With the election of retired military officer Jair Bolsonaro to the highest civilian post in Brazil, some observers fear that the military will ascend to a position they haven’t occupied since the country’s return to democracy in 1985. Some of the changes that have fuelled such concern have taken place at Abin, the Brazilian Intelligence Agency.
The previous incarnation of Abin didn’t leave good memories, yet one could argue that was not a past life at all, but an altogether different institution. Created in 1964, the National Intelligence Service, or SNI, has given enough source for nightmares. Its very own Dr. Frankenstein, General Golbery do Couto e Silva, reportedly said they “created a monster.”
According to journalist and researcher Elio Gaspari, author of a best-selling book series on Brazil under military rule, 20 years after the inception of SNI, Gen. Couto e Silva admitted that “We tried to create an information service, but we got screwed.”