See the movements that culminated in the 1964 coup – 03/27/2024 – Power

See the movements that culminated in the 1964 coup – 03/27/2024 – Power


The 1964 coup, which celebrates its 60th anniversary, involved a series of movements in light of the tension installed in the government of João Goulart (PTB) with the Armed Forces, which saw the then president’s actions for basic reforms as an escalation towards communist transformation. from the country.

The president, previously Minister of Labor under Getúlio Vargas, saw the deepening of the economic crisis in his government. Furthermore, there was a growing participation of civil society in movements across the country, and the opposition’s behavior made Jango’s governability difficult.

The moments leading up to the coup expose the height of this tension, with Jango’s fiery speeches, the beginning of a military mutiny and, given the then president’s inflexibility in appeasing the dissatisfaction of those in uniform, the loss of adherence to the current government of those who still remained. . Ultimately, on April 2, the Presidency of the Republic was declared vacant by the National Congress.

See what the movements were like in those days:

Night of March 30th

João Goulart met at Palácio das Laranjeiras, in Rio de Janeiro, with Tancredo Neves, then leader of the government in the Chamber of Deputies, and with Raul Ryff, Press Secretary of the Presidency. Both tried to persuade the president, without success, of the idea of ​​speaking to non-commissioned officers and sergeants of the Armed Forces at the Automóvel Clube hall, in Cinelândia.

At the event, Jango reaffirmed the need for basic reforms. He cited agrarian, tax and electoral reforms, the same ones addressed in a rally at Central do Brasil, also in Rio, on March 13th.

In the National Congress there were already movements for Jango’s ouster. Senator Ernâni do Amaral Peixoto, a former Navy officer, declared: “Jango is no longer the president of the Republic.”

Assessing the situation from a distance, the United States Department of State ordered all consulates in Brazil to report directly to Washington “any significant development involving Goulart’s military or political resistance.”

Dawn and morning of March 31

In the early hours of the morning, General Olympio Mourão Filho, head of the 4th Army, started an uprising leaving Juiz de Fora towards Rio, where Jango was.

In the morning, Mourão called on military and civilian personnel in at least three states in the country. The first to learn about the movement were deputy Armando Falcão, the governor of Guanabara, Carlos Lacerda, and the governor of Minas Gerais, Magalhães Pinto, as well as officers from the Armed Forces, with the Chief of Staff of the Army, Castello Branco.

The president was warned about the uprising at around 9am, but decided to stay at the palace. It will be nothing more than a “barrack”, said the commander of the São Paulo Army, Amaury Kruel, about the mutiny.

Assis Brasil, head of the Presidency’s military cabinet, activated a device to stop the mining movement, mobilizing two platoons to fight Mourão’s troops and closing Brasília airport.

Afternoon of March 31

Around midday, the US was discussing a possible sending of support to Mourão’s rebel troops. Lincoln Gordon, American ambassador to Brazil, reported to Washington that “it could be the last good opportunity to support action against Goulart’s group”.

In Rio, the riot generated a series of repercussions. Pro-coup officers from the Army’s Command and General Staff College invaded the Ministry of War building to protect Castello Branco.

The general, who would later become president, left the place in the company of Ernesto Geisel in an Army Police car, heading to an apartment on Avenida Atlântica. The Military Police invaded the editorial office of the newspaper Diário Carioca, and Dops agents closed the bank union.

In Belo Horizonte, police also raided unions and newspapers. A state deputy from PTB, Jango’s party, was arrested. In Juiz de Fora, all councilors from the party were arrested.

At around 5 pm, the Minas Gerais troops from the uprising against Jango arrived at the border with Rio. Following orders from General Mourão Filho, they were to remain there, awaiting support from the state Army. Otherwise, they would advance on Guanabara. At the same time, government troops headed towards Minas Gerais to contain the rebels.

Night of March 31st

In the United States, Operation Brother Sam was underway, which provided for a squadron to support the military in Brazil. The vessels included an aircraft carrier, a helicopter carrier, 110 tons of ammunition and four oil tankers with 553,000 barrels of fuel. As the resistance of Jango’s allies ended up being insignificant, the action did not reach the country’s coast.

Meanwhile, in Rio, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Pery Bevilacqua, handed Jango a document stating that it was possible to “reestablish the necessary trust” in the Armed Forces if he took steps such as ministerial changes and combating strikes.

This thesis is reinforced by former president Juscelino Kubitschek in a conversation with the president at around 6pm.

