Power

The military behave as if they own the Brazilian Republic, says author

Proclamation of the Brazilian Republic. Painting by Benedito Calixto, 1893

“People looked on amazed, astonished, without knowing what it meant. Many seriously believed to be seeing nothing but a military parade,” wrote journalist Aristides Lobo on November 15, 1889. He was reporting on the fall of Brazil’s monarchy and the proclamation of the Brazilian Republic, but clearly, citizens did not understand what was happening that day. The “it” referred to by the reporter was when Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca proclaimed that Brazil was, from then on, a republic, ending the empire at Campo de Santana, in Rio de Janeiro, the country’s capital. In the painting that depicts this historical moment,...

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