President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva has sacked the head of the Brazilian army after losing faith in him after a government building was stormed by supporters of former leader Jair Bolsonaro earlier this month. .
The decision to replace General Julio Cesar de Arruda, reported by local media on Saturday, could exacerbate tensions between the two countries. Lulathe military, which took office for a third term on January 1, and the military that has long been ambivalent toward veteran left-wing leaders.
Lula has since openly criticized the country’s military radical Bolsonaro supporters On January 8, they attacked the parliament, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace.
Notably, the battalion guarding the presidential palace went missing that day. RiotLula also suggests that someone may have opened the building from the inside, citing no evidence of forced entry.
Local media also reported that the government’s security bureau, which is largely made up of military personnel, dramatically cut the number of security personnel in Brasilia’s political center days before the riots.
Lula criticized the military for allowing extremist pro-Bolsonaro supporters. camping for months Outside an army barracks after right-wing populists lost the October elections.
Supporters who say the election was rigged against Bolsonaro are calling for military intervention, which Lula said is tantamount to calling for a coup.
Arruda was appointed an army captain late last year. According to local media reports, he was dismissed after meeting with Lula several times before concluding that he was not going to take sufficient measures to suppress political activity in the barracks.
His successor, General Tomás Miguel Ribeiro Paiva, head of the São Paulo-based Southeastern Command, defended the results of the October elections and the military’s role as a non-political institution.
The January 8 riots were seen as the greatest attack on democracy in Brazil since the military dictatorship that began in 1964 and ended in 1985. However, as a result of amnesty as part of the transition to democracy, soldiers were never punished for their crimes. Hundreds of murders were committed during the period, including the use of torture.
Since then, the military has maintained a presence behind the country’s politics. During the Bolsonaro administration, they were empowered by thousands of government jobs, generous budgets, and unwavering admiration.
Lula has taken a firm stand with the military since the riots, but risks backlash.
“The military is not what they think of as ‘coordination,'” he said last week. “The military has a clear role in the constitution to protect the Brazilian people and defend its sovereignty from external conflicts. That’s what I want them to do well.”
Rafael Arcadipani, a military expert at Brazil’s Public Security Forum, said the military “needs to be less ideological and more professional.”
“They need to explain why their military has been so poor at defending the presidential palace. They need to fully investigate this matter.”