Operation Mutum – THE POWERFUL
In Belo Horizonte, as a journalist, he followed the country’s political events as a privileged observer, since he had access to information that other ordinary citizens did not and did not dream of having.
The press, in general, although not counting with total freedom, considering the censorship existing in all the informative organs, still it was aided of the informants in all the areas of influence, indicating what it would be important to report.
News was never lacking, in that obscure period in the life of the Brazilians, although not all those that were written had been divulged. As well as not all that have been reported have essentially reported the whole truth of the facts presented. Of course the newsmakers always knew more than they knew.
It was normal for us journalists to be permanently watched, as if we had committed or were ever to commit some crime. This was because, as opinion makers, we were considered to be dangerous to the regime, since we had the strength of the news and the power of persuasion and persuasion of public opinion, through our writings, as contained in the manuals for guiding the fight against Subversives, scattered around the barracks.
In our specific case, these actions would be to disclose information and news contrary to the government, which should be framed as an incitement to resistance and insubordination.
Considered subversive, those responsible for reporting and for disclosing the news were arrested and taken to police interrogation. They were almost always prosecuted, arrested, and when they were released, if they were one day, they were placed under constant surveillance on charges of subversion.
There were also supporters of the situation, the governors. And, of course, some of them were considered to be more dangerous because they were able to denounce military or professional colleagues, friends and even family members in the name of national defense.
Because they favored the then-constituted government, they were not concerned with keeping themselves clandestinely, such as those who did open or armed opposition.
With the passage of time and the increase of the rigor used in the repression, they were assuming the highest positions in the institutions in which they worked. It did not matter whether in the public service or in the private enterprise. His rise to the command posts was the certainty that the company, no matter what it was, would be well regarded by the military authorities. Government privileges would thus be guaranteed.
Worse than being seen as being subversive was to take the plague of Communist subversive. Nothing could be worse. Nothing could be more dangerous. After all, the Democratic Revolution of March 31, 1964, as it was known and called the military coup that occurred in Brazil at that time, only happened, according to their leaders, to prevent the country from becoming communist.
They, the coup makers, were, therefore, in their view, the true saviors of the Brazilian homeland, and therefore were also responsible for maintaining democracy.
President Joao Goulart, or Jango, as he was known, would deliver Brazil to the communists and thus lose the freedom we so much appreciated, they proclaimed. Luckily, everything had passed without much resistance, mostly armed, and thousands of lives had been spared from death.
This was the unison speech of those who made the revolution, and so, as if they had rehearsed it, they justified it.
On March 31, 1964, when the Army General Olimpio Mourao Filho, commander of the 4th Military Region and the 4th Infantry Division of the First Army, based in Juiz de Fora (MG), began the march with his troops toward the Rio Of January, the history of Brazil was beginning to change its course.
For more than twenty years in the future, Brazilians would live under a dictatorial regime, by exception, would lose almost all political rights, would disrespect their human rights and lose their happiness, having to learn to live in the streets with tanks Of war, police barriers with armed machine guns and cannons placed at strategic points in major centers.
The revolution provided the Brazilians with some new, different, oddities, hitherto unimaginable situations.
For example, the prestige, power and authority of ordinary people, who belonged to the military, could be greatly increased, not only to the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, but also to those who composed the Military Police of the States, the Guards Municipal Police and, above all, the Civil Police.
In reality, every individual who had the power to hold and imprison was highly respected, highly regarded, and recognized as an authority. On the contrary, all who were civilians, being neither police nor military, clearly and substantially lost power, prestige, and authority. Thus, Intellectuals, students, and teachers were the ones who lost most and devalued, regardless of the degree of education they had.
From the point of view of credibility, a military officer of any rank, a detective or investigator, was more valuable than a university student, a master, or a doctor in any area of human knowledge. Who, under any circumstance, would blindly believe in an intellectual in post-revolution Brazil? Who, in any of these circumstances, would discredit a post-revolution military?
These two questions, well done in the way I am putting it and whose answers left no doubt as to what should be answered, I did not do it, really. They were taken one night during one of the classes he attended in college. Who did it was one of the colleagues, called Nestor and he himself answered them, in an irrefutable, indisputable, unquestionable way. He told us, his colleagues and our teacher, that after the revolution had just had to wear a uniform, or had to present any police identification so that the person would be invested with a higher authority. And that the word of an authority, when confronted with that of a civilian, whatever it was, would always be the one to be considered and that would be true. And he said more, the Nestor, that being the word of an authority, could not be contested.
He stated further that “no matter who will decide the question of who is the true word the intellectual level of the calendar,” concluding that “it will have no authority over the military, the police or over who speaks for the government.”
I remember very well that when Nestor asked the questions, we were debating exactly the question of authority and power acquired by an individual when he won an election and was elected to a political office. Then Nestor interrupted the debate.
He would always sit there in the back of the room, close to the wall, in the last wallets, and never participate in the discussions. Until then. On that day, he not only pronounced as did an almost speech excited, taking up care to use a tone that did not leave doubts about what he meant: “I think this debate is a pure waste of time” thus began his speech. “They are forgetting that they live in a country where no more politicians are elected. Anything you say here should be understood only as utopia. Who determines today what is right or wrong, who has power and authority is who wears a uniform or can present a police identity. Who would blindly believe in an intellectual in Brazil today? Who would disbelieve of a soldier in this our Brazil? Only who is subversive or who is communist. And for these, we have this “and Nestor took a gun from the waist, placing it on the desk before concluding” and machine guns and chain. “
We thus discovered what we did not know until now that Nestor was a civilian police authority. After that day he was scarce attending our classes until he left the course.
Coincidentally, some of our classmates, from my classroom and from other classes, also started dropping out.
The comments made to the small mouth, in a very absent-minded manner, confirmed that some other police and military officers had infiltrated other courses in college, and that now, after Nestor’s astonishment, they had dropped out and returned to police stations and barracks. Not before they denounced some “subversives” who studied with us and who, mysteriously, disappeared from classrooms without locking up or transferring.
We then proceeded to make a joke: when someone asked what we thought of something or someone, we accounted laughing, jokingly, “I do not think anything because a friend of mine found and we do not think ever.”
(To be continued next week)