military denialism

Image: Elyeser Szturm

By Katia Gerab Baggio*

The document draws attention to the statement that “free nations”, that is, capitalists, are governed not only by “freedom, prosperity and civility”, but by “inequalities”.

The “Order of the day alluding to March 31, 1964” – published on March 30, 2020 on the official website of the Ministry of Defense, but with a date of the 31st, and signed by Minister General Fernando Azevedo e Silva, and by the commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force – intends to rewrite the history of Brazil and deny the existence of the dictatorial character of the regime inaugurated with the civil-military coup of April 1, 1964 (started with troop movements on March 31).

The “Order of the Day” begins with the following sentence: “The 1964 Movement is a milestone for Brazilian democracy. Brazil reacted with determination to the threats that were being formed at that time”. And it ends with the following statements: “Countries that yielded to the promises of utopian dreams still struggle to recover the freedom, prosperity, inequalities and civility that governs [sic] free nations” and “The 1964 Movement is a landmark for Brazilian democracy. Much more for what it avoided”.

Historical research on the period has already demonstrated, in an absolutely convincing and categorical manner, that the discourse of military commanders, that the “1964 movement” was an action to “save democracy against communism” is unsustainable. The 1964 coup d'état, as is known, inaugurated a military dictatorship that lasted two decades.

In a government like the current one, of an extreme right-wing president who also denies the dictatorial character of the regime inaugurated in April 1964, military commanders want to deny historical facts. But they are not the ones who write history.

The document draws attention, among others, to the statement that “free nations”, that is, capitalists, are governed not only by “freedom, prosperity and civility”, but by “inequalities”. Here is the recognition, in the choice of the word “inequalities”, of a factual truth.

In the “Order of the Day” of the Ministry of Defense, revealingly, “inequalities” must be sought by countries without freedom, that is, those governed by communist parties, according to the rhetoric of military commanders. It is a recognition, whether intentional or not, that reconciling the struggle for freedoms with the struggle for equality is what characterizes the democratic left.

The rights are left with the acceptance – and even the defense – of inequalities, along with false freedoms, because they are restricted to an absolutely minority portion of society.

* Katia Gerab Baggio is a historian and professor of History of the Americas at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).


The “Order of the day referring to March 31, 1964” can be accessed in this link.

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