The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, gave a whole show of strength dismissing the army commander, in an attempt to appease his relations with the armed forces after the violent assault on power on January 8 by the Bolsonarist radicals.
Without completing his first month in power, the progressive president sacked General Júlio César de Arruda as army chief on Saturday night, a day before he heads to Argentina for his first international trip since taking office.
He chose as his replacement General Tomás Paiva, who last week strongly defended democracy and the result of the presidential elections in October in which Lula won him in the second round by a narrow margin -50.9% of the votes against 49 ,1- to his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, who continues without admitting his defeat at the polls.
demonstration of authority
“Lula’s decision showed his authority as supreme commander of the Armed Forces” and with it he hopes to “rebuild his confidence” in the Army, Marco Teixeira, professor of Political Science at the Fundación Getulio Vargas study center explained to EFE (FGV) .
In his view, it also led to the unexpected dismissal of Arruda a message to strengthen “civilian authority over the military”, after four years in the far-right Bolsonaro administration, a retired army captain who opened the space for thousands of soldiers to fill government positions during his tenure.
The crisis of confidence between the Lula government and the army has been recognized by Defense Minister José Múcio, and it is abuzz even before the coup attempt perpetrated two weeks ago by thousands of Bolsonaro supporters in Brasilia.
It began to take shape with the camps set up by supporters of the former president at the gates of the country’s barracks to demand a military “intervention” to overthrow Lula and restore the retired Army captain to power.
One of the most numerous was installed in front of the army headquarters in Brasilia practically from the October election until a day after the violent invasion of the seats of the presidency, congress and the supreme court.
Considered by the government to be a “terrorist incubator”, the camp was only deactivated by order of the Supreme Court and it is suspected that it housed some military relatives.
“Lula has not condoned, nor will he condone, the occupation of the fields in front of the army. He wants an absolute investigation,” Múcio said in statements to the newspaper or globe Posted this Sunday.
Fissures in the relationship with the army
The assault on Brasilia on 8 January, in which some active and reserve soldiers are under investigation for alleged involvement, increased the cracks in the relationship with the earth force.
Lula himself accused “many” policemen and soldiers of being “collusive” with the attack on institutions.
“We have to know who the culprits are. Obviously the Army wasn’t behind it, but we have to punish the people of the Forces involved and know who helped to destroy” the three powers, defended Múcio or globe.
The culmination was, according to local media, General Arruda’s resistance to dismissing Bolsonaro’s former assistant to the order, Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid, in charge of commanding a strategic battalion in the city of Goiânia.
Cid was a man of utmost confidence of Bolsonaro and is being investigated in Cassation in various cases, one of the latest leaks in the press concerns suspicious financial movements of the family of the far-right leader.
All of this led to Arruda’s dismissal. Teixeira is now confident that the government-army relationship will “calm down” and that mistrust will end.
“It is preferable to show strength right now and restore the model of trust than to have an open fissure in the military that could generate instability again,” said the political scientist.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.