Brazil defense chief: Military will prevent a repeat of Jan. 8

Brasilia, Jan 20 (EFE).- Brazil’s armed forces will forestall any repetition of the event that unfolded in this capital on Jan. 8, when thousands of supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro invaded and vandalized Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace, Defense Minister Jose Mucio said Friday.

“Don’t have the slightest doubt,” he told reporters in Brasilia after President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva conferred with the commanders of the army, navy and air force for the first time since the failed uprising.

Bolsonaro, a right-wing former army captain who has never acknowledged his defeat to former two-term president Lula in the Oct. 30 election, is suspected of instigating the attack on Brasilia, which came a week after the new administration took office and nine days after he left for the United States, where he remains.

While the Jan. 8 disturbances were not discussed during Friday’s meeting, “the military officers are aware and in agreement” on the need to take measures against any members of the armed forces who participated, Mucio said.

“I understand that there was no direct involvement of the armed forces,” he said. “If some element took part individually, he or she will answer for it as a citizen.”

“Everyone was outraged” by the assault on the seats of the legislative, judicial and executive branches, Mucio said, while urging people not to make accusations “in the heat of emotion.”

Last week during a breakfast gathering with journalists, Lula, 77, said that many police and military personnel “connived” with what he regards as a coup attempt.

Videos posted online showed members of the Brasilia police force, then under the command of a Bolsonaro ally, fraternizing with the rioters.

Bolsonaro is an outspoken admirer of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime, while Lula – then leader of the autoworkers union – was a prominent figure of the resistance to rule by the generals.

As leader of the autoworkers union, Lula was a prominent opponent of the 1964-1985 military regime, much admired by Bolsonaro.

On Friday, according to Mucio, Lula expressed “enthusiasm” for the work of the current service commanders and told them he wants to modernize the armed forces, as he did during his 2003-2011 tenure.

“We must pacify this country, it is necessary to govern,” the defense minister said, adding that the purpose of Friday’s discussion was to identify the most urgent needs of the military branches.

Lula is the founder of the Workers Party, which had evolved from socialist to center-left by the time he reached the presidency in 2003 and he enjoyed good relations with the armed forces throughout his first two terms.

His new government includes a centrist former governor of Sao Paulo state as vice president and several Cabinet ministers from center-right parties. EFE cms/dr

Related Articles

Back to top button