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US Involvement in the Goulart Coup d'Etat

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The Brazilian Coup d’état in 1964 was essentially the overthrow of President João Goulart by the military with support from the U.S. government. The coup began on March 31st 1964 and conceded the next day on April 1st. After which the military would rule the nation until 1985.

Goulart was the elected Vice President of Brazil under President Jânio Quadros. In 1961 due to various pressures within the government and military Quadros resigned and eventually Goulart came into power. Goulart was a nationalist and a leftist and thus was a menace to the United States government. The Brazilian President integrated communist politicians into his government, took a neutral stance in the cold war, associated with socialist nations, supported nationalistic military personnel over pro-US personnel, and made economic reforms which would impact multinational corporations. These factors led Goulart to lose popularity amongst the upper class and Washington.

With backing from US government, both financially and possibly arms, Brazilian military commanders managed to depose Goulart, who then fled to take refuge in Uruguay.

Although the CIA has declassified a few documents and recordings of the coup, it has not released a large amount of information. This makes it quite challenging to analyze the major role that Washington played.

João Goulart

João Goulart was born on March 1st 1918 in the town of Itacurubi. His parents were Vicentina Marques Goulart, a housewife, and Vicente Rodrigues Goulart, a ranch owner. At the time of his birth, Goulart barely survived due to poor medical care. Goulart’s father Vicente was very insistent on education and made sure that Joao finished high school and afterwards attended law school. In 1939 he finally gradua...

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