Dark times – Isana Nunes Lima’s (CQC-AL/UFS) review of “Ditadura Militar no Brasil (1964-1985): brief introduction”, by João Paulo Barbosa.
Abstract: Ditadura Militar no Brasil (1964-1985) is a book that portrays the coup on March 31, 1964, American influence on the coup, military governments, the year 1968 and the Institutional Act No. 5, the “economic miracle”, the system of repression, torture and death, the dead and missing political figures, the Diretas Já movement, and the National Truth Commission. The book also addresses the propaganda of nationalism and culture as resistance, as well as indoctrination during the dictatorship. The book provides a comprehensive and detailed view of the military dictatorship in Brazil.
Keywords: Military Dictatorship in Brazil, Diretas Já, National Truth Commission.
In the book “Ditadura Militar no Brasil (1964-1985)”, João Paulo Barbosa presents a summarized version of a conflictual and troubled period in Brazilian history: the Military Dictatorship. The author addresses important issues for understanding not only the current situation, but also the practices adopted by the State that relate to Brazilian political, economic and social life in the periods from 1960 to 1980, as well as the reaction of those who opposed the regime.
João Paulo Barbosa holds a degree in Social Communication/Journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), a PhD in History from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) and a specialist in Philosophy and Sociology. His book presents a didactic analysis of the military dictatorship, making some notes that instigate us to reflect, among them that there was no radical installation of the left that justified the implantation of the dictatorship. Reading is ideal for students who want to briefly know some dilemmas of Brazilian society during the military dictatorship. The work presents a concise and cohesive language, bringing an excellent overview of the theme and contributing to the understanding of this remarkable moment in our history.
In chapter 1, “The coup of March 31, 1964”, Barbosa points out that Brazil had already been on the verge of a dictatorship since the last years of the Vargas period. In chapter 2, “The João Goulart Government”, the author highlights the suicide of Getúlio Vargas as a fact that postponed the coup, due to a national commotion. He mentions João Goulart’s diplomatic trip to China, citing Jango’s debt negotiation with the US and highlighting two institutions: the Brazilian Institute of Democratic Action (IBAD) and the Institute of Research and Social Studies (IPES), both funded by the United States against Jango. The author tells that Jango had “soured” relations with the US in previous moments and exposes the “background” of the coup, using the expression “civil-military dictatorship”, describing the phenomenon in which different layers of society acted together, contributing to the dictatorial outcome.
In chapter 3 entitled “American Influence in the Coup”, the author refers to the context of the Cold War and highlights Cuba’s alignment with the Soviet Union from 1961 onwards. In order to prevent the expansion of communism, the United States offered support to the countries in Latin America that intended to establish dictatorships. The author mentions the “Brother Sam” operation as a military and logistical structure planned in case President João Goulart resists the removal of power. Although the military denied the existence of the Brother Sam operation, the author contests this denial, citing the results of a survey conducted in 1976 by the American Phyllis Rackin.
In chapter 4, “Military Governments”, the author addresses the five rulers who acted during the military dictatorship and analyzes the institutional acts, starting with number 2, which restricted the formation of political parties. Then, he discusses the famous AI 5 and the “economic miracle” process, pointing out the negative consequences of these events, such as impediments to political openness, bomb attacks and the banning of political parties.
In chapter 5, entitled “The Hectic Year of 1968 and Institutional Act No. 5”, the author analyzes the year 1968 and AI 5. He explains the national and international context of that period and cites the book “1968 , the Year that Didn’t End”, by Zuenir Ventura. The author also addresses the social and political context of that year, explaining the “coup within the coup”, as AI 5 is known. an authoritarian executive regime.
In chapter 6, entitled “The economic miracle” and the “cursed inheritance”, the author addresses the period of high economic growth between 1968 and 1973, during the governments of Costa e Silva and Garrastazu Médici, and analyzes the arguments used by the dictatorship to justify this phenomenon. The author points out that economic stability was due, in part, to the favorable international scenario, with loans being granted to accelerate the economy, although the population did not benefit from these investments. The author criticizes the economic miracle and points out that the country faced extremely high levels of inflation during this period. In addition, the author mentions the bread and circuses policy, in which the government used boastful propaganda and sports achievements to distract the population.
In chapter 7, entitled “Ufanist propaganda and culture as resistance”, the author discusses the role of AI 5 and cites the book “1968, the year that did not end”, by Zuenir Ventura. The author points out that during AI 5 several films, plays, books, magazines and music were censored and that artists were tortured. The author mentions Geraldo Vandré as an example of an artist who suffered torture. The author also points out that from 1975 onwards, the state appropriated art to legitimize the dictatorial system and comments on agencies created to encourage culture.
In chapter 8, the author presents statistics on the victims of the military dictatorship. According to the author, 434 people were killed and around 20,000 people were tortured. The author does not cite sources other than the Truth Commission that corroborate these numbers.
