dictators lie

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By MANUEL DOMINGOS NETO*

The manipulation of statistical data on the pandemic by General Eduardo Pazuello, still on active duty in the Army, fuels the arguments of those who believe that we are already under a dictatorial regime.

Brazilians watch in disbelief the manipulation of statistical data on the pandemic. This is an unspeakable crime: it impedes the effective planning of society's defense measures, directly affecting planetary health. It disturbs the schedule for the return of economic activities. It results in more suffering for the people and increases the worldwide demoralization of the Brazilian government.

The executor of this criminal operation is an Army general. Eduardo Pazuello, interim Minister of Health, is from the Intendancy service, responsible for the Corporation's logistics. All officers understand statistics, especially intendants. Generals are also aware of the seriousness of pandemics and the complexity of the initiatives needed to face them.

Pazuello feeds misinformation knowing that he imposes hardships on those who guaranteed his studies, pay his salary and will ensure his retirement. The General deceives those who treat him well, what an ugly thing!

But it does not inaugurate a shady governmental procedure. The newspaper The state of Sao Paulo republished an article by Clovis Rossi, “The Silence Epidemic”, written in 1974, in the midst of a meningitis epidemic. The Dictatorship blatantly established censorship over sanitary conditions and fed a potent network of lies through fanciful advertisements. Rossi sums up an unbelievable list of censored topics: danger of dams bursting, the number of people killed as a result of a building fire, the toll of victims in the construction of the Rio-Niterói and Transamazônica bridges, the costs of public works…

At this time, inquiries about embezzlement of resources practiced by the military, no way! The Dictatorship's Press Service had only one mission: to deceive the people. While hiding news that could disfavor the regime, it super-dimensioned the government's achievements.

At a time when the possibility of a rupture in the already shattered institutional framework is being discussed so much, the posture of General Pazuello, still in active service in the Army, fuels the arguments of those who believe that we are already under a dictatorial regime.

Soldiers are prepared to fulfill their mission. In the fulfillment of missions, scruples that get in the way are put aside. Ugly is not fulfilling the mission and losing the “battle”. The longer the military takes the place of politicians, officials, specialized technicians and scientists, the more the people will suffer. Brazilians who expect standards of political rationality from the barracks for which they were not prepared are deluded.

Bolsonaro does not want to be president, he wants to be a dictator. Dictators lie before, during and after taking power.

A minimum of common sense would be enough for commanders to understand that, in the midst of a pandemic, the last place for the military to “accomplish a mission” is the Ministry of Health. Pazuello earned his place in Brazilian political folklore by including the North and Northeast in the space affected by the cold countries of the northern hemisphere. The memes of people from Ceará are multiplying, clearing snow on the sidewalks of Fortaleza. The account of the disgrace resulting from the crazy conduct of the fight against the pandemic will not fall only on Bolsonaro, but on corporations that, brought into disrepute, will leave Brazil even more defenseless.

* Manuel Domingos Neto is a retired UFC professor. He was president of the Brazilian Defense Studies Association (ABED) and vice president of CNPq.

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