The forgotten voices of the militares cassados in Brazil

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Nina Schneider


Forcibly retired military officials whose political rights were withdrawn (militares cassados) during the military regime have previously received no attention from either the military institution or civilians (the State, the general public, and scholars). It is only recently that the Brazilian Truth Commission appointed a subgroup to investigate the militares cassados and that new research projects have been initiated. This article asks why research on military repression has been neglected for so long, and discusses three hypotheses. It then introduces two militares cassados Brigadier Rui Moreira Lima, whose political rights were withdrawn despite his distinguished military career in the Second World War; and Ivan Proença Cavalcanti, a military official who defied instructions from his superiors to open fire on students. Based on oral history interviews, autobiographies, military journals, and intelligence files, this article aims to kick-start a discussion about whether the neglect of the militares cassados may be symptomatic of a historiographical tendency to homogenise the Armed Forces in Brazil.

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Schneider, N. (2013). The forgotten voices of the militares cassados in Brazil. Brasiliana: Journal for Brazilian Studies, 2(2), 313-344. Retrieved from
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Author Biography

Nina Schneider, University of Konstanz

Nina Schneider holds a Marie Curie Postdoc Fellowship at the Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz, in Germany. She obtained a PhD in History from the University of Essex, UK, and was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) at Columbia University in 2012/2013. She is particularly interested in authoritarian regimes and their multifaceted roots, practices and legacies; the history of human rights; the engaged intellectual; and propaganda. Recent publications include: Breaking the Silence of the Military Regime: New Politics of Memory in Brazil?, Bulletin of Latin American Research 30/2 (2011), pp. 198-212; ‘The Supreme Court’s recent Verdict on the Amnesty Law: Impunity in Post-authoritarian Brazil’, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, no. 90 (2011), pp. 39-54; ‘Truth no more? The Struggle over the National Truth Commission in Brazil’, Iberoamericana, vol. 42 (2011), pp. 164-170.