Between March 31 and April 2, 1964, the Armed Forces, in collusion with the parliament and the STF, carried out one of the greatest crimes in national history: they staged a coup d’état against a democratically appointed president, who governed according to the Constitution.
In the following 21 years, the military, whose presence in the presidency was supposed to last a few months, suspended the presidential right to vote and took turns in power. During the period, they coerced and closed Congress, muzzled the STF, banned political parties, oppressed unions and civil society organizations, imposed censorship, suspended habeas corpus and undertook a regime of terror based on persecution of the opposition, kidnapping, torture , in forced disappearances, in unjust arrests, in addition to establishing a model of governance based on broad collaborative support with other South American dictatorships that are subservient to the US, complicit in a widespread state of corruption that has never been known due to the arbitrary control of institutions.
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Decades later, the risks of a new coup returned with the last president, reaching a peak on January 8. They returned because the traitors of 1964 pushed down an Amnesty Law that freed state agents who committed crimes against humanity from criminal liability.
Until 2016, Brazil was committed to recognizing such violations, apologized to the victims, symbolically repairing them (a formality irresponsibly suspended in recent years). Regardless of this, it has never been able to bring perpetrators to justice, nor has it adequately reformed its institutions, ridding them of authoritarian biases, now disproportionately felt by the most vulnerable sectors of society. He indulged in cowardice and, in doing so, did not consolidate an unshakable memory, capable of passing unscathed to retrograde revisionism and latent fascism.
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Therefore, having overcome the imminent danger, it is time to unite in defense of the Democratic State of Law. Without democracy there is no human dignity, stability or peace. And for the 1960s cataclysm and modern attempts not to be repeated, crimes must be investigated and criminals must be punished. Truth without justice does not enliven memory. Repairs without institutional reforms do not immunize against coups. Dictatorship no more!
*Marcelo Uchôa is a member of the Amnesty Commission. President of the Committee on Memory, Truth, Justice and Defense of Democracy of the OAB-CE. Member of ABJD and Grupo Prerogativas. Professor at UNIFOR.
**This is an opinion piece. The author’s view does not necessarily express the editorial line of the newspaper Brazil in fact.
Editing: Nicolau Soares
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