Brazil’s military chiefs plan to resign before Lula da Silva takes office

It is considered a surprise political reaction. The new government will appoint a civilian at the head of the Ministry of Defense

A controversy broke out in the brazilian military front to translate the decision of the commanders of the three Brazilian armed forces, which surprisingly decided to leave their posts at the end of December, before the inauguration of the president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. That is to say, without waiting for the change of form with the new government already established. The measure would have been agreed by the military chiefs in a meeting with outgoing President Jair Bolsonarorevealed the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.

The newspaper quoted two former defense ministers, who described the measure as “a gesture of insubordination” towards the new authorities. The soldiers are General Marco Antônio Freire Gomes, in charge of the Army; Brigadier Carlos de Almeida Baptista Junior, of the Aviationand Admiral Almir Garnier, of the Marina.

The truth is that, due to this novelty, the leader of the PT should have accelerated the appointment of the new head of that portfolio, a civilian, to order the military front at the beginning of his government. He would be the former deputy and former minister of the Federal Court of Accounts, Jose Mucio Monteiro.

In military circles, cited by that Sao Paulo newspaper, it is given as insurance. The politician he was included in the transition team and participated in a first meeting on Monday the 28th. Múcio he is seen as skilled by general officers, even though he is inexperienced in the portfolio details.

The most important thing, in view of these uniformed officers, is that he is not a root petista like Jaques Wagner, former head of Defense who was the one who seemed the favorite for the position. Lula’s team had clarified shortly after the electoral victory that the head of the portfolio would no longer be a general as was customary in the Bolsonaro government.

Múcio’s appointment would take place next week, when he will have to speed up the election of the new commanders.

“For the two occupiers of Defense, from different governments, the military commanders pointed out to the troops that do not fully accept Lula’s authority. Obviously, this is not a coup, but set a dangerous precedent at the lower levels,” reported Folha, a media outlet traditionally critical of the Bolsonaro government.

For other sources, this news has the advantage of facilitating the transition for the new government to appoint the new heads. But it is a controversy that arises in the midst of others that have come complicating the transition path by the authoritarian attitudes of the outgoing president, who has not acknowledged defeat in the elections. There are demonstrations in Brazil in various cities, including the capital, Brasilia, in demand of a military action that prevents the assumption of Lula da Silva.

The three commanders, who did recognize the victory of the PT leader, issued a joint note on the 11th defending the right of the people to these demonstrations as long as they are peaceful and criticized the Judiciary.

“In addition to anti-petismo, another trait that the uniformed leadership shares with Bolsonarismo is distrust of the high courts, which they describe as activists, with the Superior Electoral Tribunal in front. The note (in favor of the marches) was criticized by the president of the PT, Gleisi Hoffmann, which helped to sour the spirits”, Folha pointed out.

According to some analysts, the discomfort in the military sector is due to the loss of benefits with the change of government. In the Bolsonaro administration about 6,000 uniformed officers joined in different postsfrom the vice-presidency of the nation to lower ministries and positions, retaining their salaries originals with those of their new positions.

There have been other benefits. Especially, the differentiated regime for the uniformed men who go to the reserve, who achieved increases of up to 66 percent if they did some kind of improvement course.

Likewise, generals received up to $75,000 more in a yearafter a decree signed by the outgoing president allowed the accumulation of salaries and pensions above the ceiling of public spending.

This measure was adopted in April 2021, cWhen the income of public servants was frozenand benefited Bolsonaro himself, Vice President Hamilton Mourão , military ministers and a restricted group of about a thousand federal officials.

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