United States encouraged and supported the 1964 military coup in Brazil against elected president João Goulart according to documents from the US State Department recently declassified.
In the latest edition of the Globo television program Fantástico, Carlos Fico a historian and researcher from the Federal University of Rio do Janeiro revealed he had access to US government documents which showed the involvement of US diplomacy at the time in the downfall of the Goulart administration.
One of the documents is titled, "A contingency plan for Brazil" and was drafted with help from then US Ambassador in Brazil, Lincoln Gordon. State Department named the operation to oust Goulart in 1964, "Brother Sam"
In messages sent to the White House, Gordon describes the chances that Goulart be ousted in the face of what is described as a potential "communist intervention" in Brazil with the possible support from Cuba or the Soviet Union.
Ambassador Gordon described opposing forces to president Goulart as "constructive", who had convinced the Brazilian president "to hand over office," according to what was aired in the Globo program.
Goulart was finally ousted by a military coup on March 31, 1964, opening the way for a dictatorship with five general presidents which lasted until 1985, when constitutional normality was restored under president José Sarney.
In spite of having military support from the southern garrison, Goulart left office without resisting avoiding bloodshed and died in 1976 during exile in Argentina, apparently suffering from food poisoning.
However in 2003, former ambassador Gordon denied any links with the 1964 coup against Goulart. But other documents link the State Department with the military takeover which the Brazilian generals, – most of them belonging to a generation of officers who fought next to US forces in Italy during the Second World War – described as the "Revolution".
"This is the first time we are faced with documents which confirm US involvement in the 1964 coup. It’s no delirious imagination from the opposition or from those who suffered persecution under the coup and the military dictatorships that followed. It’s a fact of history", said Jessie Jane Vieira de Souza head of Rio do Janeiro’s university Philosophy and Social Sciences Institute.
Ms Vieira de Souza and her family had to abandon Brazil and lived in exile fearing for their lives under the military regime that lasted until 1985.
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