The Crossroads of the Generals

Image: João Nitsche
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By EDWARD POPE*

In all government agencies, we find military personnel occupying positions for which they have no preparation.

After two years of the Bolsonaro government, I would very much like to see a new survey like this that points out the concept of the population in terms of different functional categories. My curiosity is to know how the prestige of the military is going after the arrival of the “cloud of olive green locusts” to the federal government. No one can deny that we live in a “military government”, no country in Latin America, perhaps in the world, has so many military ministers inside the Planalto Palace, all four of them, including one still active, like the paratrooper general who commands the occupation troops. at the Ministry of Health. There are thousands of Armed Forces soldiers and auxiliaries ensconced in commissioned positions and the cordon is growing more and more. Perhaps giving the impression that we exchanged the much publicized “Partido da Boquinha” for the “Armed Forces of Boquinha”?

The antics of the fundamentalist admiral of ANVISA, the outrageous declarations of the Terraplanista minister of the Institutional Security Office of the Presidency of the Republic – GSI and of the vice president himself, the visible incapacity and political commitment of the Minister of Health – the great specialist in logistics that has to order the extension of the validity of chemical reagents that it was unable to distribute and continues to defend chloroquine -, the pathetic role of the Admiral of the Ministry of Mines and Energy disclosing successive missed deadlines for the end of the blackout in Amapá. In short, a mediocre and disastrous performance for the nation, making it clear as hell that these people shouldn't be where they are.

In all government agencies, we find military personnel occupying positions for which they have no preparation, in place of technicians with adequate training, many with proven experience driven out by ideological persecution. Yes, because the justification for this militarization is to have “trustworthy people”, which means the unconditional alignment and subordination of their actions to the ideological principles that emanate from the presidency and, consequently, the primary function of these trusted people is to hunt and purge from its domains anyone who is not properly in tune with the official chart.

It is also clear that these trusted people play this deplorable role in order to fatten their paychecks, employ relatives and friends, in short, fill themselves with public office, it is not credible that the thousands of soldiers raised to power are all imbued with the sacred mission of fight communism in defense of the Brazilian family. It may be that one or the other believes in that old wives' tale, but most came after suckling from the Republic's full teats. And the bestialized nation watching the party: the millions of unemployed, the workers who lost social rights, the young people who do not find opportunities, the devalued public servants, the population subjected to extortion by paramilitary militias, all following the turn of the “friend” of the gondola”.

I think that when we get out of this dark tunnel, we will have to re-discuss the role of our Armed forces. Why does a country like ours, which has no hostility towards its neighbors, which has not gone to war for two centuries, have to have the fifteenth army in the world? Why is our defense budget bigger than that of the State of Israel, which is always at war? Why in 2019 did Bolsonaro and Mandetta allocate R$ 22 billion from SUS to a program to build warships? Why would the 330 armed men, if not for the Army commander, threaten democratic institutions, as General Villas Boas did, later generously allocated and showered with thanks by the government?

The interventionist vocation and the feeling of having the right to protect society permeate the Brazilian Army since its foundation in the Paraguayan War. All it took was the password given by the abolition, for the military to start a dazzling succession of barracks, worthy of the Banana Republics of Central America, started with Deodoro, in 1889, and ended by Floriano, in 1894, with the right to two Revolts of the Navy , state of site and the complete package. Not even the concert of the oligarchy ruled by Prudente de Moraes and Pinheiro Machado, which sent the soldiers back to the barracks, diminished the appetite for power of the military. With the generals pastured, it was the turn of the lieutenants, then involved with the messianic mission of combating the old and decaying policy, which promoted armed riots, until one was successful in 1930, bringing Getúlio to power.

The old caudillo managed for some time to maintain the troop's loyalty, perhaps as he himself declared, by promoting lieutenants to captains. Apart from the proscribed Prestes, who endured horrors in the dungeons of the Estado Novo, the “revolutionaries” were all awarded positions in the new government. The most emblematic case was Juarez Távora, true viceroy of the Northeast. But Brazil went to war and everything changed. The generals, who were openly sympathetic to the Axis and did not miss opportunities to express their admiration for Hitler's Germany, were co-opted, in an extremely efficient way, by the American side in a process that continues until today, when our Armed Forces are nothing more than a secondary force integrated into the US Southern Command.

