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By Roberto Bueno*

The scenario would not have been possible without the decisive action of the military power that unconstitutionally arrogated its sovereign position by force.

The analysis of the crisis focusing on the Armed Forces (FA) and not on the Presidency of the Republic is based on the premise that the FA are the source de facto of power in Brazil today, to which political debates, deliberations and legislative production, high judicial decisions and institutionality as a whole are attached. Although norms such as institutional acts have not been published, the Constitution has been attacked and suspended in many of its central topics through political and media, police and judicial strategies, with exceptional decisions being taken in both the legal and political spheres.

This scenario experienced so far would not have been possible without the decisive competition of this power de facto military personnel who act in a decision-making position by remotely operating the control. This is the power that exerts (unconstitutionally) the force that arrogated to itself the position of sovereign, offering support to the implementation of legal-political territories typical of a State of exception, situated within a systemic-legal macrocosm of only apparent normality. This movement illegally shifted the sovereignty of the people to the orbit of power of segments of the barracks.

During the 2018 electoral period, sectors of militarism postulated that democratic governments should have military cadres, since also in this segment there were individuals sufficiently prepared to collaborate with the political administration of the country - something about which there are no reasonable doubts -, except that it is a matter of incompatible careers.

As anticipated by the democratic cadres, the argument was just a password so that, once the elections were won, there would be a complete disembarkation of the military in all spheres of public administration, with the colonization of the State by individuals trained to submit to the hierarchy, making it clear that superiors were at the top of state structures, whether elected or not. The conditions for an authoritarian regime are embodied in the sum of institutional omission and in the prominent figure endowed with a personality declared and publicly assumed to be authoritarian, who despises not only democracy but also the Brazilian population as a whole to which he seems to believe he does not belong.

It will never be excessive to remember that the institutional duty of the FA is to carry out the defense of national sovereignty. There is no option. For the fulfillment of its institutional duty, there is no other legitimate enemy than the one who intends to violate sovereignty, and the FA must defend it from any invader who intends, in any capacity or by any means, to subordinate and subdue the democratic will expressed in the ballot boxes and in accordance with the limits imposed by constitutional legality to which the FA themselves must maintain strict hierarchical submission. This is the highest duty of the FA. However, during the Brazilian military dictatorship, tens of hundreds of dissidents of the regime were killed under the pretext of “combating” the “internal enemy”, of confronting “subversion”.

For the carrying out of massacres and torture – abundantly documented – individual and collective rights and guarantees were affected, both formally and substantially, since, as a general rule, authoritarian regimes such as the Brazilian military despise constitutional pacts, and their administrations do not hesitate to openly or surreptitiously transgress its provisions as long as the ends to which they aim advise resorting to arbitrariness and violence of any intensity. They overlook the founding constitutional devices that protect human beings, disregard the fact that there is no declared war, and that even in the case of a declared war, it is up to prisoners to apply the law of war, a circumstance in which it is also not allowed to apply torture and methods similar.

There are duties and limits for the operation of the FA, and the Federal Constitution is the superior and unequivocal limit stipulated in art. 142, expressing their subordination to the civil power configured in the institution of the Presidency of the Republic and other constituted powers that embody popular sovereignty in a democratic State of law.

The role of the FA needs to be analyzed with great caution, aiming at the immediate consequences that this implies in these days when the (a) Holder of Executive Power declares in public square his support for carrying out a coup d'état and (b) adopts a policy that enhances the death of the Brazilian population, including children and the elderly.

As for the first aspect, it should be remembered that art. 142, caput, provides that the FA can be called upon by any of the constituted powers to guarantee the constitutional powers, and if what is being placed under explicit threat is the constitutional order itself, there is no better reason for the FA to fulfill its role once called to so much by the competent authorities, even when they have to do so to the detriment of the Presidency of the Republic.

