Admiral Garnier Santos, former Navy commander. Photo: Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress


We publish an english translation of the weekly editorial of the newspaper A Nova Democracia from Brasil.

According to a CNN journalist, with information leaked from behind the scenes, the Army High Command discussed during meetings in November whether or not to take the initiative for a “military intervention” before Luiz Inácio’s inauguration. According to the press monopoly, by a majority, the reactionary generals concluded that it was not the moment to carry out a coup. The information also says that one of the main articulators of the coup propaganda was Walter Braga Netto, a four-star general from the reserve and candidate for vice-president on the ticket of Bolsonaro the Weak. Obviously, the general denied it, but he was not convincing.

The US publication in Brazil also points out that the Navy was where there was the greatest support for the institutional rupture, then headed by Admiral Garnier Santos – the same one who, in anger, did not even attend the ceremony in which he would hand over command. Journalist Marcela Matos, from Veja magazine, also reports that there is talk behind the scenes in the new government about an articulation that involved marines, who would be mobilized to begin a mutiny as a spark for the coup movement. The initiative was aborted, because there would have been no unity in the Armed Forces High Command (ACFA). Was it for this reason that General Braga Netto advised campers who were calling for a military coup in Brasilia to wait and “not lose faith”?

According to CNN, this was the reason why, in November, photos of five high-ranking generals of the Armed Forces were published by the far-right with the sentence: “Watermelon generals who prevented military intervention” (watermelons, meaning “green on the outside, red on the inside”).

The ultra-right wing journalist William Waack also informs that, according to sources in the ACFA, the generals have, fundamentally, two opinions about the elections: one part, frankly a minority, considers that there was electoral fraud, and the immense majority considers – in literal words – that “the elections were strange,” that is, that there would have been interference by the STF in the electoral process and beforehand in favor of Lula.

If all this is true – and nothing indicates that it is not true – this is a strong message: the reactionary Armed Forces are, in fact, convinced that they may have to carry out a military coup, the disagreement being the definition of the moment and situation. After all, logic dictates that if the ACFA considered non-intervention a principle, it would not have discussed it as a possibility (not to mention the explicit defense, always made in the barracks, including publicly, that the Armed Forces supposedly have a mandate to intervene).

The fact is that the majority of the ACFA – the hegemonic right – does not want to misjudge the timing, because a hasty military coup could raise a sea of masses in response and harm its counter-revolutionary plan to have the Armed Forces recognized as the Moderator Power, a condition for better combating the revolutionary masses that will inevitably rise up. But just as it knows that it cannot misjudge the timing, it is equally convinced that sooner rather than later it will have to launch the culmination of the coup d’état. This is because the reactionary Armed Forces in Brazil are not only the marrow of the old State which it sustains, they are also the guardians of this State and of its governments and, it is claimed, of the entire Nation.

The much-touted removals and dismissals of military personnel, especially of former Army Commander Júlio César Arruda, for insubordination by refusing to obey the order of the President of the Republic, and the replacement by the new commander Tomás Miguel Ribeiro Paiva, are being used, once again, to deceive public opinion that the country is experiencing normality. Far from it, Brazil is facing the greatest military crisis of the last 35 years.

This being the case, it is completely stupid to believe that the appointment of this or that general with sheep’s clothing to the post of commander can transform the very nature of the forces – whose ACFA, moreover, is trained in the same script and courses defined by the military regime, courses that the government of opportunism, in more than 14 years of management, has never had the courage to change, nor will it do so now. This coup movement, which everyone now sees, was conceived in the ACFA as a preventive response to the probable revolutionary popular uprising in the face of political putrefaction, as part of the decomposition of the economic base which the system of exploitation and oppression in force for centuries has reached, and which the uprisings of 2013/14 foreshadowed. It came to light in 2015 with the anti-corruption crusade, at first encouraged by Rede Globo with its ode to Lava Jato, and now already gives its first sighs of adulthood. There is no remedy that will cure it: it must be buried.

All democrats and revolutionaries must be clear that it is necessary to combine denunciation with mass mobilisation, to educate them in the spirit of securing their democratic freedoms as the apple of their eye, because these are the best conditions for the defence of their most heartfelt interests. This is only possible by raising them up in defence of their basic interests, by wresting from the reaction improvements in their living conditions through land seizures in the countryside, strikes and marches in the cities, in short, in the class struggle: there they will learn to unmask high ranking coup plotters, who eat at the same table as the exploiters and plunderers of the people and the nation while they belch cheap patriotism to the hypnotised petty bourgeoisie. Moreover, and above all: it is necessary to educate the masses, especially the workers, peasants, youth and small owners that they will be able to have everything they want today and much more with political Power in their hands, forcibly snatched from their tormentors, in the prolonged and eventful struggle for the Agrarian and Anti-imperialist Democratic Revolution.