After having deposed Vargas, the military commanders were involved in several coup attempts, supported and financed by the US government, until in 1964 it worked. At that moment, the Armed Forces become a monolithic element. The purge of nationalist and leftist military personnel from the Armed Forces – and there were not a few, it was the class most affected by the Institutional Acts – opened the way for the hegemony of a thought based on the ideology of national security, on the duty to fight communism, aligned with the US in the Cold War, in defense of religious and patriarchal values, in the justification of violence to combat internal enemies, subversives of order. Anyway, what goes on between us, justifying the mortality of police operations in the favelas, the oppression of minorities, violence against women and the leniency of the judiciary with all of this.

They commanded two decades of a bloody dictatorship from the barracks, which set the country back a century, overthrew Jango, scandalizing the people with an inflation of 90%, which they delivered with 1350%, and the country on its knees before the IMF, reduced the people to misery to transform the country into a paradise for the great international conglomerates, and they left quietly. Some were more extreme, with no remorse for promoting bomb attacks, killing and injuring people, but even those accommodated themselves to an amnesty that exempted them from responsibility. Many went into public and private security, some went into sports, others simply went to play volleyball on the beach, but the ideology of national security remained deeply rooted among them. Despite the legalistic stance assumed by Army commanders since then, it is enough to read what Clube Militar writes to confirm the fact.

An integral and active part of the Pentagon's Hybrid War, which overthrew the Brazilian government in 2016, they had to accept a supporting role in the process, watching and supporting the show of the prima donna do lawfare, Moro and Dallagnol. With Bolsonaro's rise in the polls, they saw a window of opportunity to regain lost prestige and power and entered the captain's campaign headlong. They won the battle and eagerly set out to plunder the dominated countryside.

They guaranteed salary increases and the maintenance of functional privileges, while the majority of civil servants, with their salaries frozen, saw their rights on the way to being dispossessed. They quickly seized an important chunk of federal jobs and funding. They found in the North American “new right”, imported by Bolsonarism through digital networks, a rejuvenation of the old racist, sexist and prejudiced ideas of the old days of the dictatorship, which they romanticize as a model of happiness and security, with the old and traditional Christian values , the spirit that was lacking for the idea of ​​assuming dictatorial powers, began to circulate among the “military wing” of the government.

The hypothesis of a coup was never discarded by the military, a manifest objective and object of the militancy of the President and his offspring. Was it, and certainly still is, considered by the military, or what was the commander of the Armed Forces doing flying over in a military helicopter with the president a demonstration calling for the military dictatorship? Training to be Santa at the Army Christmas party by any chance? Of course not, however the delirious dream of those “trustworthy people” became a terrible nightmare robbing sleep of peace. They missed the chance they had, maybe at the height of the pandemic, with the PM militias harassing the governors, to get a chicken flight, but today the international geopolitical conditions completely make a manu militari coup unfeasible. Bolsonaro is a diplomatic dwarf and Brazil is completely isolated internationally.

And now Jose? What will the government of the generals be like after Christmas? They are going to have an economic, social and health catastrophe in their lap, harassed by politicians from the old right-wing parties, willing to charge dearly for their support and see a difficult crossroads ahead. Either they try to maintain popularity to end the government with some acceptance, ignoring the spending cap law and lose the support of the “market”, which here seems willing to scrape the pan, without leaving even a crumb for the populace, or they bet on continuity of Guedes and his politics, with the awareness of having to face strong movements of the population in the streets after the pandemic. This is the snooker they got themselves into and which, in my opinion, they are unable to overcome, most of them are not even able to understand.

No one can anticipate the strong emotions that lie ahead, but what I want is to draw attention to the fact that, after overcoming this misfortune that we have been through, when democratic forces return to lead the country, the lesson will not be forgotten and society will take measures to ward off definitively this specter of the military coup, both on the legal level, with the introduction of devices that prevent active duty military personnel from acting in politics with severe punishment, as our neighbor Uruguay did, and also on the police level, with the destruction of the paramilitary militias harassed and at the service of the extreme right. Otherwise, trying to escape the fate of becoming Venezuela, we end up becoming Colombia.

*Edward the Pope is a journalist, teacher and artist.

Originally published on Triggered Portal.

 

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