With regard to the second aspect, and based on the public knowledge of the FA's support for the current President of the Republic and the role they play in the hard core of the government and also in several of its areas, it is worth questioning whether the FA can maintain their support for a frankly and indisputably genocidal and totalitarian political project. Let us recall for a moment that in the 1960s the American doctrine of national security was fully adopted by the FA with the pretext of combating communism, whose consequences we soon saw in terms of violations of all kinds. But, and today, what would justify the FA lending its support to a genocidal and totalitarian policy with the entirety of the Brazilian people as a potential victim? Who would this serve? First of all, the principles and statute of the FA do not support such a project under any circumstances.

Western civilization is repeatedly brought up as support for a certain ideological option, allegedly grounded in Christianity to legitimize the establishment of military regimes – and this happened in Brazil in 1964, but also with the successive military dictatorships in Argentina, like the one led by Jorge Rafael Videla (1976–1981) –, but which shows profound incompatibility with the script of persecutions and deaths that characterize them, as in a new outfit is ongoing in Brazil.

There is no version of Christianity in which the tonic is the production of death, the lack of solidarity and fraternity, or the abandonment of sick men and women to their fate. This has no shelter in any aspect of the doctrine of Christianity, and all those who perhaps profess it seriously cannot support human extermination, even if anchored in political projects reputed to be valuable, such as the alienation of Brazilian sovereignty to the United States of America (USA ), boldness that not even the military dictatorship derived from the civil-military coup of 1964 accomplished, even having in its origin the political (and later physical) violence against the Brazilian people incarnated in the João Goulart Government, then in functions legitimized by the constitutional dictates.

Although respectable, the political preferences of each of the members of the FA do not change their institutional competence, it does not put them in a position to intervene and support the genocide of the Brazilian population who are the ones who pay them. It remains clear that if there is a duty that a soldier can never infringe, it is that of defending the lives of his people, combined with that of never intervening to determine how he should live it, summarized in just one, that of not betraying his people. The FA have a greater ethical-functional duty, which is not to point the bayonet at its people, and in the face of any “superior orders” to do so, it will be authorized to comply with the Constitution and deny compliance with orders originating from acts of deviation and treason to the state.

It must be remembered that resistance to the commission of illegal acts by the authorities also finds legal anchorage in art. 38, § 2, of the Military Penal Code (CPM), which establishes exclusion of illegality, that is, that he will not be considered guilty of the crime of refusal of obedience “If the order of the superior has as its object the practice of a manifestly criminal act, or there is excess in the acts or in the form of execution, the inferior is also punishable”. Orders with manifestly criminal content – ​​of demonstrable illegality from the outset – are equivalent to flagrantly illegal acts, both subject to resistance, in the first case by the recipient of the order and in the second by the competent institutions to react against the actor of the conduct.

This scenario explains the subordination position of the FA with regard to the civil power expressed through the legislation in force, that is to say, that the people are the sovereign to whom the FA must respect in their actions, never placing themselves in a position of guardianship institutional. In a democracy, the people are the maintainers of the FA, and not the other way around; the people hold the power that legitimizes the possible use of force by the FA.

There is no commitment to religious values ​​based on the policies implemented by authoritarianism, which, in fact, instrumentalizes them in the hands of the military forces. An ideology is operated: “deideology”. Presented as “neutral”, it is just a veil that hides a genuine ideology that intends to place itself beyond the field of legality instituted by the population in a democratic order. Behind the “de-ideologization” of their actions there are deep economic interests that coordinate related economic policies, whose realization to the maximum degree depends on the application of the neutralization or elimination of opponents through the application of violence against the people. The dilemma is that the FA are formed by the flesh of the people, although instrumentalized to fulfill the function of repressing the people.

Sooner or later, the policy of economic oppression applied to the detriment of the Brazilian people under the indispensable threatening shadow of the armed wing will result in the fragmentation of the internal bodies of the FA themselves, at all levels, and, therefore, it is to be expected that the internal health of the institution. It is necessary to avoid starting this process along the right and correct path: to resume the path of restoring democracy and affirming the supremacy of the Constitution.

