Brazil Culture Minister Criticized for Downplaying Military Rule

Regina Duarte, secretaria de cultura de Brasil con el presidente Jair Bolsonaro. Foto- Divulgação Twitter

HAVANA TIMES – Brazilian Secretary of Culture Regina Duarte has sparked a furore with her remarks about the military dictatorship that once ruled Brazil, as well as with references to Hitler and Stalin, reportó dpa news.

The former soap star said of the two-decade dictatorship between 1964 and 1985: “Excuse me, in humanity there is no stopping dying. When you speak of life, there is also death.”

Duarte – who only recently joined the right-wing government of President Jair Bolsonaro after her predecessor was fired for making a speech that evoked Nazi propaganda – made the comments in an interview on CNN Brasil.

The interviewer responded that, under military rule, there was censorship, persecution and torture, to which she replied: “Fine, but there was always torture. Stalin! How many deaths! Hitler! How many dead!”

“To praise the time of the dictatorship, that frightens me very much,” responded Anitta, one of the most famous singers in the country, on social media.

Duarte’s predecessor, Roberto Alvim, was sacked after a video that surfaced of him making a speech apparently paraphrasing Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, causing a national uproar.

In the video, Alvim said: “Brazilian art will be heroic in the coming decade and it will be national … Or it will be nothing.”

Media outlets compared the phrase to one made by Goebbels, citing a biography by German historian Peter Longerich that quoted the Nazi minister as saying to theatre directors in 1933: “German art of the next decade will be heroic, it will have steely romanticism. … Or it will be nothing.”

The aesthetic of the video, the tone of the speech and the background music – Richard Wagner’s “Lohengrin” – was reminiscent of Nazi propaganda.