spirit of subservience



The role of the Brazilian military in the construction of a “vassal state”

“Strong countries grow stronger and weaker day by day weaker; small nations see themselves, overnight, reduced to the humble condition of pygmy states […] and the power equation of the world is simplified to a reduced number of terms, and in it one can already perceive only rare constellations feudal states of barons surrounded by satellites and vassals” (Golbery do Couto e Silva, “Geopolitics and strategy”, 1952).

According to Joffrey Sachs, Mike Pompeo, head of the US State Department, is an ardent evangelical who believes that the time has come for the Apocalypse, the return of Christ and the final battle of “good” against “evil”, which will be led by the United States, the greatest of all Judeo-Christian peoples [1]. In addition, Mike Pompeo is a “crude and simplistic” businessman and a man from the American intelligence community, former director of the CIA, with no diplomatic training, who operates as a kind of ventriloquist for Donald Trump and his aggressive diplomacy of contempt of people and threats to countries that disagree with or compete with the United States.

In any case, he is a man who does not mince words or hide intentions, and he was absolutely explicit with regard to the objectives of his lightning visit to the Boa Vista Air Base, in the state of Roraima, next to the Venezuelan border, in the September 18, 2020. Everyone understood his electoral staging, but he was also clear in the ostensive demonstration of power in front of governments and in front of the “satellite troops”, who are participating in the military siege of Venezuelan territory that is in full course.

The military siege of Venezuela began in April, with a great demonstration of US naval power in the Caribbean Sea, but after that, in June and July, the US Navy carried out new war simulations and a great “Operation Freedom of Navigation”, commanded by Adm. Craig Fallen, head of the US Armed Forces Southern Command, “USSOUTHCOM”, headquartered in Florida, and led by one of the most modern US Navy vessels, the destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG91).

Immediately afterwards, it was the turn of “Operation Poseidon”, which already had the direct participation of Colombia, and was carried out together with the visit of Mike Pompeo, who, before landing in Roraima, visited Guyana and Suriname, and obtained the consent for use of its airspace, east of Venezuela, by the United States Air Force. Finally, Mike Pompeo's visit coincided with the “Operação Amazônia” of the Brazilian FFAA, carried out between the 4th and 23rd of September, involving three thousand soldiers brought from five different commands, together with a complete battery from the Astros System, completing the siege by the south of the neighboring country.

Despite the date and dimensions of the Brazilian operation, it was treated by the local military authorities as a regular exercise for their FFAA, when in fact it involves agreements and covers up decisions that concern the future of all Brazilians. Even when these decisions are neither new nor original and reproduce the long-term history of military relations between Brazil and the United States, which began in the first half of the 1941th century, they are treated as if they were the sole responsibility of the Armed Forces. A long story, but one that can and should be divided into two major periods: before and after XNUMX.

In the first two decades of the XNUMXth century, the generation of the Baron of Rio Branco and President Hermes da Fonseca conceived and proposed a strategic alliance between Brazil and the United States, which should occur together with the recentralization of State power and the reorganization of the Brazilian Armed Forces. The objective was to face the economic and military competition of Argentina, richer and more powerful and supported by England in the dispute for the hegemony of the Plata Basin and of South America itself.

At this time, however, the United States was absorbed by World War I and its great economic crisis of the 1930s, and paid little attention to its neighbors in South America. But that changed radically with the entry of the United States into World War II in 1941 and with its pressure on the countries of the hemisphere to suspend their exports to Germany and Italy.

It was then that Brazil took a series of decisions that would mark its later military history. First, it ceded to the North Americans the monopoly of its production of bauxite, beryl, manganese, quartz, rubber, titanium and several other strategic minerals for the United States. And soon after, in the same year of 1941, the Brazilian government granted the US Navy the right to operate on the Brazilian coast, and the right of US troops to use its air and naval bases.

Finally, on May 22, 1942, a Military Agreement was signed that guaranteed the alignment of the Brazilian Armed Forces alongside the United States, in exchange for funding of US$ 200 million for the acquisition of North American equipment, weapons and ammunition. , together with the commitment to develop joint plans for the defense and training of the Brazilian Air Force.

Then, in August 1942, Brazil declared war on the Axis powers, but the reequipment of its Armed Forces only began to be carried out, in fact, after the country guaranteed the direct involvement of its military in the battlefield, with the creation of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, in August 1943, and with the sending of its soldiers to Italy, in February 1944, where they were placed next to the 371o Afro-American Regiment.

A year later, the FEB participated in the taking of Monte Castelo, alongside the 10a Mountain Division of the United States, and became part of the IV Corps of the American Army, located in central Italy. The FEB had 12 casualties, and most of its officers were closely linked to their American partners after their return to Brazil, in the second half of 1945, where many of them took part in the military coup that overthrew President Vargas, on 3 October 1945, and decreed the end of the Estado Novo, which the military had installed in 1937.

Finally, this same generation of soldiers played a decisive role in the negotiation and signing of the great “Military Assistance Agreement between the Republic of Brazil and the United States of America”, on March 15, 1952.

The new agreement, from 1952, served to confirm and consecrate the relationship that had been born during the Second World War, between the Brazilian and North American military. The difference was that the new agreement ensured permanent annual aid of US$ 50 million for the acquisition of American weapons and equipment, in exchange for the supply of uranium and monazite sands, in addition to other strategic minerals.

