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  • Brazilian soldiers attend a military ceremony to mark two decade-long military dictatorship that began on March 31, 1964. Brasilia, Brazil March 29, 2019

    Brazilian soldiers attend a military ceremony to mark two decade-long military dictatorship that began on March 31, 1964. Brasilia, Brazil March 29, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 March 2019

Brazilian appeals court: the country’s democracy must support a “pluralism of ideas,” allowing Bolsonaro to move ahead with Sunday celebrations of the 1964 coup.

A Brazilian appeals court says the country’s democracy must support a “pluralism of ideas,” ruling to allow Sunday anniversary celebrations of the 1964 coup d'état.

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Bolsonaro To 'Commemorate' Brazil's 1964 Military Coup

Judge Maria do Carmo Cardoso ruled Saturday to allow coup commemorations to proceed because the ceremonies being planned by the ministry of defense were not unlawful.

"I see no violation of human rights, particularly as similar demonstrations took place in (military) barracks in preceding years with no negative consequences," ruled Judge Cardoso. She added in her decision that Brazil’s democracy was strong enough to maintain a "pluralism of ideas."

Last week, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro gave the ministry of defense the green light to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the military overthrow of President João Goulart March 31, 1964. Goulart, who had also served as the Workers’ Party president, was implementing agrarian and education reforms at the time of his ousting. His overthrow was followed by over 20 years of military rule defined by state torture, killings and disappearances of dissidents and leftists, including former presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.

Cardoso’s federal court ruling overturned a Friday judicial decision to ban government coup celebrations because, according to Judge Ivani Silva da Luz, they did not align with the national "democratic reconstruction."

Friday's injunction was put in place after 2018 presidential candidates Fernando Haddad and Guilherme Boulos said they “completely disavow” the president’s decision to move forward with ministry of defense celebrations of the coup.

In a joint statement released last Tuesday the leftist politicians said they “completely disavow ... Bolsonaro authorizing commemorations of the anniversary of the 1964 military coup.” They added that such an event “encourages violence, torture and all the values ​​that have already been defeated.”

The Federal Public Prosecutor's Office came out against the government-sponsored parades planned to be a part of the Sunday festivities saying they "celebrate the dictatorship, ... an unconstitutional regime responsible for serious human rights violations.”

Bolsonaro, a former military capitan, claimed the March 31 events are meant to remember the era, not celebrate military rule itself.

"(This is) about remembering, checking, seeing what was wrong and what was right, and then using it for the good of Brazil in the future," the president said.

According to a 2014 national truth commission report as many as 200 former state agents who are still alive responsible for carrying out crimes against humanity during the dictatorship have not been brought to justice.

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