Brazil. The Latin American trend of female heads of state also came to Brazil in 2010. On October 31, the ruling Labor Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) won the second round of the presidential election, and its candidate Dilma Rousseff became Brazil’s first female president. With 55 percent of the votes cast, she defeated opposition candidate José Serra of the Social Democratic Party (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira, PSDB). However, turnout was the lowest ever; nearly 30 million of Brazil’s 136 million eligible voters did not vote. Political observers also pointed out that Rousseff’s victory was actually less her own than a victory for outgoing President Lula da Silva.
In the governor elections held at the same time, it is true that the government alliance won in 17 of the country’s 27 states. But the opposition won in some of the most important states, such as São Paulo and Minas Gerais, while government parties won in Rio de Janeiro and most of the poor states in the northeast.
In early April, Brazil’s second city of Rio de Janeiro was hit by the worst rainfall since measurements began in 1912. During ten days, 410 mm of rain fell, three times more than normal. About 250 people died in the landslides, mainly in the makeshift townhouses on the city’s hills, while 11,000 became homeless and thousands of other homes were threatened by further landslides. Critics pointed out that Brazilian and Latin American metropolitan cities are still very vulnerable to natural disasters due to political neglect and a combination of unregulated urbanization, substandard infrastructure, poverty and exceptional weather conditions. According to COUNTRYAAH, Brazil has a population of 209.5 million (2018). Special concerns were expressed about Rio’s opportunities to create secure events around the 2016 Olympic Games. For example, the Maracanãzinho sports stadium was filled with just over a meter of clay in less than five minutes during the April fall. The same concern was expressed in connection with the wave of robbery and gang-related violence that hit the city in November, leading to the use of military equipment and regular invasions of some of the city’s largest slums.
The 1964 coup
In March 1964, a riot broke out among lower officers in the Rio fleet. It was supported by several unions. Following this rebellion, Goulart proclaimed radical reforms: The government should have the right to nationalize private oil refineries, to expropriate land, roads, railways, etc. He also proclaimed agricultural reforms and reduced the prices of food, clothing, medicine and schoolbooks, and promised rent regulations.
The right-wing forces, together with US representatives in Brazil, launched a large-scale propaganda campaign against Goulart. An anti-communist propaganda institute was set up for North American funds. The United States promised military aid and other assistance. The military’s support against Goulart was secured, and on March 31 began the riot of the reaction, which soon spread throughout Brazil. Goulart fled, and on April 1 a military government was deployed with General Humberto de Alencar Castello Branco as dictator. The role of the United States in the coup was obvious. US economic interests suffered some damage under Goulart. His candid relationship with Castro in Cuba and other socialist countries seemed threatening. The US position in Brazil was strengthened – both economically, politically and militarily.
The coup set a tentative point for the divide within the ruling class: on the one hand, the national industrial citizenship supported by large parts of the agrarian citizenship, whose goal had been an independent capitalist development with the support of a relatively strong state power. On the other hand, those who had never wanted their own national development in Brazil, but preferably saw that Brazil’s economy was integrated into the North American economy. This conflict also had an ideological side. nationalismin Brazil had been poorly developed before 1930, when Vargas tried to limit the dominance of foreign interests. This growing nationalism could later enable a kind of alliance between national industrial citizenship and the working class. But national “independent” capitalism weakened over the years. The imperialist-oriented part of the bourgeoisie – backed by foreign interests – gained its political power during the 50’s. When Goulart came to power, many of them sat in key positions in Brazil’s financial world.
The dictatorship’s first act was to broadcast it «1. Institutional Act ‘, which repealed the Constitution of 1946, allowed the banning of MPs and abolished all political rights. Detention was carried out throughout the country and important political leaders such as João Goulart, Leonel Brizola, Miguel Arraes and later also Juscelino Kubitschek went into exile or underground.
Initially, it was intended that General Castello Branco should rule until the end of the original presidential term, but his mandate was extended until 1967. At the local elections held in October 1965, the opposition in Río de Janeiro and in Minas Gerais won. The military’s response was to broadcast it «2. Institutional Act ‘which stated that the president should be elected by a designated electoral college and that all existing political parties be dissolved.
In the first years of the dictatorship, two particular tendencies emerged: The mass movements that had emerged under Goulart were suppressed by a modernized police and military. The CIA provided support and training to the Brazilian intelligence system, the persecution of opposites was stepped up, the prisons gradually filled and the torture intensified. The second trend was the dictatorship’s incremental concentration of power. The National Assembly was directly subject to the military authorities, and the states lost their relative independence. At the same time, the military created two new political parties to replace the banned: Arena, (Alliança Renovadora Nacional), the ruling party, and MDB (Movimento Democratico Brasileiro – Brazil’s Democratic Movement), which became the country’s only allowed opposition, and brought together people from the previous parties in Congress. The MDB’s policies were governed by laws and regulations, and violations of these led to opposition politicians being evicted, arrested or banished. Yet opposition to the regime increased after the coup. Workers initiated strike and protest actions, and student riots grew. The middle class economic situation had deteriorated and many began to react to the brutal regime. Opposition within Congress marked itself stronger and the ruling party Arena was a time in danger of losing the majority. Even within the military, there were voices demanding a “humanization of the 1964 revolution”.
The rising opposition and prospects for its progress in the upcoming elections were thwarted by a new coup in December 1968. It was implemented by the extreme right-wing within the military and once and for all had to settle the liberal and nationalist tendencies within the military and in Congress. . Using the «5. Institutional Act »the President dissolved Congress. The act gave the president unlimited power to override the constitution and the parliamentary bodies, and it provided grounds for persons who could be considered a danger to the country to be imprisoned without law or judgment. But the right wing project created an unstable political situation. General Arthur da Costa e Silva, who was inaugurated as president in early 1967, was removed in August 69 and replaced by a military junta that reigned until October, where General Emilio Garrastazú Médici was appointed President. His political experience came from the torture chambers. He was head of the Servicio Nacional de Información (SNI, Intelligence). The dictatorship of the Médici was characterized by a severe suppression of both legal and illegal opposition, while at the same time pursuing an economic policy that strengthened consumer euphoria among the middle classes. In 1974, General Ernesto Geisel took over the presidential post. He declared the state monopoly on oil exploration over, signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with West Germany and gave foreign capital more leeway. The development of the country’s arms industry placed Brazil on the world map as the world’s 5th largest arms exporter.