“Our mistake was to have condescended” to the military

“Our mistake was to have condescended” to the military
“Our mistake was to have condescended” to the military

Celso Amorim. (photo: Joana Berwanger / Reproduction / Portal Vermelho)

In an interview with the German magazine Deutsche Welle, former Defense Minister Celso Amorim, who occupied the portfolio during Dilma Rousseff’s first term, spoke about the PT governments’ stance with the military.

According to him, the PT erred in “condescending” to positions considered inadequate by active generals and should have taken a “firmer position”.

The former minister also states that he would not have appointed General Villas-Bôas to command the army in February 2015.

Read some excerpts from the interview:

(…) Was the PT government’s naïveté in relation to the military and to General Villas-Bôas himself, appointed commander of the Army by then President Dilma?

I will not criticize Dilma or my successors, but I would not have nominated Villas-Bôas. Less because of a political perception that he was going to do what he did, and more because I saw him as a person who wanted to appear a little too much.

The army commander at the time, as well as the chief of staff and the commander of land operations, were very discreet people. And I think that discretion is a quality of a general. The military cannot speak much, as he is armed. But it is a matter of judgment, people may be wrong, as well as they may have seen other merits that I personally would not have seen. At the same time, I wouldn’t be sure, I wouldn’t say “don’t put it at all”. We had no personal problems. When he was commander of the Amazon and I had to go there, I was treated very well.

I was surprised when General Sérgio Etchegoyen signed a manifesto against the inclusion of his father in the Commission’s report, without naming him as a general, but as a family member. They left people with a view less in tune with the prevalence of civilian power. It is an intrinsic difficulty of theirs, which was expressed not because it is a PT government. I think that many really kept a rancidity, but Lula and Dilma’s government invested a lot. Just take projects like the nuclear submarine, the Gripen fighters, everything happened under the PT government. There was no lack of attention to their organically important task, which is to defend the country.

In the work as a whole, without thinking about a specific action, I think our mistake was to have had a little condescension in these aspects. Not on topics such as remuneration and adequate conditions to defend the country. This is fair and had to be claimed. But at some point, you have to take a firmer stance. (…)

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