João goulart and the coup d´etat in brazil in 1964


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João goulart and the coup d´etat in brazil in 1964

  1. 1. JOÃO GOULART AND THE COUP D’ÉTAT IN BRAZIL IN 1964 Fernando Alcoforado * Several factors explain the onset of the coup d’état in 1964 that overthrew President João Goulart. The first is related to the decline in the economic growth process in Brazil opened by the President Juscelino Kubitschek (1955 - 1960) which exacerbated social tensions in the country .The second concerns the increase of the internal contradictions existing in Brazil between, on one hand, capital and labor , and the other, between landowners and peasants. The third concerns the conflict between political forces interested in national emancipation and economic forces that advocates of maintaining the subordination of Brazil to international capital. The fourth factor relates to the conflict between the world capitalist system, led by the United States, and the socialist system led by the Soviet Union. Finally, the fifth factor concerns the crisis between the presidency and the military unresolved by President Goulart. All these factors contributed to the coup d’état of 1964 and the deployment of military dictatorship that lasted 21 years in Brazil. It can be argued that the relationship between the then vice - president João Goulart and conservative sectors representatives of the ruling elites and sectors of the military already had problems in 1961 after the resignation of President Jânio Quadros when they tried to prevent his inauguration as president of Republic which only occurred due to the legality campaign initiated by the then governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Leonel Brizola. On 25 August 1961, Quadros handed his resignation letter , trying to force Congress to give him greater powers as a condition for his return to government. The claim Quadros to renounce the government was to move the masses and force the military ministers conservatives to admit his turn as dictator, avoiding to surrender power to João Goulart who was regarded leftist and he was in official visit to China. Quadros expected the masses to support him, but this did not happen and the Congress accepted the resignation, considered unilateral act of will. The military ministers challenged the possession of Goulart, but the armed forces were divided. Brizola , governor of Rio Grande do Sul , mobilized the military brigade and occupied radio stations in Porto Alegre forming the chain of legality to support the possession of João Goulart with the backing of Third Army in defense of constitutional legality. The problem spread across the country with the outbreak of strikes in various cities in defense of possession of Goulart as president. With the political impasse created, political leaders in Congress have negotiated a way out of the institutional crisis. The solution was the establishment of a parliamentary system of government which lasted for two years (1961-1962) greatly reducing the constitutional powers of João Goulart. With this measure, the three military ministers agreed, finally, the return and possession of João Goulart as President of Republic. On August 31, 1961, João Goulart returns to Brazil, and is sworn as President of Republic in September 7, 1961. It should be noted that in 1961, Brazil had entered a period of stagnation and recession with hyperinflation that contributes greatly to rising unemployment and social tensions after Juscelino Kubitschek government ( 1955-1960 ) when Brazil achieved high rates of growth GDP, which on average was 7.9 % per year in the period, generating at the same time, hyperinflation and bottlenecks in the Brazilian economy. In January 1963, João Goulart called for a referendum to decide on whether or not the parliamentary system. About 80 percent of voters voted for the restoration of the presidential system. 1
  2. 2. Since then , João Goulart came to rule the country as president with all constitutional powers at his disposal. In the brief period in which João Goulart ruled the country (1961-1964) political conflicts and social tensions became serious. This is due to the fact that they were already exhausted the possibilities of economic growth based on the expansion of the Brazilian industry of consumer durables, especially the automotive industry, which a decade earlier had been the main driving force of economic growth. During the government of João Goulart, the contradiction between capital and labor has grew dramatically due to the decline in economic growth, the loss of purchasing power of workers resulting from rising unemployment and hyperinflation and the existence of a working class and trade unionism gestated by industrialization increasingly claimant in defending the interests of workers . Meanwhile, in the countryside, tensions between landowners and peasants organized through the peasant leagues claimed the land reform with land expropriation of landlordism. Since the beginning of his term, João Goulart had no basis for parliamentary support to pass easily their political, economic and social projects which had committed government stability. As a solution to solve the frequent impasses encountered by the lack of political support in Congress, João Goulart adopted the strategy of permanent mobilization of popular sectors in order to get social support for his government. The difficulties of João Goulart in the area of governance became more serious after the restoration of the presidential system and this fact contributed to the government to approach the