The negotiation of this “military agreement” was conducted by the US Ambassador and the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the same João Neves da Fontoura who later betrayed his friend Vargas by denouncing, in April 1954, an agreement that was invented and attributed to Vargas and Perón aiming to create a geopolitical bloc together with Chile, which was called ABC. It is an idea that has never been tolerated by the United States. This denunciation, therefore, contributed decisively to the overthrow of Vargas in August 1954. In addition to the exchange of military equipment for strategic minerals, the 1952 Military Agreement ensured, in the following decades, the training of Brazilian officers in military schools in the USA and in the Panama Canal Zone, together with the presence of North American officers in the courses of the General Staff of the Brazilian Armed Forces.

Before that, however, the military generation that returned from Italy also played an important role in the creation of the Escola Superior de Guerra (ESG), organized according to the model of the war colleges of the USA, and which from the beginning relied on the direct advice of the American military, who now have a permanent Liaison Officer within the premises of the School itself. It was at ESG that, in the 50s, the new National Security Doctrine of the Brazilian military was formulated, which ended up being transformed into a Law of the Republic, in 1968, by the Decree-Law of the Military Dictatorship, n.o 314/68.

It was in the body of this new “doctrine” that the concept of the “internal enemy” of the Brazilian State appeared for the first time, which included, from the outset, all those who opposed Brazil's new international subservience. After 1948, almost all the soldiers who participated in the “military ultimatum” to Vargas, in 1954, passed through the ESG; the frustrated attempt to prevent the inauguration of Juscelino Kubitschek, in 1955; and finally, the military coup of 1964, which overthrew the government of President João Goulart and handed over the power of the Brazilian State, for 20 years, to this same generation of soldiers who graduated from the 1940s and lived alongside the States United under the aegis of the Cold War.

Shortly after the 64 military coup, the Brazilian Armed Forces agreed to participate in the US invasion of Santo Domingo, sending 1.130 soldiers who joined, in April 1965, the 42 soldiers used by the US to overthrow the elected government of Juan Bosh and install in its place the government of Joaquin Balaguer, who dominated Dominican politics for the next 22 years. In addition, and in the same spirit, the Brazilian military participated in Operation Condor, set up in 1968 to pursue and kill “internal enemies” in the Southern Cone of Latin America. This intervention went to such an extent that the Brazilian ambassador in Chile was even informally called the “fifth member” of the Military Junta that commanded General Pinochet’s bloody coup d’état in September 1973.

The 1952 Military Agreement was denounced by General Ernesto Geisel, on March 11, 1977, and was extinguished the following year, although Brazilian officers continued to be trained in North American war academies for the next 30 years. Between April 2010 and January 2014, however, the Brazilian government again signed three new military agreements in the area of ​​defense, purchase of war materials and technologies, and exchange of information between the FFAA of the two countries. After the “civic-military” coup of 2016, the Brazilian government signed an agreement granting the right to use the Alcântara Base by the North Americans. It was then declared a “preferred non-NATO ally” by President Donald Trump. Finally, the current government appointed a general from the Brazilian FFAA to directly occupy the post of “subcommander of interoperability” directly within the Southern Command of the North American FFAA, where the recent Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Agreement was signed ( RDT&E), which is now under discussion in the National Congress.

Thus, it is in the context of this new “carnal relationship” with the United States that the so-called “Operation Amazonia” by the Brazilian military must finally be read, which was consecrated by the visit of Mike Pompeo with the “biblical buffoon” by his side. place that led the failed “humanitarian invasion” of Venezuela in 2019. A reading of the “epidemiological” recurrences of this story allows us to formulate at least four hypotheses, one certainty and a final question.

The first hypothesis is that the military played a central role in all coups d'état in Brazilian history in the 24th century: on October 1930, 19; on November 1937, 29; on October 1945, 24; on 1954 August 31; on March 1964, 31; and, albeit less directly, also in the coup d'état of August 2016, 1940. The second hypothesis is that the agreements and military relations between Brazil and the United States were closely associated with almost all of these coups, especially after of XNUMX. The third hypothesis is that these agreements and military coups were associated, almost invariably, with the participation of Brazil in external interventions of the American FFAA. And, finally, the fourth hypothesis is that all these agreements and military coups had much more to do with the strategic interests of the US than with the internal political disputes of the Brazilians themselves.

In any case, in addition to these findings, it is certain that the new foreign intervention by Brazil on the side of the USA, against Venezuela, only repeats and prolongs a long-term decision by the Brazilian military to transform Brazil into a “vassal state”.[2] of the US military empire, using an idea and expression by General Golbery do Couto e Silva.

Finally, a question remains: when did the 210 million Brazilians transfer to these gentlemen the right to decide their future as a nation, forcing their children and grandchildren to live forever as “vassals” of another people, being forced to die in the wars waged by another national state?

* Jose Luis Fiori Professor at the Graduate Program in International Political Economy at UFRJ. Author, among other books, of Brazil in space (Voices).


[1] Sachs, JD “America's unholy crusade against China”. In: https://www.gnt.com. Aug 06, 2020.

[2] In the history of the great classical empires, and of the Ottoman Empire in particular, the “Vassal States” were always those that offered homage and lent their soldiers to the wars of the Sultan, or of the emperors in general.

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