Brazil's Vice President Hamilton Mourao Wednesday commemorated the 57th anniversary of the last coup d'etat in the country as lawmakers pressed for the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
On this day, 57 years ago, the Brazilian population, with the support of the Armed Forces, prevented the International Communist Movement from setting its grip on Brazil. Strength and Honor!, said the retired army general Mourao. Bolsonaro himself is a retired army captain.
Both leaders support the uprising that overthrew the democratically elected President Joao Goulart to set up a military dictatorship that lasted until 1985.
Newly-appointed Defense Minister, General Walter Braga Netto, had also expressed his vindication of the events of 1964 on Tuesday: The 1964 movement is part of the historical trajectory of Brazil, therefore the events of that March 31 must be understood and celebrated, stated Braga Netto hours after being sworn in.
Braga replaced active General Fernando Azevedo e Silva, who was backed by the chiefs of staff of the three armed forces who turned in theri resignations in support, unleashing an unprecedented political-military crisis.
Meanwhile, Sao Paulo State Governor Joao Doria condemned the events of 1964: We have nothing to commemorate; we have to work in democratic resistance, said Doria, from the centrist Brazilian Social Democratic Party, which stands against Bolsonaro and longs to run for the presidency in 2022.
”The greatest desire (of Bolsonaro) is to be a dictator (...), he has an extreme vocation for authoritarianism,” said Doria.
Deputy Paulo Teixeira, from the Workers' Party (PT), said Bolsonaro unleashed the military crisis because he is betting on the worse the better to bring the country into chaos, and from there he will try to carry out a coup.
Seeking Bolsonaro's impeachment were Senators Ranfolfe Rodriquez of the center-left party Sustainability Network and Paulo Prates of the Workers' Party, backed by by Congressman Alessandro Molon, from the center-left Brazilian Socialist Party, and his colleague, Marcelo Freixó, from the left-wing Socialism and Freedom Party.
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro insisted: People have to go back to work despite the health collapse that is shaking Brazil, as he asked governors to drop locally-imposed quarantines. The return of the right to work is essential, he added from the presidential Planalto Palace in Brasilia.
Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga- also appointed less than a week ago- recommended social distancing at Easter, although without endorsing quarantines and curfews, after his first Covid-19 committee meeting.