In chapter 9, Barbosa describes the torture methods used by dictatorship agents, many of them medieval, and cites reliable sources, such as the reports of the National Truth Commission. In chapter 10, the author discusses the dead and disappeared, exposing cases of tortured and dead people, many of whom were never found by their relatives.
In chapter 11, entitled “Diretas Já”, Barbosa asks about the return of democracy and instigates the search for more research. He denies that the military have returned power to the people, stating that it was the situation that imposed their return. The author also highlights resistance movements and the crucial role of Diretas Já in the redemocratization process.
In chapter 12, “Dictatorship and Indoctrination”, the author teases about the alienation of the Brazilian people during the dictatorship and criticizes the revocation of professorship freedom for those who did not adhere to the state of exception. He also criticizes the indoctrination that still runs through Brazil today, defending a democratic environment open to dialogue.
In chapter 13, Barbosa talks about the National Truth Commission (CNV), exposing its investigative powers and remembering that criminal prosecution was outside its powers. The author argues that people should seek information in the archives secured by the CNV, defending democracy.
After completing the analytical summary of the work, it is important to present an appreciation of its benefits and imperfections.
The book presents problems in chapter 1, where the author states that Brazil had already been on the verge of a dictatorship since the last years of the Vargas period, but does not clarify the facts, which can lead to confusion in the mind of those who read it, especially because Getúlio’s government was also a dictatorship. In addition, in chapter 2, he highlights João Goulart’s diplomatic trip to China, citing Jango’s debt negotiation with the US. The author, however, does not report the motivation for these debts, nor does he talk about other institutional acts and what their implications were. This absence will force the reader to do research to understand the facts, since they meant the suppression of rights.
In chapters 3 and 4, the author also presents censorship bodies superficially, not explaining the function of each one of them. It is deduced, however, that for a book intended for basic education students, understanding would be impaired. Even so, the author manages to be coherent in chapters 5, 6 and 7, in which he demonstrates the course of the dictatorship in its worst moment and explains that AI5 was one of the most intense moments of the dictatorship. In Chapter 8, the author does not cite other sources that support his statistical finding, but in Chapter 9 he gives a detailed description of torture strategies with good reasoning.
In chapter 10, the author only presents the most relevant cases of the victims of the dictatorship, without going deep enough into his research. In chapter 11, he questions the return of democracy and encourages further research, although the defense of the thesis on the role of the conjuncture is a positive point. In chapter 12, the author defends a democratic environment open to dialogue, and points out that the dictatorship brought a negative balance, but does not substantiate these statements. In chapter 13, he argues that people should seek information in the archives held by the CNV, but he does not cite any source or institution in support of this advice.
By analyzing all the chapters, it is possible to conclude that the author presents relevant affirmations for the understanding of the phenomenon, however, in many passages, his research is superficial.
Sumary de Ditadura Militar no Brasil (1964-1985)
- O golpe de 31 de março de 1964
- O governo de João Goulart
- Influência americana no Golpe
- Governos Militares
- O agitado ano de 1968 e o ato institucional N°5
- O “milagre econômico” E a herança Maldita.
- Propaganda Ufanista e cultura como resistência.
- O sistema de repressão, tortura e Morte.
- Métodos de tortura física empregados
- Mortos e desaparecidos políticos
- Diretas Já
- Ditadura e doutrinação
- Comissão Nacional da verdade
To broaden your literature review
See book reviews on
- Combate à Ditadura
- Ditadura | Ditadura Argentina | Ditadura civil-militar | Ditadura franquista | Ditadura militar | Ditaduras | Ditaduras Militares
- História da Ditadura | História da Ditadura e da Abertura no Brasil | História da Ditadura Militar
- Golpe | Golpe Civil-Militar | Golpe de 1964 | Golpe de 2016 | Golpe de Estado | Golpe midiático-civil-militar | Golpe militar | Golpe Militar de 1964
- Memória da ditadura | Memória e ditadura
- Oposição à Ditadura
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- Ditadura | Ditadura Brasileira | Ditadura Militar | Ditaduras | Ditaduras Civis-Militares | Ditaduras Ibéricas | Ditaduras militares
Isana Nunes Lima dos Santos – Professora do Colégio Quintella Cavalcanti-AL e aluna do Mestrado em Ensino de História (ProfHistória) da Universidade Federal de Sergipe (UFS). ID LATTES: http://lattes.cnpq.br/0894381449368861 ; ID ORCID: orcid.org/https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4955-7980. E-mail: [email protected].
To cite this review
BARBOSA, João Paulo. Ditadura Militar no Brasil (1964-1985): Breve Introdução”. Rio de Janeiro: ECO, 2021. 70p. Resenha de: LIMA, Isana Nunes. Tempos sombrios. Crítica Historiográfica. Natal, v.3, n.10, mar./abr., 2023. Disponível em <https://www.criticahistoriografica.com.br/um-olhar-sobre-a-ditadura-civil-militar-brasileira-resenha-de-ditadura-militar-no-brasil-1964-1985-breve-introducao-de-joao-paulo-barbosa/>. DOI: 10.29327/254374.3.10-8
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