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LATIN AMERICA | 26-03-2019 13:06

Brazil President Bolsonaro approves commemorations of dictatorship

Ex-Army captain asks Defence Ministry to organise "appropriate commemorations" of the country's two decade-long military dictatorship.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has asked the Defence Ministry to organise "appropriate commemorations" of the coup that brought to power the country's two decade-long military dictatorship on March 31, 1964 – though he denies it was a coup at all.

Government spokesman Otavio Rego Barros said at Planalto Palace in Brasilia that Bolsonaro has approved an agenda presented to him by the ministry and asked it "to make appropriate commemorations related to March 31, 1964," 55 years on.

Yet "the president does not consider what happened March 31, 1964 a military coup," Barros said.

The celebrations should be carried out according to "what the commanders deem right within their respective garrisons, and within the context in which they should be performed," the spokesman added.

"He believes that society as a whole, perceiving the danger that the country was experiencing," was able that day to unite "civilians and military, to recover and return to our country onto its course. 

"And if that had not happened, today we would have here some kind of government that would not be good for anyone," the spokesman added.

olsonaro, a former Army captain, does not believe there was a military coup in 1964 and has repeatedly praised the 1964-1985 authoritarian regime. He says he admires the military dictatorship that overthrew president João Goulart.

In 2016, when voting to impeach then-president Dilma Rousseff, a torture victim during the dictatorship, Bolsonaro dedicated his vote to a colonel that led a torture unit.

As president, Bolsonaro has appointed several ex-generals in his government.Officials did not provide details on the commemorations in the brief announcement on Monday.

Bolsonaro has always been a strong supporter of the Brazilian military.

Since taking office in January, he has also had fond words for other military dictatorships in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s, such as the Paraguayan Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989) and that of Chile's Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).

- TIMES/

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