Armed Forces and Genocide

Image: Luiz Armando Bagolin
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By CARLA TEIXEIRA*

There is an attempt to detach the military institution from the crimes committed in the pandemic, throwing a smokescreen that only allows a glimpse of individual attitudes

The Genocide CPI, expected to be installed by the Federal Senate next week, will be an excellent opportunity for Brazilians to learn about the dimension of the tragedy that has hit the country. Apart from the political consequences and possible accountability of individuals, it is very important to search for institutional solutions that protect institutions from being used against the life of the population, in the future, by unscrupulous and bloodthirsty rulers.

Among those responsible, the Armed Forces appear as the main partners in the ongoing genocide. The presence of military personnel, both active and reserve, in civilian positions gives a measure of interference by the militia in the country's political issues and should make us consider that perhaps the biggest problem is not Bolsonaro, but the generals who use the captain's popularity to stay in power.

The current members of the High Command graduated in the 1970s, they are children of the dictatorship, (de)formed by the “hard line” to see the left, social movements and the media as enemies. General Augusto Heleno – head of the Institutional Security Office –, when he was a captain, was an assistant to the then Minister of the Army, General Sylvio Frota, who was fired by Geisel in 1977 for trying to stage a coup and prevent the democratic opening.

Redemocratization was based on a political arrangement marked by conciliation and accommodation. The agreement granted amnesty to torturers, murderers and concealers of corpses who were never subjected to any transitional justice. The military and members of civil society who supported the dictatorship never had democracy as a value, only as a sense of opportunity to guarantee their hegemonic positions in the new post-1988 constitutional order.

Thus, the presence of militiamen in the current government is the return of those who were not. In the face of the social crisis that bleeds the country, the military maintained their privileges, their salaries, they were not attacked by the deformity of the social security, they enjoy positions in the government and guarantee impunity in the face of the countless crimes committed during the pandemic. Not to mention overpriced purchases of condensed milk, pizza, wine and beer. It was no coincidence that General Pazuello remained in the Ministry of Health when no sanitarista accepted the position to campaign against the use of masks, vaccines and in favor of ineffective medicines.

Behind the president's favorite fat man, the Army bought, produced and distributed overpriced chloroquine (paid six times the usual amount), even though the medicine is ineffective against covid. There was a demand from the Ministry of Health for the distribution of the “Covid Kit” (containing chloroquine, ivermectin and azithromycin) during the oxygen crisis that occurred in Manaus. At the time, doctors at the FAB Hospital denounced pressure, coercion and reprisals for hydroxychloroquine to be prescribed to patients with covid.

After the resounding failure in the fight against the pandemic, which already reached the staggering number of almost 380 thousand deaths, the resignation of Pazuello, the Minister of Defense, General Fernando Azevedo e Silva, and the three commanders of the Forces was a maneuver that tried to put the military as guarantors of the institutional order and (believe it or not!) of democratic principles, a version echoed and replicated by the corporate media (the same one that supported the military dictatorship).

The speeches of generals stating that “there is no risk of rupture” demonstrates that nobody wants to be the guarantor of a failed government. Furthermore, any coup would be redundant, as the current government is already military. Regarding the ideology of the dictatorship, the change is in form, not in content: the hierarchy and order that are imposed through the silencing of conflict, a model that they try to reproduce for the rest of society.

Recently, former army commander General Pujol said Pazuello should have resigned when Bolsonaro prevented him from buying vaccines. To the unwary, it seems that the decision to remain minister was made exclusively by Pazuello (the future piranha bull), but in the Armed Forces, no active-duty military man remains in a civilian position without the permission of his commander (in this case, Pujol himself). . There is an attempt to detach the military institution from the crimes committed in the pandemic, throwing a smokescreen that allows only individual attitudes to be glimpsed.

One of the investigation fronts of the Genocide CPI will be the recommendation of the use of drugs without proven efficacy against covid-19. In light of the leniency practiced during redemocratization – which granted amnesty to torturers and murderers, preserving their memories for the pleasure of current fanatics –, senators have a civic and historical duty to investigate the role played by the Armed Forces in the genocide and the evidence of corruption involving the purchase, production and distribution of chloroquine. Generals must be accountable to civil society. Without investigating this, we will make mistakes again and we will not be able to build a solid democracy in Brazil.

* Carla Teixeira is a doctoral candidate in History at UFMG.

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