OPERATION MUTUM – COMMUNICATION AND RESEARCH
(Episodes 14 and 15)
I had just had breakfast with my grandparents when I was informed by a cousin, who worked at the City Hall, that a meeting was taking place behind closed doors, in the solemn hall of the City Hall, attended by the Mayor, Dr Arquimedes de Souza, the three military commanders, Major Alfredo, of the Army, Major Lemos, of the Air Force and Captain-of-Frigate Coutinho, the Judge of Law Dr. Altamiro Lages, the Mayor of Pastor Freitas and other influential people in the city.
As was to be expected, the intense movement of military troops in the region had attracted the attention of the regional press and, consequently, journalists from different parts of the country came to Mutum, including from TV stations affiliated with the major National Television Networks.
Praça Benedito Valadares was crowded with people and cars, some equipped with special equipment that transformed them into real mobile radio and television stations. Wires and cables of all types, dimensions and sizes spread across the floor in several directions.
Everyone in the press was allowed to attend the meeting, but warned that making recordings, taking photos, as well as filming would not be allowed.
During the meeting, which took place in a peaceful atmosphere, but surrounded by many mysteries, official information from the Government was provided on what was actually happening in those days in Mutum. On behalf of the Armed Forces, Major Alfredo, representative of the Army, spoke.
Firstly, he informed that the Brazilian Armed Forces, represented there by troops from the Army, Navy and Air Force, in compliance with the determination of the Military Office of the Presidency of the Republic, was taking over command of the city militarily, for as long as necessary. Their mission was to search for and locate bombs that had been accidentally dropped by a military aircraft over the city.
He then explained that combat troops from the Army, Navy and Air Force, based in Rio de Janeiro, were participating in joint military maritime defense maneuvers on the coast of Espírito Santo, together with military troops from the United States of America and North America. Canada. And that one of the FAB’s B-26 bomber planes, which would join the troops, when flying over Mutum, suffered a breakdown, and, needing to get rid of the bombs it was carrying, dropped them in the region.
Unfortunately, explained the Major, the exact location of where they fell was not recorded on a map, as it should have occurred, due to the failure of the flight recorders. Even so, it could guarantee and guarantee that, for the location and recovery of all pumps, all the resources they had would be used and that these resources were the most modern existing. He assured that the bombs were safe and would be found, for sure, before they could become a danger to the population.
He ended by saying that the Brazilian Armed Forces counted on the help of the entire population of Mutum, that everyone should maintain tranquility, as well as avoid situations that could hinder the searches and the recovery of military artifacts. He ended his speech by guaranteeing that, after the mission with the location and collection of bombs had ended, the city command would be returned immediately to the civilians who governed it.
After the meeting was over, everything that had been informed by Major Alfredo was issued a bulletin and distributed to the press, which would be responsible for divulging the facts and the measures adopted by the authorities to the entire population. Military cars, equipped with loudspeakers, started to roam the streets, in all directions, transmitting the official information very clearly.
Now, yes, I was quite sure that there were things there. In my view, it was not very logical what was happening.
The joint maneuvers involving Brazilian and foreign military forces went back to the days of World War II, when President Getúlio Vargas signed a formal alliance with the United States in 1942. However, American warplanes, since May 1941, have already crossed the Atlantic and used air bases located in Brazilian lands for their actions.
It is true that the High Command of the Brazilian Army was opposed to the presence of American troops in Brazilian territory. But the United States Navy was already authorized by the Government of Brazil to use the ports of Recife, in Pernambuco and Salvador, in Bahia, and it has been doing so since 1941. Therefore, the two countries already had joint military actions even before the official signing of the alliance.
In 1942 Brazil definitively opened all ports and air and naval bases in its territory for the military operations of the forces of Vice Admiral Jonas Ingram, North American commander of the troops of the South Atlantic.
By decision of President Vargas, Commander Ingram also assumed, in an informal way, the command of all air and naval forces in Brazil, becoming, from then on, the true responsible for the maritime defense of the entire national territory.
That same year, 1942, in August, our country suffered the first aggressions by the Germans, with the bombing of Brazilian ships, off the coast of Bahia and Sergipe, with hundreds of deaths. Reacting, President Getúlio Vargas solemnly declared war on Germany and Italy. But today, here in Mutum, we were not at war with anyone.
Why were the bombs still not being sought, two days after they fell? Why had the Major said that they would be found before they became a danger to the population? What kind of danger was he referring to? What kind of bombs were the ones that fell on Mutum? How many were there?
For the rest of the day I dedicated myself to finding answers to these and other questions that did not leave my head. I didn’t get any satisfactory results. I was only able to confirm that a joint maneuver by the Brazilian and American Armed Forces was taking place on the capixada coast, with the possibility of observing several warships and some submarines at sea from the coast.
Major Alfredo’s information proceeded. There, on the coast of Espírito Santo was the beginning of everything that happened in Mutum. The joint military operation had caused a bomber plane stray from its flight to drop bombs over the city. But, what bombs would those be?
In order to better understand the facts and remove some doubts and concerns that insisted on not leaving me alone, I contacted the Jornal do Povo newsroom in Belo Horizonte, asking Manfredo Kurt to send me, by fax, all possible information about the event. that military leaders thought about national security policy.
The research was done and the information was sent to me, as requested.
I have already alluded to moments in Brazilian politics when we witnessed demonstrations by groups favorable to Brazil, through its foreign policy, to move away from capitalism, represented by the United States of America and to approach communism, represented by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – USSR. When these manifestations became public, in our country, they began to be seen by some military currents, as being a threat to national sovereignty.
The discussion that was necessary, still in the field of ideas, was, in principle, only and only around national sovereignty.
Sovereignty, so that we have a better understanding of the term, is one, integral and universal. Which means that it cannot be relative, nor conditioned by a dominant normative power that prevents it from being full.
The only possible exceptions to acceptance are those that concern the requirements for the peaceful coexistence of sovereign nations, provided for in international law, regulated by the United Nations – UN. Thus, nationalists considered that the United States, although representing capitalism worldwide, respected the sovereignty of countries under its influence, since this influence was felt only in the economic field. The countries of the capitalist bloc were sovereign.
The USSR, on the contrary, a country of continental dimension created in 1922, as a result of the Russian Revolution of 1917, formed by the union of the republics of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Transcaucasia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, had only one Central Government, located in Moscow, Russia, known as the Supreme Soviet. So, of course, the same nationalists concluded that the countries that made up the Soviet bloc did not have sovereignty.
Brazil, whenever it needed to align itself with one of the blocs of influence in the world, always did so to appear alongside the United States. As in the First and Second World Wars.
When the First World War happened, Brazil, initially supported by the Hague Convention, officially declared its neutrality on August 4, 1914.
In 1917, on April 11, Brazil declared war on Germany after the Brazilian ship “Paraná”, one of the largest in the Brazilian merchant navy, loaded with coffee, was sunk by the Germans. Three Brazilians were killed.
Brazil was the only Latin American country to participate in the First World War. His participation took place by sending some pilots of planes, warships and medical support. The Brazilians were tasked with patrolling the South Atlantic as a way to prevent the attack by German submarines.
During the war, Brazil increased its exports to the belligerent countries, mainly of rubber, cocoa, coffee and sugar.
During the Second World War the Brazilian Expeditionary Force – FEB participated in the retaking and liberation of Italy by the allied troops.
The campaign of the Brazilian Armed Forces – FEB in Europe foresaw the sending of up to 100,000 Brazilians to the battlefields. However, from 1943 to 1945, it involved 25,834 men and women, divided into an Infantry Division, a Reconnaissance Squadron and a Fighter Squadron.