In Brasília, around 7 pm, American Colonel Vernon Walters, who had participated in the articulations against Goulart during his term, informed Washington that the coup in Brazil was in danger of not taking place due to a lack of support from the São Paulo Army. At that time, General Amaury Kruel, head of the Forces in São Paulo, was under pressure to join the coup.

He called Jango three times asking, like JK, for a break with the left and the overthrow of the Ministers of Justice, Abelardo Jurema, and the Minister of the Civil House, Darcy Ribeiro — both were identified as the most radical in the government.

Jango replied: “General, I don’t abandon my friends. If these are your conditions, I don’t examine them. I prefer to stay with my origins. You stay with your convictions. Put the troops on the streets and betray openly” .

At around 11pm, Kruel decided to join the military’s seizure of power. Governor Carlos Lacerda, with a machine gun in his hand, celebrated the general’s initiative.

Dawn and morning of April 1st

It was around midnight when the CGT (General Workers’ Command) ordered the start of a strike across the country, in support of Jango and in response to the arrests, which took place the day before, of several union leaders by the Guanabara Police.

During the night, Castello Branco changed hiding places three times, and Costa e Silva twice. The latter fired around a hundred calls and ordered three generals to raise the main units in Rio.

The newspaper Correio da Manhã published an editorial entitled “Out”, which said: “There is no other way out for Mr. João Goulart than to hand over the government to his legitimate successor”.

According to journalist Elio Gaspari in “The Embarrassed Dictatorship”, Luiz Carlos Prestes, who seemed calm the night before, kept 40 thousand Communist Party members on alert. For possible resistance, UNE (National Union of Students) called for mobilization in public events.

At the end of the morning, the then Minister of Finance, San Tiago Dantas, visited Jango at the palace and said he believed that the American State Department would support the coup military.

Afternoon of April 1st

In an attempt to ease tensions and reverse the consummation of the coup d’état, the then Minister of War, Jair Dantas Ribeiro, telephoned Jango asking for a break with the left. After Jango’s further refusal, Ribeiro left his role in the government.

It was around 12:15 pm that the president, advised by the commander of the 1st Army, Moraes Âncora, decided to go to Brasília, where he could organize some resistance.

Still in Rio, Âncora tried to negotiate with Costa e Silva a meeting with Kruel, head of the São Paulo troops, at Aman (Agulhas Negras Military Academy), in Resende, halfway between Rio and São Paulo, trying to reverse adherence to the coup .

At the academy, General Pery Bevilacqua, head of the Rio troops and previously in favor of Jango, joined the Army of Minas and São Paulo. Kruel suggested the name of General Costa e Silva to take over the Ministry of War.

At the end of the afternoon, Castello Branco appeared at the Copacabana fort, where he was honored as if he were the new minister, with a 24-gun salute from old cannons. As panic spread in the south of Rio, the volley was interrupted after the fifth shot.

Night of April 1st

At around 7pm, Lacerda, crying, spoke by phone to TV Rio: “Thank you, my God, thank you very much.” Meanwhile, in Brasília, the American ambassador to the country, Lincoln Gordon, announced to Washington that “the democratic revolt is 95% victorious.” The Soviet embassy burned papers for fear of being attacked.

At around 10:30 pm, Jango left Granja do Torto and went to Porto Alegre on a FAB (Brazilian Air Force) plane.

Dawn and morning of April 2nd

Around midnight, the president of Congress, Auro de Moura Andrade, exclaimed in an extraordinary session: “I declare the Presidency of the Republic vacant”. Then, the president of the Chamber, Ranieri Mazzilli, was sworn in as president, even with Jango still in national territory, which made the vacancy illegal, since the declaration was only provided for when traveling abroad without authorization from the Legislature.

The presidential plane with Jango and Assis Brasil landed in Porto Alegre during the early hours of the morning, and the president went to the house of the commander of the 3rd Army. He met with Leonel Brizola and, after learning a series of bad news, he burst into tears.

At around 5:30 am, General Floriano Machado warned Jango that he should leave the country if he did not want to be arrested. He then flew with Assis Brasil to the Rancho Grande farm, in São Borja (585 km from Porto Alegre), where his wife and children were. From there, the family traveled to a ranch on the banks of the Uruguay River.

From Washington, President Lyndon Johnson telegraphed Mazzilli with “warm best wishes.”

Afternoon of April 2nd

At around 1 pm, Jango, accompanied by Assis Brasil, requested asylum from the Uruguayan government and, two days later, left Brazilian territory.

In Brasília, Auro Moura de Andrade, president of Congress, met with the head of the American representation in the capital. From Washington, Undersecretary of State George Ball sent a message to Ambassador Lincoln Gordon congratulating him on his efforts during the consummation of the coup.


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