Brazil professor subpoenaed over ‘2016 coup’ course

Carlos Zacarias, a professor in the History Department at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), has been subpoenaed to appear before a court of justice and offer testimony as to why he developed a course titled “Special Topics in History: The 2016 Coup and the Future of Democracy in Brazil.”

During an interview with Bahia Noticias, Zacarias said: “I have ten days to explain myself (to the court). Joao Carlos Salles, the university dean, was also cited (in the subpoena). In other words, the UFBA has been affected. It’s under assault, being put to the test.”

Zacarias was notified of the subpoena at the university.

He defended his decision to organise the course, asking, “When will we be able to speak about the 2016 coup? When this government (administration) comes to an end? If we’re only allowed to speak about it when it is finished, that means this government is authoritarian.”

Zacarias concluded that “There’s a reasonable consensus about what constituted the 2016 coup and the risks that democracy faces in the country.”

Initiated by the University of Brasilia, or UnB, several other higher education institutions have implemented courses addressing the 2016 impeachment of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and subsequent rise to power of Michel Temer via senate voting. Students enrolled in the course will also discuss the infamous ‘Car Wash’ corruption scandal, as well as the ascension of ‘para-fascism’ sweeping the country, according to Revista Forum.

Education Minister Jose Mendonca Bezerra Filho promised to take legal action to prevent the UnB class from taking place.

Attempts to halt a university course, as well as the military intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro, comes amid growing concerns that democracy in Brazil is slipping further away.

Last week, Temer said Brazil’s armed forces are the victims of societal “prejudice,” and that supports more participation of the military in public administration.

Likewise, Retired General Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira was applauded during a lecture at the War College in Rio de Janeiro when he said “It’s amazing the amount of prejudice that continues to exist against the military. There’s no reason for it. After the military regime (1964 – 1984), the armed forces have been a bastion of democracy in Brazil. This country fights against all forms of prejudice, except this one.”

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