Security & Strategic Review - May 2023

BRAZIL: Reining in the armed forces

Under the previous far-right presidency of Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2023), himself a former army captain, Brazil’s government publicly commemorated the 31 March anniversary of the coup which launched Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship. The current government led by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva which took office in January, however, has used the anniversary this year to highlight the human rights abuses committed during military rule, holding events such as the ‘Semana do Nunca Mais’ (week of “never again”) from 27 March to 2 April. Such a contrast in attitudes towards military rule reflects the divergence between the two administrations’ relationship with the armed forces, with Bolsonaro giving military personnel a greater role in government, while Lula is now under growing pressure to reform the military’s leadership and authority.  

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