Colonels obey generals

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By ALEXANDRE ARAGÃO DE ALBUQUERQUE*

The military are authoritarian types: they apply political coups, engage in financial corruption, and threaten society by demanding that it pay homage to them.

The category “coup” is enshrined in political science as the political act of betraying someone or something. It is an extreme resource that the ruling class makes use of in order to secure or recover privileges seized within an unjust and unequal social order, built throughout the history of a given society.

Coup does not have a single form of execution, it can take several formats. There is no ideal hit, but always a possible hit. It is not a simple one-off fact of taking power, but a process of rupture and maintenance of a new order.

The late political scientist Wanderley Guilherme dos Santos, in his work “A Democracia Impedida. O Brasil no Século XXI” (2017), attests that the parliamentary coup of 2016 is even worse than that of 1964 for having an anti-national and reactionary character much more violent than the previous one, since in that one there was at least a commitment to national interests. The array of military and civilian forces that overthrew President Dilma Rousseff have declared anti-national, subservient to the United States, and corporate commitments.

Six years ago, on March 31, 2015, we published an article entitled "The Defense of Democracy", as a warning sign from our perception of the ongoing coup process, whether with the election of Eduardo Cunha (MDB – RJ) to the presidency of the Federal Chamber, as well as the fact that street demonstrations, organized by newly created movements , such as MBL and Vem pra Rua, demonizing politics and calling for the return of the military regime, in an evident demonstration of the full spectrum war set in motion in Brazil, by the hands of the US CIA, with ample orchestration by Rede Globo and other media organizations corporate.

In that article, we recalled an important demonstration by General Alfredo Souto Malan, published on March 31, 1979, in Folha de São Paulo, on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the 64 coup, making a critical assessment of that military dictatorship.

In his speech in 1979, General Malan impatiently demanded the end of arbitration since, after 15 years, the coup movement “has not managed to put an end to corruption, quite the contrary; as it also failed to organize the administrative reality of the country, nor did it manage to improve the living conditions of the Brazilian people”. At the conclusion of his diagnosis, the general denounced that “arbitrity has only increased the area of ​​misery of the people and the concentration of national income in the hands of a few”.

Here we are in 2021, with a largely militarized government, whose palatial nucleus of power is in the hands of three army generals at the head of the ministries of the Civil House (Eduardo Ramos), Defense (Braga Netto) and the GSI (Augusto Heleno), with almost seven thousand military personnel from the Armed Forces in command posts at different levels of the federal administration. As an illustrative cut, note, among these, the president of Petrobras, General Joaquim Silva e Luna; the general director of Itaipu Binacional, general João Francisco Ferreira; the Minister of Mines and Energy, Admiral Bento Albuquerque. The Ministry of Health, in the midst of a pandemic, was commanded until March of this year by another general, Eduardo Pazuello.

In the Official Gazette of May 19, 2020, General Pazuello appointed several military of the Army, a group of 10 (ten), to act in key positions in their ministry. Among these was Colonel Élcio Franco occupying the post of executive secretary, a kind of immediate executor of the general's orders. Colonel Élcio Franco is precisely the pivot of the vaccine negotiations, the center of the complaints, as the CPI on Genocide has widely discovered in its investigative work.

It so happens that since April, after the resignation of Pazuello, Colonel Élcio Franco, strangely, has been transferred from the Ministry of Health to the interior of the presidential palace, dispatching as special advisor to the chief minister of the Civil House of the Presidency of the Republic, now under the direct orders from General Eduardo Ramos.

On Thursday, 15/07, during his testimony to the Genocide CPI, the representative in Brazil of the company Davati Medical Supply, Cristiano Carvalho, opened the toolbox listing the names of at least seven colonels involved in alleged overpriced negotiations for the acquisition of vaccines against Covid. In view of the above, the chairman of the Commission, senator Omar Aziz (PSD - AM), demanded the exoneration of Colonel Élcio Franco stating that “an element like him cannot be enjoying the antechamber of the President of the Republic”.

This unusual fact goes back to what happened with the Mensalão trial, when the rapporteur of the case, Justice of the STF Joaquim Barbosa, applied literally and with a questionable hermeneutics the Theory of the Domain of the Fact in order to incriminate, without evidence, the then Minister of Civil House, federal deputy José Dirceu (PT-SP), because it was presumed that because he was in the upper hierarchy, he would be aware of the clandestine facts that occurred in the state company Petrobrás.

Now in the case of the Covid vaccine corruption scheme, the alleged crimes do not occur in a state-owned company, but in a federal government ministry. Something of an infinitely greater gravity, especially after the complaint presented by the Miranda brothers in testimony at the CPI on June 28th. One wonders: in the event of a complaint being filed, will the STF use the same criteria to judge and condemn Colonel Élcio Franco's superior ministers in the Health and Civil House portfolios?

But Cristiano Carvalho's testimony goes further by providing powerful lenses, allowing us to reach other facts, helping us to understand them a little better.

In the first place, an episode that occurred on May 27, 2021, in São Gabriel da Cachoeira, in Amazonas, stands out, when President Jair, after 30 days of operation of the CPI on Genocide, in his usual live shot, in another one of the his numerous failed acts: “Omar Aziz, for the love of God, close this CPI soon”. What worried President Jair so much, to the point of sending this desperate appeal? And why, from that date on, did he and his zero children launch a blatant attack on the three senators coordinating the work of the CPI? Would Jair be foreseeing the risks of the Commission reaching these rotten revelations involving his government and his generals?

The second event turns to the misdeeds perpetrated by Pazuello and his military team at the head of the health policy developed in the Ministry of Health. Even after his resignation, Pazuello was assigned to the Strategic Affairs Secretariat, directly linked to the Presidency of the Republic. I wonder why?

As an aggravating factor, on July 16, the newspaper Folha de São Paulo published a report documented by a video denouncing a negotiation, outside its official agenda, on March 11, by the then Minister of Health, General Pazuello, with a group of middlemen in the purchase of 30 million doses of the Chinese Coronavac vaccine for a price 03 (three) times higher (US$28) than already negotiated with the Brazilian Instituto Butantan (US$10). It is important to note that on May 19, when giving his testimony to the CPI on Genocide, General Pazuello said that he “never led negotiations with Pfizer because a minister should never negotiate with a company”, mocking the Commission's rapporteur.

Finally, it is important to note that dismissed on March 100 of this year, General Pazuello participated shortly thereafter in a party-political demonstration in support of President Jair, failing to comply with military regulations. But, in addition to not being punished for this public act of indiscipline, the Army Commander, General Paulo Sérgio, imposed the concealment for XNUMX (one hundred) years of the entire process involving Pazuello, Bolsonaro and the Army in these matters. What is so serious that it needs to be kept hidden for a century?

Therefore, Cristiano Carvalho's testimony helps us to perceive many contradictions, including how much the military are authoritarian types: they carry out political coups, get involved in financial corruption and, at the same time, threaten society by demanding that it pay homage to them. , despite their criminal behavior. They promote an ideologically constructed self-image as if they were incorruptible sanctities, as if their uniforms were clerical cassocks. How much hypocrisy!

*Alexandre Aragão de Albuquerque Master in Public Policy and Society from the State University of Ceará (UECE).

 

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