Hero of World War II was tortured by the military regime

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The fact that he was a hero of World War II, where he participated in 94 missions as a fighter pilot with the P-47 plane, against the average of 35 actions by a North American pilot in the same conflict, did not save Brigadier Rui Moreira Lima from being arrested three times during the military regime and impeached by AI-1. To date, he has not been amnestied by the Brazilian State, according to reports to Brazil Agency his son, economist Pedro Luiz Moreira Lima.880cff5b68.jpg3804c1a6ad.jpg

Institutional Act number 1, signed on April 9, 1964 by the military junta, composed of Army General Artur da Costa e Silva, Lieutenant-Brigadier Francisco de Assis Correia de Melo and Vice-Admiral Augusto Hamann Rademaker Grünewald, suspended for ten years the political rights of all citizens seen as opponents of the regime, including congressmen, military personnel and governors. During this period, the threat of impeachment, arrests, classification as subversives and eventual expulsion from the country arose. The AI-1 was the embryo of the National Security Law, published on March 3, 1967.

Rio de Janeiro (RJ), 03/05/2024 - Pedro Luiz Moreira Lima, economist and son of brigadier Rui Moreira Lima. Photo: Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil
Rio de Janeiro (RJ), 03/05/2024 - Pedro Luiz Moreira Lima, economist and son of brigadier Rui Moreira Lima. Photo: Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil
Pedro Luiz Moreira Lima, economist and son of Brigadier Rui Moreira Lima Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil

Accused of being a communist, a serious offense at the time, Rui Moreira Lima refused to hand over the Santa Cruz Air Base, which he commanded, in Rio de Janeiro, was placed in reserve and arrested for the first time. Air Force officers’ flying licenses, including Rui’s, were revoked. His flying license was only recovered in 1979, when, due to his age, he was no longer able to fly. Pedro Luiz said that his father was one of thousands of soldiers, including around 2,000 officers, affected by the dictatorship who could not resort to regular justice to recover their rights, in accordance with Article 181 of the 1967 Constitution.

Act of force

Article 181 stated that “the acts carried out by the Supreme Command of the Revolution of March 31, 1964, as well as the acts of the federal government, based on the Institutional Acts and Complementary Acts and their effects, as well as as well as all acts of military ministers and their effects, when temporarily exercising the Presidency of the Republic”. Pedro Luiz defined: “it was an act of strength. It was with this article that the father abandoned his fight for the right to fly and its promotion. Only in the Constitution of 88 was this article overturned and, without a doubt, thanks to the father”.

The economist says that the dictatorship wanted to expel his father from the Armed Forces. “There were people who even thought about eliminating all the revoked officers. In 1988, he entered the common courts and reached, in 1992, the rank of major-brigadier.” Rui Moreira Lima died, however, on August 13, 2013, at the age of 94 years old, without being able to obtain the highest rank in the Air Force in times of peace, which is that of air lieutenant brigadier. Without accepting the request to expel Brigadier Rui Moreira Lima from the Air Force, President Castelo Branco, who had known him since he was young, ended up reforming him as a colonel and not as a brigadier major, contrary to military laws, which justified the position based on the length of service he had provided and his actions in World War II.

Brigadier Rui Moreira Lima. Photo: Personal Archive
Brigadier Rui Moreira Lima. Photo: Personal Archive
Brigadier Rui Moreira Lima – Personal archive

Pedro Luiz said that, years later, in a decision signed on May 24, 2016, then president Michel Temer granted promotion postmortem the air lieutenant brigadier to Rui Moreira Lima, published in the Official Gazette, but revoked in 2019 by the Attorney General’s Office (AGU), with the signature of President Jair Bolsonaro. The argument was that Moreira Lima was not a pilot. “He was an engineer and an engineer does not reach the four-star rank of lieutenant brigadier”, reported Pedro Luiz.

Prisons

The first time he was arrested, Rui Moreira Lima was placed in the hold of the troop ship Barroso Pereira, close to Ilha Fiscal, where he suffered psychological torture and lived with rats, bedbugs and cockroaches. There was no toilet. Physiological needs were carried out in a hole in the ground. He went on a hunger strike. Three days later, the commander of the Fighter Group in Italy and former Minister of Aeronautics, Nero Moura, telephoned President Castelo Branco reporting the conditions his command was suffering and he was transferred to the ship Princesa Leopoldina, where he remained for 49 days. stuck.