The FA should evaluate and react with extreme disgust, and finally distance themselves, from the rhetorical trap of “authoritarian democracy” proposed by General Pinochet, whose application resulted in a uniquely criminal regime in tune with the precepts of a cruel extreme right, a wide range of bloody crimes that are widely known and historically well documented, although in Latin America and, especially in Brazil, a group of taciturn personalities of dubious sanity still exist, who enjoy both the odor and the memories of crushed human flesh.

The internal constitution of these authoritarian regimes gives rise to the worst faces of the human both in the depths of their dungeons and in their offices where they decide about life and death. The destruction of these regimes starts from their internal contradiction, namely, demand concealment and due to this absolute lack of control by the public sphere, their practices vilely corrode the framework under which they operate, destroying themselves from within, and becoming fades away, dragging along with the decay of the regime the image of the armed institution itself.

Both the regime of General Pinochet and the Brazilian military dictatorship provided abundant evidence of deviations and lack of control, and General Hugo Abreu did not hesitate to give his testimony about the unsavory entrails of militarism in power during the dictatorship, which were not punctual or isolated. Then, the high ranks in command of the Republic in the court of 1977 refused to listen to unpleasant denunciations, for example, of facts that occurred in Petrobrás, while they also passed by the high salary hiring of an important figure of the regime, General Golbery do Couto e Silva, as president of the subsidiary of Dow Chemical in Brazil. Facts that will be repeated, ears that will become deaf and mouths that will be silent, once again. There is no need to repeat the film, but the trailer has already started with the broad benefits obtained in the wake of the Social Security reform that victimized the Brazilian people.

The erosion of the exercise of power is evident, especially when an economic setback occurs, especially when economic policies are adopted whose only bias is oriented towards serving the interests of the US economy and foreign policy. This strict and close connection follows the lines of the National Security Doctrine (DSN) of the empire, which was gradually transferred to Brazil, starting with the Escola Superior de Guerra (ESG) at its foundation in 1949, by personalities dazzled by the myth enshrined by the strong publicity apparatus about the US military role as defining the allied victory in World War II to the detriment of the decisive role of the Red Army.

Such process of application of the DSN was radicalized in the 1960s, especially after the 1964 coup d'état, when, then, the process of colonization of the FA by Americanism occurred unbridled with the massive and violent purge of thousands of national-sovereignist military from the corps of the FA. The implementation of the North American project of defining the double enemy, namely communism and the national-sovereignist forces, was under way, and in order to avoid direct engagement in the tasks of repression, it was a question, from then on, of combining two interests, (a) transferring (selling) military equipment and (b) offering training to the military and (bi) co-opting them to the US doctrine and (b.ii.) training the military to use weapons, ensuring greater effectiveness in combating “subversives”, included among these all those who disagree with the interests of US companies or in some way represent a threat when proposing to face the capitalist mode of production.

It is an oceanic obviousness that violence is being dammed up in unthinkably large orders. It transcends the field of prudence the fact that the FA shelter a regime whose practices will implode not only the regime, but the entire State and its people, throwing it into a sea of ​​uncertainties that only naivety guided by an intense thirst for power is able to understand. capable of feeding, indifferent to spilling even more and a lot of blood in a scenario that is already very close. How dense is the irresponsibility of those who do not foresee – as functionally it should – that the damming up of too much hatred is for the institutions and the security of a country like that of excess water for a dam. What to suppose but that, fatally, it will break?

When so much violence is applied against the popular sense, the future is projected in which it will find its moment of expression, operating as an uncontrollable torrent breaking all the dams. How intense can the irresponsibility of the FA be that support a regime leading to the precipice not only of a government, but of State institutions and, jointly, of an entire people? Historical responsibility will be attributed to all those who made possible the horror whose inauguration is rapidly approaching, whose mass of cold bodies will be remembering them.

