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5 facts about the Brazilian military regime Posted by on Apr 30, 2019 in Brazilian News, Brazilian Profile, Culture, Economy, History, Learning, Politics

It is no surprise that Jair Bolsonaro, the current president of Brazil, came to poder (power) fomenting many controversies that have been increasing in his first months of governo (government). Be it his declarations about the Nazi government being de esquerda (leftist) right during visit to the Holocaust Museum in Israel, or his attitudes seen as misogynistic, racist, or homophobic. One of his most striking and controversial positions was during a vote for the impeachment of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, a woman who was in the luta armada (armed struggle) against the military government in the 1960s and 1970s, during which time she was presa (arrested) and torturada (tortured) along with other companheiros de luta (fighting comrades). More significant than the vote in favor of the impeachment was the homenagem (homage) he paid to Colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, who became known as one of the most cruel torturers of prisoners during the Brazilian military government.

Manifestação estudantil contra a ditadura militar (photo by Brazilian National Archives [Public domain])

Known in Brazil as “Anos de chumbo” (Years of Lead), due to the violence of embates políticos (political strife), Bolsonaro’s tribute to the torturer colonel reignited a great debate about the period in which the military forces occupied the government in Brazil (1964-1985). While some experts call this period golpe militar (military coup), the current president of Brazil and part of his seguidores (followers) claim that in fact there was a Revolution. To better understand this issue, let us go over cinco fatos (5 facts) about the period in which the military ruled the country.

1 – During the 21 years of government, the National Congress was fechado (closed) three times by the military. The allegations for such medidas (measures) were always the same, the presence of what the military called ideologies contrary to theirs.

2 – Between the 60s and 70s, Brazil lived what was known as the milagre econômico (economic miracle), a significant aumento (increase) in its riquezas (wealth) and investing in gigantic infrastructure that generated thousands of new empregos (jobs).

3 – However, this economic crescimento (growth) was not followed by a distribution of renda (income) among Brazilians. The salário mínimo (minimum wage) had an increase below the inflation taxa (rate), which drastically increased social and economic desigualdade (inequality) in the country.

4 – The agency responsible for elucidating the cases of desaparecimentos (missing persons), mortes (deaths) and tortures caused by the military government accounted for 434 pessoas (people) who died or went missing due to perseguição política (political persecution) during the period. However, it is estimated that the number is muito maior (much higher), but a lot did not go on record back then.

5 – Similarly, numbers are imprecisos (inaccurate) when it comes to torture registros (records). According to a reputed Brazilian institute, over 6,000 denúncias (reports) of torture were filed between 1964 and 1977. However, the órgão brasileiro de direitos humanos (Brazilian human rights agency) estimates that more than 20,000 Brazilians were tortured during that time.

On March 31srt, 2019, véspera (eve) of the 55th anniversary of the início (beginning) of the military government, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro declared that “celebrations” were due in honor of what he calls a revolution. E aí, qual a sua opinião sobre o assunto? So what’s your take on the subject?

You can also watch two films on YouTube on these different perspectives here, if you care to learn more:

Eu me lembro

1964: O Brasil entre armas e livros

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