About the note from the Ministry of Defense

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By PAULO FONTES*

Brazil's encounter with its history involves the urgent recognition by the Armed Forces of its fundamental participation in the coup and dictatorship of 1964

The note from the Ministry of Defense signed by Minister Braga Neto and the three commanders of the Armed Forces is politically shameful and historically distorted. A kind of fake history, so much to the liking of the current holders of power. The 1964 coup was an attack on democracy and the popular will and not the opposite as the Orwellian newspeak of the note would have us believe.

For 21 years, Brazilian men and women were persecuted, exiled, disappeared, tortured and killed. The concentration of income and land increased, wages were squeezed, censorship and control of the arts, culture, press and university were arbitrarily and violently imposed. The “reestablishment of peace” affirmed by the note can only be the sinister peace of the cemeteries.

From a historical point of view, the note lies and omits. It is true that the coup of April 1964, 31 (euphemistically called in the note “Movement of March 1964, XNUMX”) had the support of sectors of Brazilian society (a large part of businessmen, landowners, the great press, the Church hierarchy) and the United States government. It is also true, however, that the coup was immediately opposed by numerous organizations and sectors of civil society, in particular those linked to the popular classes.

Workers' unions, peasant organizations, neighborhood associations, student organizations, intellectuals, artists and even a significant portion of the Armed Forces, to name a few examples, not only opposed the coup, but also suffered immediate and fierce repression. In fact, opinion polls carried out during the period and hidden for a long time, show that the majority of the population supported the democratic government of João Goulart and his proposals for Basic Reforms.

Unfortunately, the text is yet another demonstration that, contrary to what the note states, the Armed Forces have not accompanied the country's democratic evolution and continue to be, in fact, a factor of institutional instability. On the Bicentennial of the nation, Brazil's encounter with its history involves the urgent recognition by the Armed Forces of its fundamental participation in the coup and dictatorship of 1964. Only in this way will our democracy be able to advance and justice will be done.

* Paulo Fontes He is a professor at the Institute of History at UFRJ..

 

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