The immediate transfer of power is urgent de facto for civilians. It is imperative that the military make the transition possible, because every day of permanence of a power that is based on the logic of relationship typical of battlefields (friend-enemy) and not of politics (adversarial-agonic) that leads the country to submersion in unprecedented depths, of which the only certainty is the deliberate and conscious production of a significant number of deaths, even higher than those already contracted today in the face of the ineptitude espoused by cruel obscurantism. The immediate handing over of power by supporting the call for elections means escaping the trap placed on the FA. We have reached this point in an extremely serious situation, and the postponement of the transfer of power has an even more destructive potential.

The ideal conditions for a long dictatorship were and continue to be persistently nurtured through successive approximations. We all know what its consequences are, and the only reasonable doubt that remains concerns the amount of blood that its leaders will be willing to shed before, once again, leaving the scene and handing power to civilians with a country in ruins . Before that, they will have to produce a lot of pain and shed the blood of individuals who, historically, have always stood up to defend human rights, democracy and equality among all individuals, and who can find support for such violence only in the doctrine of national security elaborated by the empire. , whose interests are frankly opposed to those of Brazil. To avoid this scenario, it is necessary for the high military ranks to combine the courage and determination of leaders to face and decolonize the power of more than a couple of thousand positions currently occupied by military personnel in the government, eluding the successive delaying pretexts.

It is necessary to avoid repeating one of the most recent major historical mistakes committed by the FA, namely, that of entering the democratic political game without clearly disconnecting from the uniform, the weapons and the discourse of the barracks. It is not up to the FA to intervene in political life in contempt of the parties and promoting frictions that will end up defeating their unity, which is merely transitory in terms of some central themes. But if the mistake committed in the past is impossible to repair, it is not impossible to avoid deepening and aggravating it, beyond its already harmful consequences. For this reason, it is imperative that the FA take the serious decision to give up the exercise of the de facto power that they are exercising from the many offices they occupy. Abandoning the position that does not belong to him as guardian of institutions and starting to recognize the supremacy of popular sovereignty through concrete actions, and thus leaving posts in ministries and unjustifiable high positions next to central positions in the Judiciary.

The FA did not propose a power project for a mere temporary stage in power, but the opposite, deepening the conditions for its presence, occupying spaces in all instances and positions, transforming the federal bodies into an extension of the rationality of the war manuals typical of the training of the barracks culture. This just explains what we all know, namely, that from the alleged transience in power (to guarantee a return to “normality”) to indefinite permanence, there is nothing more than a short step.

It will never be a transitional power that embracing arms expresses its Atlantic contempt for civil political power, its political representatives as well as for the free space of debates – the legislative houses –, trying to colonize all spaces of the State, enshrining itself in power by mobilizing actors outside the world of politics, formed according to the authoritarian logic, typical of those who are trained to use weapons as mediators of conflicts or resources.

The insistence on this path is equivalent to paving a tortuous path, and it will be necessary for its actors to be ready and willing to descend again into the hell of the cellars, prepared to hear the screams of raped women, the cries for help of the kidnapped, to plan fake run overs , to inaugurate clandestine detention centers, prepare to apply horrendous torture sessions, carry out extortion, and also to forge death certificates and resistance acts, but also accidents and even impossible suicides and, not least, to condescend with all this under the false pretense of goodness and legality. It will again be necessary to enlist figures with a unique psychological profile capable of violating mothers in front of their children and torturing children in front of their parents to dissuade people from telling what they don't know and confessing what they didn't do, and thus, under the pretext of protecting democracy, twist and defeat the legitimacy of the State and the very object they allegedly seek to protect.

In this regard, it is necessary to remember that the incessant quest to legitimize the unspeakable resorted to the argument of “internal war” which is conceptually inadmissible, except in the National Security Doctrine manuals prepared in the USA and copied by the Superior School of War (ESG), thus training all military segments in a downward spiral. There is only one possible war for an armed force, namely, an enemy that, by definition, is external, except the one that tries to subvert, through a powerful armed force, the order democratically constructed according to the parameters of the legality in force.