Four months later, he was arrested again and taken to the 3rd Air Zone barracks, under the command of Brigadier João Adil de Oliveira. He was detained for 90 days, responding to the Santa Cruz inquiry, as it became known, led by Brigadier Manoel José Vinhaes but, mainly, by his assistant, Colonel João Paulo Moreira Burnier. “This Inquiry was terrible, being practically directed by Burnier. Both – Vinhaes and Burnier – were not trying to find out the truth, but to commit me as a subversive”. The statement was made by Brigadier Rui Moreira Lima himself, in an interview given for the project Oral History of the Army and Sister Forces in the 1964 Revolution, published in 2003.

Brigadier Rui Moreira Lima. Photo: Personal Archive
Brigadier Rui Moreira Lima. Photo: Personal Archive
Brigadier Rui Moreira Lima – Personal archive

Released and impeached, he began a new career as a civilian, at the age of 49, in the incentive stock market, as a partner in the company Jacel Jambock. In the last arrest, in 1970, Rui’s son, Pedro Luiz, was detained as a way for the dictatorial government to reach the then colonel Moreira Lima, within his company. The brigadier was kidnapped, hooded and taken to the 15th Mechanized Cavalry Regiment (RC Mec), located on Avenida Brasil, in Rio de Janeiro, commanded by Colonel Mário Orlando Ribeiro Sampaio. This was Rui’s former command on the Security Council and on the course they took in West Germany. There, the brigadier remained incommunicado for three days, in a kind of dungeon, where he could not lie down or sleep, as the bed only had three legs. If he needed to go to the bathroom, he was supposed to call one of the guards to accompany him. Until, by order of General Sizeno Sarmento, he was released. “The father thought the intention was for his death and disappearance,” said Pedro Luiz.

The persecutions did not stop, however, after the last arrest. The family received threats and insults over the phone, plainclothes guards were seen roaming the street and there was always a body that involved the operation of the brigadier’s company.

Sit down!

Rui Barbosa Moreira Lima, or Brigadier Rui Moreira Lima, as he was called, was born in the city of Colinas, in Maranhão, on June 12, 1919. He moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1938 to attend the Military School, coming to train aviators in the first class of the Aeronautics School. He became one of the first members of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). He signed up as a volunteer for World War II in Italy with the 1st Fighter Aviation Group, of which he was the creator of the motto Sit down. This was also the title of the first book he published about the actions of the 1st Fighter Aviation Group in the war. “There were 55 thousand books in the first edition”, revealed Pedro Luiz. The work is already in its fourth edition. “These are human stories that happened, with testimonies from several of the brigadier’s companions.”

Rio de Janeiro (RJ), 03/05/2024 - First edition of the book
Rio de Janeiro (RJ), 03/05/2024 - First edition of the book
Senta a Púa is in its fourth edition – Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil

After the opening of democracy, he launched War Diary, counting the missions he carried out in the skies over Italy, the first being on November 6, 1944 and the last on May 1, 1945. He was hit by German anti-aircraft artillery on nine occasions, from which he emerged without injury. His departure for war occurred when his wife, Júlia Moreira Lima, was pregnant with their first daughter, at the age of 18. The officer’s three children are Claudia, Sonia and Pedro Luiz.

With a restless spirit, he became an activist for the opening and redemocratization of the country, with full participation in the Constituent Assembly, for nationalist issues, for the recovery of civil and military rights for Brazilians affected by coups d’état, and for the appreciation of the history of Brazil and the FAB .

In 2021, Editora Topbooks launched Adelphi! Flying for Justice and Freedom, biographical book written by museologist Elisa Colepicolo and Pedro Luiz Moreira Lima, telling the story of the brigadeiro. “My father was a historian. Everything he wrote, he kept.” The basis of the book were the writings left by Rui, which totaled 8 thousand documents, 6 thousand photos and some recordings that the officer left. The term Adelphi is a special salute, intended to honor the fighter pilots of the Brazilian Air Force who perished in the skies over Italy, as well as being used to mark events relevant to fighter aviation or the Brazilian Air Force.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Hero World War tortured military regime

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