labor movement and the sectors representing the chains and national reformist ideas. At the same time, João Goulart tried to get support from the right sectors performing successive reforms and offering ministerial positions to people with influence and support by the national business community and foreign investors. The fact that it occurred during the Kubitschek government denationalization of the Brazilian economy with foreign capital exercising command of the industrialization process in Brazil and the domestic industry have been relegated to their own devices to suffer competition from outside groups attracted by the incentives and advantages official had made major progress of the nationalistic sectors unhappy with this situation. The government of João Goulart allied to current national - reformist ideas that seek national emancipation from the domination of imperialism, especially the U.S., which have had to cope with the political forces interested in maintaining the "status quo" ruling. It should be noted that apart from the contradiction between the Brazilian nation and imperialism, especially the United States, the conflict between the world capitalist system led by the United States and the socialist system led by the Soviet Union also contributed to the occurrence of the coup of 1964 because, from the geopolitical point of view, the world was divided between two areas of influence (capitalist and socialist). The Brazil in 1964 was considered in capitalist influence area under the leadership of the United States. It would be unacceptable to the United States and its local allies admit that Brazil became an independent country and able to be allied with the Soviet Union as happened with Cuba. The economic and geopolitical interests of the United States prevailed with the emergence of the 1964 coup d’état which had its decisive contribution to its implementation. Join this factor, anticommunism widespread exacerbated by the media, the Catholic Church and other civil society organizations 2
  3. 3. funded by industrialists and landowners fearful of the possibility of the government of João Goulart promote a socialist revolution in Brazil. Given the large structural problems faced by Brazil and to tackle the economic, political and social crises in the early years of the 1960s, the government of João Goulart sought to implement the called Basic Reforms based on the Three-Year Plan drawn up by the then Planning Minister, Celso Furtado, which was a proposal to restructure a number of economic and social sectors of Brazil that began to be discussed further during the Kubitschek government in 1958. The discussions returned to the discussion when Goulart assumed the presidency of the Republic. The Basic Reforms became the flag of the Goulart government. Under the name of "basic reforms" were gathered initiatives aimed banking, tax, urban, administrative, agrarian and university reforms. Also included to provide voting rights to illiterate and patents subaltern of Armed Forces. The measures also sought a greater share of the state in economic matters, regulating foreign investment in Brazil. Among the changes required by the basic reform was, first, the agrarian reform. The objective was to enable thousands of rural workers had access to land in the hands of the landlordism. The law of profit remittances that sought to reduce the high rate of profits of the large foreign companies in Brazil and of the freezing of rents had already been approved by Congress. However, for the president João Goulart had all its measures adopted had to change the Brazilian Constitution. The plan outlined by the government was calling the people to participate in the project through large rallies that could cause inflammation of the population for pressuring Congress to promote the necessary changes in the Constitution. Throughout 1963, the country has been the scene of unrest that have polarized currents of thought of the right and left around the conduct of government policy. In 1964 the political situation worsened. The discontent of the national business, of the ruling classes as a whole and of broad sectors of the middle class became stronger against João Goulart government. On the other hand, trade unions and popular movements pressing for the government to carry forward the social and economic reforms those benefit them. Public acts and expressions of support and opposition to the government hatch nationwide. On March 13, the rally took place in Central Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, which gathered 200 thousand workers in support of João Goulart. A week later, the landowners sectors, the industrial bourgeoisie and conservative sectors of the Church held the "March of the Family with God and Freedom", considered the apex of the movement opposing the government. The thrust of the government for the implementation of Basic Reforms began on March 13, 1964 through a major rally in Central Brazil in Rio de Janeiro in which João Goulart and Brizola announced major changes in Brazil. About 200 thousand people attended that day, which upset even more conservative sectors. In this rally, President João Goulart announced the signing of the decree which made state private oil refineries and decree that expropriated uncultivated land located on the edge of roads and railways. As the proposals were influenced by the thought left, supporters of capitalism, landlordism and members of the Brazilian right feared about the growth of a possible Communist government in the country. The rally in Central Brazil was the decisive moment to determine the organization of the military to begin the coup d’état that was triggered on March 31, 1964 establishing a military dictatorship in the country. The armed forces were also influenced by 3
