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The military in Latin America

Brazil and creeping militarism

Brazil was ruled by a succession of military governments between 1964 and 1985. After mass campaigns for democracy and direct elections the country was able to restore full constitutional rule in 1985. For the following 34 years, a period of well over three decades, the armed forces remained in barracks, clearly subordinate to the authority of elected civilians. This period also saw a significant role for the Brazilian military in international peace-keeping efforts organised by the United Nations. Brazil was for example a key player in MINUSTAH, the UN stabilisation force for Haiti which was deployed in 2004-2017. Around 2,200 Brazilian military were deployed in the country. However, Brazilian civil-military relations began to change significantly after Jair Bolsonaro, himself a former army captain, took office in January 2019 at the head of a radical right-wing government highly critical of what it described as the civilian and ‘liberal-left’ political establishment.

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