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Sun Nov 18, 2018, 12:27 AM

Is Brazil turning into a military state?

From January, Brazil will be soon ruled by former military leaders. There is growing support for this in Congress, but ever more people fear there will be a coup. Thomas Milz reports from Rio de Janeiro.



Brazilian President-elect Jair Messias Bolsonaro is a former paratrooper; his vice president, Hamilton Mourao, is a retired four-star general. Observers expect that half the Cabinet could in future consist of military personnel, with some calling it a "military government" for this reason.

The defense minister-to-be — a retired general — objects to this view.

"This has nothing to do with a military government. Nobody is thinking about military intervention or authoritarianism," Augusto Heleno told the daily O Globo. "It is just that people are getting involved now whose qualities the country has long overlooked. Few people know Brazil as well as we do." It was a matter of common sense to use the military's knowledge, he said.

Defense of the dictatorship

Brazil returned to democracy in the mid-1980s after 21 years of dictatorship. Since then, governments have always made it a priority to keep their civilian character. The military was subordinated to the Ministry of Defense, which was led by a civilian. Now, with Bolsonaro's election victory, the military is coming to the fore on all social fronts. Bolsonaro's message is that his government will resolve the triple crisis of economic decline, increasing violence and rampant corruption that he alleges to be the result of a corrupt party democracy with its haggling over positions and party cronyism.

. . .

. . . The president of the Supreme Court, Dias Toffoli, declared a few weeks ago that he preferred to speak of the "1964 Movement" instead of the "coup." Brazil's students will probably soon follow his example.

More:
https://www.dw.com/en/is-brazil-turning-into-a-military-state/a-46339335

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