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  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro smiles during a signing ceremony for 13.2 billion reais in contracts for electricity transmission lines, at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil March 25, 2019.

    Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro smiles during a signing ceremony for 13.2 billion reais in contracts for electricity transmission lines, at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil March 25, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 March 2019

"If all that (the dictatorship) had not happened, today we would be having some kind of government here that would not be good for anyone," Barros said.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gave the Ministry of Defense freedom to carry out the "due commemorations" of the 55th anniversary of the country’s 1964 military coup on March 31, spokesman of the presidency Otavio Rego Barros said Monday.

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"Our president has already determined that the Ministry of Defense will hold the due commemorations in relation to March 31, 1964, including an order of the day," the military general Rego Barros said.

He did not specify what kind of commemorations there would be, but said that commanders can perform acts they "consider within their respective military units."

Sources from the Ministry of Defense told EFE that it is a way to remember the date from a historical point of view and for this an "agenda" for the day’s recognition will be issued.

In 1964 President Joao Goulart was overthrown by the military, who imposed a military dictatorship in Brazil that lasted two decades until 1985, when Tancredo Neves was elected as the first civilian president in a vote carried out by Congress.

However, Barros stressed that the Brazilian president does not consider the 1964 episode as a military coup, but instead thinks that "the society, perceiving the danger that the country was living in at that time, joined civilians and the military" to "recover and reunite" Brazil.

"If all that had not happened, today we would be having some kind of government here that would not be good for anyone," the spokesman added without a tinge of irony.

Throughout his political career, Bolsonaro has proved to be nostalgic for the military dictatorship. During the impeachment trial that removed Dilma Rousseff of power, then-congressman Bolsonaro dedicated his vote to Colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante, one of the chiefs of the repressive network from the former dictatorship.

According to a report from the Truth Commission, the military dictatorship in Brazil left 434 dead or disappeared, and was responsible for numerous cases of persecution and torture.

Brazilians took to social media following the news calling out Bolsonaro for "celebrating" the military dictatorship and its coup using the hashtag #DitaduraNuncaMais (No More Dictatorship). "Hey world! While different countries around the world are ashamed of their authoritarian past, the president of Brazil, @jairbolsonaro chooses to celebrate the military dictatorship’s anniversary. (+) #DitaduraNuncaMais," a Brazilian said in a tweet using the hashtag. 

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