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In a gesture towards the military, Lula da Silva canceled official events due to the coup 60 years ago in Brazil

On the 60th anniversary of the last military coup against the government of Joao Goulart that was remembered this Sunday in Brazil, President Lula da Silva vetoed official acts in memory of the victims, in an attempt to defuse relations with the Army, when some of its high-ranking officers are in the crosshairs for an alleged coup plot that sought to prevent the inauguration of the PT leader in the first week of January 2023.

Lula’s gesture is a clear change of position for a president who has historically been associated with positions critical of the military. “We need to bring Brazilian society and the Armed Forces closer: they cannot treat each other as if they were enemies,” he said at the end of February in an interview with the local press, in advance of this Sunday’s measure.

On March 31, 1964, The Brazilian military rebelled against President Joao Goulart (1961-1964) and they remained for 21 years at the head of a dictatorship, admired by the far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022), a former army captain, today under judicial investigation along with other senior officers for an attempted coup against his successor.

The anniversary seemed propitious for Lula, a former union member who led a historic strike against the de facto government, to remember his victims, among whom 434 were murdered or disappeared, according to the 2014 conclusions of the National Truth Commission, a official organism.

Unlike neighboring Argentina, which tried those in uniform accused of committing crimes during its dictatorship (1976-1983), In Brazil the chapter ended with an Amnesty Law of 1979.

Meeting. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, visited Brazil on the eve of the anniversary of the coup in Brazil (Reuters).

But Lula, 78, affirmed that the 1964 coup “is already part of History” and his government “will not dwell on the matter.”

“I am more concerned with the coup of January 8, 2023 than with the one in 1964,” he said recently.. That day, thousands of Bolsonaro’s followers invaded the headquarters of the three powers in Brasilia, calling on the military to depose Lula, a week after his inauguration.

At the same time, the police are investigating the former president for allegedly participating in a “coup d’état plan” to remain in power after his defeat in the 2022 elections. Several of his closest allies are involved in the plot, including ministers and high-ranking figures. military. A major and an Army colonel were arrested as part of that investigation.

“There has never been a situation so conducive to discussing the place of the Armed Forces in Brazilian society as after the Bolsonaro government and after January 8,” explains historian Lucas Pedretti.

But Lula made “a political calculation that puts in the foreground a strategy of accommodation with the Armed Forces, to the detriment and detriment of the historical needs of Brazilian society to review its past,” this academic from the University of Rio told AFP. of Janeiro.

Support.  Thousands of Bolsonarists participate in a march in support of former president Hair Bolsonaro, under investigation for the January 2023 riot (AFP).Support. Thousands of Bolsonarists participate in a march in support of former president Hair Bolsonaro, under investigation for the January 2023 riot (AFP).

Lula’s decision meant the cancellation of events prepared by his own government, such as those of the Ministry of Human Rights. Its owner, Silvio Almeida, intended to remember the activists and persecuted by the military regime in a speech at the Museum of the Republic, in Brasilia, according to local media.

And although Lula banned celebrating the coup in the barracks last year, as during the Bolsonaro years (2019-2022), there will also be no reflection on the role of the Armed Forces in the dictatorship or today.

But human rights groups demand that President Lula reactivate the Commission on the Dead and Disappearedinstalled in 1995 to investigate political crimes between 1961 and 1979, and suppressed by Bolsonaro in his last year of government.

The Brazil Coalition for Memory, Truth and Justice, which unites more than 150 associations, criticized the president’s “wrong” decision not to commemorate the anniversary. “To vehemently repudiate the 1964 coup is a way to reaffirm the commitment to also punish the blows of the present and possible future attempts,” they noted in a note

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