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Monument to Brazilian general triggers controversy with human rights groups

Monday, December 12th 2011 - 21:39 UTC
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Golbery do Couto e Silva is considered the father of the national security doctrine Golbery do Couto e Silva is considered the father of the national security doctrine

The Order of Brazilian Lawyers, OAB, considers the building of a monument to the memory of General Golbery do Couto e Silva, considered the most important mind behind the military dictatorship (1964/1985) as an “unnecessary provocation” which involves “some military officers” in disagreement with the Truth Commission.

“Certainly we can see the intention of some people who have no interest in that the Commission unveils all that happened, and among those people obviously we can expect to see some retired military officers, but I don’t know if active officers”, said Roque Reckziegel head of the Rio Grande do Sul OAB chapter.

The construction of the monument to the memory of Golbery do Couto e Silva, was sponsored and supported by Fabio Branco, mayor of the city of Rio Grande, where the general was born in 1911. He died in 1987 of lung cancer.

He is remembered for having introduced the concept of the National Security doctrine to Brazil’s War School and for having started the powerful (intelligence) National Information Service, SNI, from which emerged two of the military rulers, Garrastazú Medici, 1969/1974 and Joao Baptista Figuereido (1979/1985).

“What a coincidence that the monument to Gobery comes immediately after the President launched the Truth Commission and when we have seen signals of annoyance from whom say they speak in the name of the military”, argued Reckziegel from the OAB Human Rights commission.

Members from OAB and the Movement for Justice and Human Rights in Porto Alegre, have ‘condemned’ the monument which already has its founding stone in place.

“As far as we can see we are facing a most disappointing initiative, which is none less than a slap to democracy in Brazil which so must cost to recover”, added Reckziegel.

He also pointed out that the Golbery incident occurs when President Dilma Rousseff is expected to name the seven members of the Truth Commission which will have two years to investigate the crimes committed during successive military regimes.

Golbery joined the Army in 1927 at the age of 16 and worked his way up the ranks while serving in different units in Rio Grande do Sul, where Brazil’s main forces are located.

In December 1941 he began his studies at the General Staff School of the Brazilian Army. He graduated in August 1943, and in the same year was sent to the 3rd Military Region, in Porto Alegre.

He was part of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force acting as an Intelligence Officer during the Second World War, a post he occupied until the end of the conflict. Brazilian troops were involved in fighting axis forces in the Italian theatre.

Returning to Brazil in October 1946, Captain Golbery was reassigned to the state of Rio Grande do Sul and then to Rio do Janeiro. After some years of service, he reached the rank of general.

In 1966 he wrote a book entitled Geopolítica do Brasil (Brazilian Geopolitics) in which he argued for a doctrine of national security that would connect the state to the economy in the name of national security. This book greatly influenced the armed forces during the military dictatorship in Brazil.


Categories: Politics, Brazil.

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