Tuesday, April 03, 2007


It seems there has been another change of command in Brazil. The military has resumed responsibility for the unholy mess that is air traffic control in Brazil. From today's Folha, as translated by our Sao Paulo bureau chief Richard Pedicini:

Lula retreats from agreement with mutineers

President calls controllers 'irresponsible' and allows punishments; Air Force reassumes air control today

In a meeting with the commandants of the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy, president Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva said that he had reevaluated the promise to not punish the air traffic controllers who mutinied on Friday.

The government retreated, thus, from the guarantee given to the mutineers that they would not be punished. In the future, the President may give them amnesty.

With this, the Air Force accepted retaking today the control of air traffic. The officers will return to the posts of command abandoned on Saturday, in reaction to the agreement signed by Paulo Bernardo (Planning) with the sergeants.

The pretext for the retreat was the announcement of the opening of inquiries against the leaders of the mutiny by the Military Prosecutors' Office. But the motive was the alert by the commandant of the FAB, Junito Saito, that the revolt could generate a chain reaction in air control and in the other Forces.

In the meeting, Lula said he had blocked the arrest of the mutineers on Friday because he was going to the United States and had an incomplete report.

(My comment: Remember that these are the people who accused the American pilots in the Sept. 29 mid-air collision over the Amazon of "failing to ensure the safety of Brazilian skies.")


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