Power

Brazil’s ‘pajama generals’ reveal their plan for the country

In yet another indication of the symbiosis between the Army's 'old guard' and the Bolsonaro administration, retired officers launched a manifesto for the country — under the auspices of the president

generals Former Army Commander Eduardo Villas-Bôas, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, speaks to President Jair Bolsonaro at a 2019 event. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR
Former Army Commander Eduardo Villas-Bôas, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, speaks to President Jair Bolsonaro at a 2019 event. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR

“For the fatherland, nothing must be spared — without asking for anything in return. Not even [the country’s] understanding.”

The phrase was coined by Siqueira Campos, one of the leaders of a putschist revolt led by Brazilian Army lieutenants in the early 1920s. It epitomizes a sentiment that has become prevalent among the country’s Armed Forces: that it is their job to steer the country back in the right direction whenever they deem it necessary. 

The same phrase opens the memoirs of Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, the most infamous torturer of the military dictatorship. It is also present in...

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