In Brazil, the president, the military and the astrologer

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro poses for a picture with students of the military college during an Army Day ceremony, in Brasilia, Brazil April 17, 2019. REUTERS / Adriano Machado - RC1632BEB010

Adriano Machado / REUTERS


Posted yesterday at 2:28 p.m., updated at 10:54 a.m.

" We are the cadets of Brazil, with manly chest! ", screaming at the top of their lungs hundreds of future Brazilian officers, strapped in their uniforms azulão, blue and white, with vermilion plume. This Saturday, August 17, 2019, is a day of celebration at the Military Academy of the Black Needles: the traditional ceremony of "presentation of the saber" takes place in the presence of the Head of State, Jair Bolsonaro.

In the courtyard of Marshal Mascarenhas de Moraes (known as the "P3M" courtyard), at the foot of the peaks of the Serra da Mantiqueira, 170 kilometers north-west of Rio de Janeiro, each cadet receives a replica of the weapon carried, he over a century ago, by the Duke of Caxias, founder and patron saint of the Brazilian army. "There is no greater emotion or honor as head of the armed forces than to preside over this ceremony, says Mr. Bolsonaro in front of the young people at attention. VSLike you, in 1974, I also received my saber in this sacred P3M. "

" Most of Heads of State attended the ceremony, but, with Bolsonaro, of course, it was touching. He graduated from here, he has a special relationship at this school. We received him as a friend ", recalls Major Dutra, director of the Academy of Black Needles, a vast Brazilian Saint-Cyr of 67 km2 which since 1944 has trained some 400 officers each year.

President Jair Bolsonaro poses with cadets from a military school in Brasilia, April 17, 2019.
President Jair Bolsonaro poses with the cadets of a military school in Brasilia, April 17, 2019. Adriano Machado / REUTERS

The president did not come alone. On the platform stands half a dozen of his ministers: all military, generals and captains, all "old" of the Black Needles. In front of the cadets, the president names their names, extols their qualities. As we would present the members of a large family, finally reunited at the top of the state.

Since the end of the dictatorship in 1985, the military has never been more present in government. To the point that the country's media today reports a " olive green esplanade ", The color of the Brazilian armed forces, to describe the Monumental Axis of Brasilia, where the Presidential Palace of the Planalto and the various ministries are located.

Departments in the hands of the military

In addition to Captain Bolsonaro and General Hamilton Mourao, Vice-President, the military heads several ministries: those of defense, mines and energy, infrastructure, science and communications, general control of public accounts (CGU) . They also hold the functions of heads of cabinet for institutional security (GSI, in charge of security and intelligence matters) and of the Casa Civil, directly subordinate to the president and who have the rank of ministers.


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