  4. 4. ideological polarization experienced by Brazilian society that the political situation, causing the breakdown of hierarchy and discipline due to the uprising of subaltern. The scholars of the subject claim that breaking the hierarchy and discipline in the armed forces was the main factor that caused the removal of the military loyalists who left to support the government of João Goulart, facilitating the coup d’état. It should be noted that the military crisis persisted throughout the government of João Goulart. Nationalist sectors of the Armed Forces, articulated to the union movement and sectors of the Left openly supported Goulart important policy initiatives, such as the defense of "basic reforms". In the same period, increased politicization of the lower sectors of the military hierarchy, sergeants, corporals, soldiers and sailors. On September 12 ,1963 a rebellion broke out in Brasilia led by sergeants of the Air Force and Navy, revolted against the decision of the Supreme Court not to recognize the eligibility of sergeants to the Legislature (prevailing principle in the 1946 Brazilian Constitution). The position of neutrality adopted by Goulart in this episode raised suspicions and fears among politically conservative sectors and much of the middle and high military officers. Growing fears about the possibility of an eventual coup d’état of leftist orientation with the support of sergeants, corporals, soldiers and sailors and the breaking of the principles of hierarchy and discipline in the military force. These fears were compounded by the outbreak, on March 28, 1964, an uprising of sailors and marines in Rio de Janeiro, concentrated at the headquarters of the United Steelworkers. Goulart refused to punish unruly, letting them go free, which led to a deep crisis in the officer corps of the Navy. On March 30, 1964, Goulart appeared, as a guest of honor at a party hosted by the Association of Sergeants and NCOs at the headquarters of the Automobile Club. These events precipitated the outbreak of the coup d’état movement, started in Minas Gerais in the early hours of March 31, 1964 that led to the ouster of President João Goulart who was exiled first in Uruguay and then Argentina. Even in exile, former President João Goulart engaged alongside Carlos Lacerda, former Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro who had supported the coup d’état and then he opposed, and Juscelino Kubitschek, to form the Broad Front which was one of the major movements of opposition to the military dictatorship in order to restore democracy in Brazil. It should be noted that Kubitschek and Lacerda were before the coup d’état, the major candidates for the presidency of Republic in the 1965 elections that were not held.On October 28, 1966, the Rio newspaper Tribuna de Imprensa, published the manifesto of Carlos Lacerda which advocated a return to free and direct elections , the party reform and an independent foreign policy. Despite not contain the signature of former presidents Goulart and Kubitschek, later confirm they support the manifesto. On 19 November of the same year, Lacerda and Kubitschek emited the Lisbon Declaration , which reiterated the need to form a popular front in opposition to the military regime that won support from John Goulart when he was in exile in Montevideo. João Goulart and Juscelino Kubitschek had lost their political rights in 1964 after the coup d’état, while Carlos Lacerda was impeached in 1968 by the military regime. There are indications that military cooperation between Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Brazil - Operation Condor - assembled in 1975 to combat its opponents would have led to the deaths of João Goulart and Juscelino Kubitschek , both in 1976, and Carlos Lacerda in 1977. It's too big a coincidence these deaths happen at the same time. The exhumation of the body of João Goulart in progress at the present time should be followed by the 4
  5. 5. same action on the corpses of Juscelino Kubitschek and Carlos Lacerda to clarify the truth about their deaths. * Alcoforado, Fernando, engineer and doctor of Territorial Planning and Regional Development from the University of Barcelona, a university professor and consultant in strategic planning, business planning, regional planning and planning of energy systems, is the author of Globalização (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1997), De Collor a FHC- O Brasil e a Nova (Des)ordem Mundial (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1998), Um Projeto para o Brasil (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2000), Os condicionantes do desenvolvimento do Estado da Bahia (Tese de doutorado. Universidade de Barcelona,, 2003), Globalização e Desenvolvimento (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2006), Bahia- Desenvolvimento do Século XVI ao Século XX e Objetivos Estratégicos na Era Contemporânea (EGBA, Salvador, 2008), The Necessary Conditions of the Economic and Social Development-The Case of the State of Bahia (VDM Verlag Dr. Muller Aktiengesellschaft & Co. KG, Saarbrücken, Germany, 2010), Aquecimento Global e Catástrofe Planetária (P&A Gráfica e Editora, Salvador, 2010), Amazônia Sustentável- Para o progresso do Brasil e combate ao aquecimento global (Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2011) and Os Fatores Condicionantes do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2012), among others. 5