Brazil’s president approves commemorations of dictatorship

March 25, 2019
1 of 3
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during ceremony at the Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, March 25, 2019. Brazil's president says he is "open to dialogue" about an ambitious pension reform that has become a central pillar of his administration's agenda. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s president has asked the defense ministry to organize commemorations of the country’s two decade-long military dictatorship that began on March 31, 1964.

Government spokesman Otavio Rego Barros says far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has approved an agenda presented to him by the ministry and asked it “to make due commemorations” on March 31.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, does not believe there was a military coup in 1964 and has repeatedly praised the 1964-1985 authoritarian regime.

In 2016, when voting to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, a torture victim during the dictatorship, Bolsonaro dedicated his vote to a colonel that led a torture unit.

As president, Bolsonaro has appointed several ex-generals in his government.

Officials did not provide details on the commemorations in the brief announcement on Monday.