Former Defence Ministers Ask Military To Protect Democracy

On Sunday May 17, Jair Bolsonaro again joined demonstrations by supporters of his government calling for military intervention and the closure of the Supreme Court and National Congress.

Without mentioning the current president, six of Brazil’s former defence ministers have responded by asking the military to follow the Constitution and defend Brazil’s democratic institutions. In a joint statement, they called for the Armed Forces to ignore requests for military intervention in favour of the Bolsonaro’s government.

The ex-ministers specified that the 1988 Constitution determines that the Armed Forces can only be called upon to intervene in the event of “anarchy”. The statement was signed by Aldo Rebelo, Celso Amorim, Jaques Wagner, José Viegas Filho, Nelson Jobim and Raul Jungmann.

Read the translated statement below.


The Armed Forces are State institutions with an important role in the national foundation and in the development of the country. Its indeclinable mission is the defence of the homeland and the guarantee of our sovereignty. Deservedly, they enjoy broad support and recognition from Brazilian society.

In view of the immense difficulties resulting from the crisis imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, whose effects are spreading, tragically, in Brazil, the Armed Forces play an important role in facing adversity and in maintaining the unity and spirit of the population.

Democracy in Brazil, more than a choice, is an unavoidable destination, which needs everyone’s contribution to its improvement.

The Constitution establishes in its article 142 that the Armed Forces “are destined to the defence of the country, to the guarantee of the constituted powers and, on the initiative of any of these, of law and of the order”.

There are no doubts about the Armed Forces’ commitment to the democratic principles ordered by the 1988 Charter. Their defence has been, and will continue to be, the foundation of their work.

Thus, any appeal to and encouragement of armed institutions to break democratic legality – coming from disoriented groups – deserves the most vehement condemnation.

They constitute an unacceptable affront to the constitutional role of the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, under the coordination of the Ministry of Defence.

This is our opinion as former ministers of defence, undersigned.

Aldo Rebelo
Celso Amorim
Jaques Wagner
José Viegas Filho
Nelson Jobim
Raul Jungmann