Integralist intent and Bolsonarist vandalism

Clara Figueiredo, untitled, essay Films Overdue Analog photography, digitized, Florianópolis, 2017


The hardest battle will be fought against the coup military, but the Brazilian tradition of reconciliation always speaks volumes.

“History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes” (Mark Twain)

The Integralist Intentona was the assault on the Guanabara Palace, where the then president Getúlio Vargas resided, promoted by the Brazilian Integralist Action (AIB) in movement against the Estado Novo. The invasion of the palace took place in Rio de Janeiro, on May 11, 1938 and had as its objective the deposition of the President of the Republic, Getúlio Vargas, who had extinguished political associations throughout the country, including the AIB.

The action aimed to arrest the president inside his residence, through the invasion of the palace and movements by several military personnel. The uprising failed and ended with around 1 imprisonments and the exile of Plínio Salgado, maximum leader of the Integralists, to Portugal.

On the Memorial da Democracia website, we find some information about the Integralist invasion of the Guanabara Palace that deserves to be remembered in light of the Bolsonarist invasion that vandalized the three seats of power of the Republic last Sunday, January 8.

The Integralist attack was commanded by Lieutenant Severo Fournier and began around midnight. When the rebels arrived at the palace, the head of the guard, Marine Lieutenant Júlio do Nascimento, also a Integralist, opened the outer gate to the invaders, who surrounded the building and cut off electricity and telephones. One line, however, continued to function, and Alzira Vargas was able to call for help.

Getúlio personally commanded the resistance, initially organized by some relatives and a few helpers, armed only with revolvers. For almost five hours, there was intense shooting, with no help arriving to defend the president and his family.

The attack only ended hours later, when Severo Fournier decided to flee with his men. At five o'clock in the morning, Colonel Cordeiro de Farias arrived at the Guanabara Palace, accompanied by police. Then came Eurico Gaspar Dutra (Minister of War) and Góis Monteiro (Chief of the Army General Staff).

After the attack on the Guanabara Palace on May 11, police repression was relentless. About 1.500 people were arrested. Five days after the siege, the government issued a decree reducing the National Security Court's trials to summary rites, with a minimum of time limits and witnesses. On the 18th, a new decree would institute, among other measures, the death penalty.

Many Integralists would be arrested and tortured, and several took refuge in embassies. Plínio Salgado and Gustavo Barroso, its main leaders, were excluded from the process for lack of evidence. Plínio Salgado was reported missing, although he continued to live at an address known to the authorities, in São Paulo. Arrested at the end of the year, he would only be incarcerated for three days. It was only a year later that Getúlio Vargas decreed his exile. Historian Edgar Carone later wrote that, during the entire time he was in Portugal, Plínio Salgado received an “allowance” from the Brazilian government.

Years later, Alzira Vargas do Amaral Peixoto, daughter of the president, wrote in her memoirs: “Góis Monteiro told me there was nothing he could do, because he was also surrounded in his apartment… Francisco Campos conveyed words of admiring and passive solidarity… The police (Filinto Müller) confirmed the previous deployment of troops and was astonished that they had not reached their destination... I did not find out how or why General Eurico Gaspar Dutra was the only member of the government who managed to cross the integralist trench. I was also unable to ascertain what happened after he withdrew with a scratch on his ear again, breaking through the enemy's encirclement”.

Despite the historical differences, of which there are many, it is curious to observe some points in common. First, the head of the guard opened the gate to the integralist invaders, exactly as happened now in the Bolsonarist invasion of the Planalto Palace. Secondly, the soldiers from the High Command of the Vargas government disappeared and only appeared in the morning, after the invaders had withdrawn. It is not difficult to assume that they sympathized with the integralist movement, as today the military sympathizes with Bolsonarism.

It is known that Getúlio Varas' generals sympathized with Nazi-fascism and wanted to enter the war on the side of Germany. This was the case of General Eurico Gaspar Dutra and General Góes Monteiro who even visited Hitler's Germany. It is said that the diplomatic skill of Getúlio Vargas and his ambassador in Washington, Osvaldo Aranha, negotiated support for the US/Great Britain allies in exchange for financing for industry, with emphasis on the Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional in Volta Redonda, the starting point of industrialization Brazilian.

The international situation today is quite different. The hegemony of a single country, the US, loses ground to multipolarity, with other centers of economic, political and military power. The Brazilian military aligned itself, many decades ago, with the North American position of combating communism during the cold war. It so happens that the cold war is over, the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and today it is a capitalist country. But the anticommunist ideology persisted and brings benefits in electoral campaigns and coup d'état attempts. With the large-scale use of electronic communication in social networks, fake news made communism an omnipresent ghost that haunts and frightens Bolsonarist families.

The captain who presided over Brazil until 1st. January of this year he became a loyal supporter of former President Donald Trump, with whom he shares his neo-fascist ideas. By irony of fate, Jair Bolsonaro supports Donald Trump who supports Vladimir Putin, for several reasons, among which both want the weakening of Europe. Well, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are two enemies of President Joe Biden. It is not difficult to conclude that, for Biden, Lula is the lesser evil. From there, he sent four diplomats to defend the Brazilian electoral system and send a message to the military: No coup!

Despite this, the Brazilian military seems always enamored with a coup to establish a military dictatorship. The Army's tradition is to fight an internal war to repress the people, its great enemy. Pressure, both internationally and within the country, in favor of democracy immobilized the military, which would explain their internal division regarding what to do about the Lula government.

After the Bolsonarist terrorism on January 8, President Lula has acted energetically, rejecting military tutelage, despite the conciliatory attitude of his Minister of Defense. The military question exploded in the political conjuncture right at the beginning of the government. Bolsonarist vandalism, which had the support of the Military Police in Brasilia and the military who sheltered terrorists in the camp in front of the Army HQ and gave them an escape, did not generate military intervention, as expected.

On the contrary, it was a disastrous failure, and the balance of forces has now become sharply in favor of democracy. It should be noted the quick and decisive attitude of President Lula and Minister Flavio Dino, decreeing intervention in Public Security in Brasília and circumventing the GLO, which would be the vehicle of military intervention. The following day, STF Minister Alexandre de Moraes ordered the removal of the governor of the Federal District.

It's time to move forward. It is necessary to defend democracy against barbarism and arrest all those who supported the Bolsonarist vandalism that destroyed the headquarters of the three powers of the Republic. This requires the punishment of direct agents, financiers, strategists, parliamentarians and ministers who supported the invasion, as well as the police and military who supported the vandalism and prevented the arrest of criminals, even helping to give the terrorists an escape shortly after the invasion. invasion and destruction of Congress, the Planalto Palace and the STF.

Hardly, this whole goal will be achieved. The Brazilian tradition of reconciliation always speaks volumes. The hardest battle will be waged against the coup military who, with weapons in hand and, in their heads, retrograde ideas from the last century, will certainly resist the weakening of the military tutelage to which they are accustomed.

*Liszt Vieira is a retired professor of sociology at PUC-Rio. He was a deputy (PT-RJ) and coordinator of the Global Forum of the Rio 92 Conference. Author, among other books, of Democracy reactsGaramond).

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