Heart of Pedro I of Brazil: Bolsonaro gets Portugal to lend him the heart of the emperor who made Brazil independent in 1822 | International
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Jair Bolsonaro will have the heart he asked for to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Brazil’s independence from the Portuguese crown. The Municipal Chamber of Porto agreed to lend the relic of Don Pedro, the first Brazilian emperor, which has been kept in the church of the Brotherhood of La Lapa since 1835, after receiving the report from the Institute of Legal Medicine, which endorsed the good condition organ preservation.
The President of the Republic of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, had been in favor of the transfer, although the decision was in the hands of the Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, who keeps in his office the five keys needed to access the place where the organ is deposited. “The report is not yet fully completed, but they have already assured us that the heart can be temporarily transferred to Brazil through transport with a pressurized environment,” Moreira said at a press conference on Wednesday. Portugal will demand that a series of legal guarantees be met, although the mayor did not clarify which ones. “A state agreement between two sister countries will be required,” he added.
The organ is preserved in formalin inside a glass container, which in turn is deposited in an urn inside other containers included in a granite mausoleum in the main altar of the Lapa church. Mayor Moreira explained that he will accompany the transport in a Brazilian Air Force plane, which will be in charge of the operation. “I am very sensitive to the request from Brazil and, for my part, I want to access the temporary loan from the heart,” he had commented weeks ago to EL PAÍS during an interview.
The Brazilian Foreign Ministry explains, to questions from this newspaper, that the arrival of the heart “will be an opportunity for Brazilians to honor a central figure in the independence process.” He adds that the date of the transfer will be negotiated by both parties and that the program, still under development, “will take into account the needs of conservation and security of the relic.”
Historian Lilia Schwarcz, author of the classic biography of brazil, comments that “Don Pedro is a very ambivalent and contested figure. He is seen as the architect of independence, but also as a puppet of the elites, who wanted to avoid revolutions like those in neighboring countries, and above all to avoid touching the slave system, fundamental to the new empire”.
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For this Brazilian specialist, President Bolsonaro “is transforming Pedro I into a military chief. For him, the military represent order. His idea is to reread history and make the memory of Don Pedro illuminate the need for a military coup for the good of Brazil”. On September 7, 2021, the day after Brazil’s independence, the president starred in a political act that culminated in threats of disobedience of the decisions of the Supreme Court. Pressed, he later backed down. But, to Bolsonaro’s sustained attack against the highest court, now adds his determination to sow doubts about the October elections, which will be held shortly after the bicentennial of independence.
Don Pedro and his son, the only two emperors Brazil has ever had, were very different. The first “appreciated the Army, the weapons and the warrior deeds, as much as his son, Pedro II, hated all that, he appreciated peace, science and the civil development of society,” historian and diplomat Manuel de Oliveira wrote. Lime.
Schwarcz recalls that the battles for the relics are a classic in these ephemeris and that the military dictatorship achieved in 1972 the transfer of the emperor’s body to São Paulo, where it rests in a crypt next to the place where he proclaimed independence almost 200 years ago. “The Government wants to make noise around a patriotic, non-republican, non-democratic history,” adds the historian. When the 150th anniversary of the event was celebrated, Portugal allowed the final transfer to Brazil of Don Pedro’s skeletal remains, which paraded in São Paulo, despite the fact that the monarch had expressed in writing his wish that they be buried in Lisbon, with the exception of his heart, which he donated to Porto, according to his will.
The future emperor proclaimed independence in a much less bucolic and regal scene than the one immortalized by art, he writes in the book 1822 Brazilian journalist Laurentino Gomes. The one known as the Cry of Ipiranga featured the regent prince covered in dust, mud and suffering from diarrhea that forced him to frequently dismount from his horse. Along the Ipiranga stream, on the outskirts of São Paulo, he proclaimed that Brazil was cutting all ties with Portugal. The act of independence was signed by his wife, Leopoldina, who rests with him.
The American country ceased to be a Portuguese colony when King João VI arrived in Rio de Janeiro from Lisbon in 1808 with little Pedro and the rest of the court to flee Napoleon’s invasion of the Iberian Peninsula. Thirteen years later, the king returned to his native country and attempted to re-establish colony status in Brazil, at which point his son Pedro de he revolted and was crowned emperor.
But Don Pedro also has great historical weight in Portugal due to his liberal ideology. In 1831 he crossed the Atlantic to confront his brother Miguel, who embodied a model of reactionary monarchy, for the rights to the Portuguese throne. The civil war ended with the liberal victory. “Don Pedro was the great defender of political freedom, with the granting of the Constitutional Charter of 1826. The Siege of Porto (1832-33) was the great fight for freedom against his brother Don Miguel, who was the leader of the absolutists. That is why the presence of his heart has great symbolism in a city, which since medieval times has fought and defended his freedom, ”says the Portuguese historian Francisco Ribeira da Silva.
The monarch died at the age of 36 in the Queluz palace in Lisbon in 1834, a few days after his daughter’s coronation as Maria II of Portugal. In his last wishes, he indicated that he wanted his body to be buried in Lisbon – the chosen place was the Pantheon of the Braganzas in the monastery of San Vicente de Fora – except for his heart, which he donated to Porto. “Theatre of my true glory,” he wrote.
When the Brazilian government applied for the loan, it said that the relic would first go to Brasilia, the capital. The mayor of Porto assured this Wednesday that the transfer will be carried out for “less than a year”. The last time the mausoleum was opened, according to historian Ribeira da Silva, was for the filming of the documentary The meaning of lifeby Miguel Gonçalves Mendes, in 2016.
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