Olímpio Mourão Filho
|Born||9 May 1900|
Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil
|Died||28 May 1972 (aged 72)|
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
|Commands held||4th Infantry Division|
Olímpio Mourão Filho (9 March 1900 – 28 May 1972) was a Brazilian general who actively participated in the integralist movement and in the 1964 coup d'état. He was the editor of the Cohen plan, a document falsely attributed to international communism, which was used as justification for the instatement of the Estado Novo regime of Getúlio Vargas.
On 31 March 1964 he ordered the troops of the 4th infantry division under his command in Juiz de Fora to march on the city of Rio de Janeiro, an action that precipitated the military coup a few days before the date planned by the conspirators. Between 1967 and 1969 he was president of the Supreme Military Tribunal.
The Cohen Plan and The Estado Novo coup
Mourão Filho was one of the principal leaders of the Ação Integralista Brasileira (AIB) nationalist movement which rose to importance during the period that Getúlio Vargas governed Brasil constitutionally.
According to his autobiography, while running the secret service of the AIB, he wrote a document in 1937 for internal circulation called the Cohen Plan that simulated a communist plot to take power in Brazil. As he was also a captain serving on the army's general staff some copies of these papers ended up in the hands of officials of the Brazilian army.
In the run up to the presidential elections of January 1938 the Cohen Plan was denounced by the government as a plan drawn up by the Communists to seize power. The disclosure of the document added to a climate favourable to the establishment of the Estado Novo dictatorship and the banning of all political parties (including the AIB) on 10 November 1937.
On 11 May 1938 a few people, including integralistas, violently invaded the Guanabara Palace (seat of the federal government) in an attempt to overthrow president Getúlio Vargas. Following this episode, known as the integralist conspiracy, the leaders of the extinct AIB, Mourão among them, were arrested and charged. They were later pardoned by Vargas on condition of loyalty to the leader of the Estado Novo.
1964 Coup d'état
Mourão Filho had a decisive role in the military coup of 1964. On the morning of 31 March, Mourão made telephone calls throughout Brazil saying, "My troops are on the street". On the evening of the same day he ordered the troops under his commanded in Juiz de Fora to occupy the state of Guanabara, now the city of Rio de Janeiro. These forces were reinforced by two other regiments coming from Belo Horizonte and São João del Rei. They met no resistance and ended up fraternizing halfway with elements of the First Army who had left Rio de Janeiro with the mission of confronting them. The operation was called "Operation Popeye", in reference to Mourão Filho's habitual pipe smoking . His action was criticized by his allies, among them Magalhaes Pinto, then governor of Minas Gerais and civil leader of the coup, who said: "...moving troops with few weapons and resources in haste from Juiz de Fora to Rio de Janeiro Mourão could have caused a bloodbath".
According to some conservative political publications, Mourão Filho participated in political meetings in the cathedral square in São Paulo, and his diary contained notes about the "rights that every government should promote".
Superior Tribunal Militar
Mourão Filho became a minister of the supreme military court on 9 September 1964 and was president of the Court from 17 March 1967 to 17 March 1969.