Ensuring the independence of the Brazilian State and the freedom of its people with regard to the perspective of the FA is equivalent to watching contemplatively the political determinations of the people for the proper conduct of their affairs. Watching from a distance under the unbreakable rule that the constitutional Rubicon will not be crossed nor will the people be attacked under any pretext or order, these are the guiding principles of the FA, since no political actor is granted the legitimate competence to issue such an order to them, and even when this occurs, it will only configure the political collapse (and sunset) of the power from which it comes.

It is unquestionable that we have already exceeded all the limits of what is bearable, both from a human and institutional point of view. It is unbearable, unsustainable, unacceptable and, above all, shameful and humiliating for the country, the tiny republican parameters with which decisions are taken at the highest levels and which subjugate the Brazilian people.

The country today is prostrated and vilified not only from a political point of view but also from a health point of view, with a very strong threat of a coup d'état pronounced in a public square by the President of the Republic, occurring so far with the condescension of the FA. The Latin American political experience, for example, makes it clear that the course of countries is not decided without the FA competing or, in their case, taking the reins of power for themselves, and the consequences point to tragedy.

There will be no property documents or high positions capable of muffling the noise imposed by the memory of evil that will eternally accompany actors who omit the proper use of their constitutional powers to prevent the genocide of the Brazilian people. The profound silence of the dead will eternally echo in the minds and in the nocturnal dramas of all those who, whether in uniform or not, remain silent today regarding the taking of measures capable of softening the killing, at this point in time, already irremediable due to the accumulation of omissions. The scenario is nothing short of desperate and, given the data that will emerge, added to the lack of resources for the survival of the population, the eruption of violence is projected to be short, whose usefulness for the anti-democratic forces that cherish the dream of a coup d'état is to use it it as a pretext for the “invitation” to the FA to restore order through the formalization of a dictatorship in Brazil.

Today the military are in a position of power and already lead the country's political destinies. This is the last moment for them to reflect on the adventure they are about to embark on under the beckoning of the sirens that the prudent Ulisses knew how to avoid. It is necessary to be clear that there is no higher honor for a soldier than acting in defense of his people, and no opprobrium that replaces that of being an accomplice in their extermination. For this type of betrayal, a military man will not find a day of peace, since his uniform will no longer fit him, whatever the reward, no matter how valuable he considers it to be among the most valuable.

This is the last moment for the highest ranks of the FA to express unequivocally that they will not support dictatorships or even genocidal policies sponsored by the minds of unsuccessful barrack dynamiters historically mobilized by alien forces to fulfill dark ends. Perhaps the aim is unavoidable, that magnanimity is superlative and the FA leave this Government en masse, but under no circumstances do they agree with the genocide. If they fail to do so, they will be carried away to the indelible stain of the institution.

Before it is too late, the FA must immediately rebuild the burned bridges so that they can return to their barracks in an orderly manner, chanting, loud and clear, due support for early free and direct elections for the Presidency of the Republic. Thus, they will fully fulfill their relevant constitutional role at a distance from the sphere of politics, whose nature is incompatible with weapons, because while these threaten, freedoms fade away, and when the first ones are spoken, the verb is no longer heard, delegitimizing the democratic decisions.

It is imperative that the FA cease to resign themselves to the alienation of national sovereignty, and to stick to the granted condition of mere gendarme at the disposal of the interests of the empire, while, on the other hand, it dedicates itself to designing graves and stumbling in the frank defense of the Constitution by favoring the elevation of the particular ideology of the officer corps to the stratosphere in disfavor of the results derived from the civil political game.

It is as essential as it is urgent that the FA review its position as guarantor of the legal and political order, and that they start to sow hope by guaranteeing the free action of popular political leaders and the development of policies that consolidate the world of rights, observing from a distance the opening of schools that better prevent the construction of prisons than brute force. This is about the difficult historical mission of replacing the policy aimed at provoking genocide through various methods for the independence and celebration of the life of the Brazilian people.

*Roberto Bueno is a professor of philosophy of law at the Federal University of Uberlândia (UFU).

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