewed in the film), and had him transferred to solitary confinement in a mental hospital where he has been prevented from speaking to the press ever since.

Immediately upon the film’s release, controversial Congressman Alexandre Frota (PSDB-SP), a former Bolsonaro supporter who was with Bolsonaro’s delegation on that day in 2018, filed a parliamentary motion to investigate the stabbing, which he believes was a fake.

On Twitter, Intercept Brasil Senior Contributing Editor Rafael Moro Martins attacked Carvalho, who has 40 years experience in many of the top mainstream Brazilian print and TV journalism outlets, insulting his ethics and falsely accusing him of alleging that the stabbing was fake (in fact, Carvalho argues that more investigation is needed). Martins later backed out of an invitation to debate Carvalho about the film.

Then conservative Folha de Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest newspaper, sent Carvalho a list of 21 baited questions about his documentary which, according to people who have seen it, seems to be set up to reinforce the official narrative on the stabbing incident.

Before the Sept. 6th, 2018 stabbing, Bolsonaro was getting clobbered in the debates and had only 8 seconds of free political ad time per night. The stabbing gave him one week of 24 hour coverage and a reasonable excuse to sit out the rest of the debates. Judging by all the other lies that were perpetrated on social media by the Bolsonaros during the campaign, much of it under guidance of Steve Bannon, and taking into consideration all of the pain and suffering that his disastrous presidency has wreaked on the Brazilian people, isn’t it time we take a closer look at this?


By Brian Mier

Writer, geographer and former development professional who has lived in Brazil for 26 years. Former directorate member of the Fórum Nacional de Reforma Urbana (National Urban Reform Forum). Has lived in São Luis, Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Author of “Os Megaeventos Esportivos na Cidade do Rio de Janeiro e o Direito á Cidade” (CEPR: Porto Alegre. 2016). Editor of "Voices of the Brazilian Left" (Sumare: São Paulo. 2018). Editor of "Year of Lead: Washington, Wall Street and the New Imperialism in Brazil" ((Sumare: São Paulo. 2019) Irregular correspondent for the Chicago radio show This is Hell.