Mission in Mufti: Brazil's Military Regimes, 1964-1985

Mission in Mufti: Brazil's Military Regimes, 1964-1985

Mission in Mufti: Brazil's Military Regimes, 1964-1985

Mission in Mufti: Brazil's Military Regimes, 1964-1985

Synopsis

This study focuses on the regimes which governed Brazil over the twenty-one year span ended in 1985. The book examines the organization and the record established by the military during that period, with attention also given to the ideologic tendencies and internal divisions within the military elite, considers what obstacles the regimes could not overcome, and where that resistance came from in each of the five regimes. Also included is a summarization and post-era assessment aided by the perspective afforded after several years' passage of time.

Excerpt

The powerful bias against military authoritarian governments seems one of the first points this study should recognize as something which is prevalent in the western industrialized world. In the broadest sense, I share such attitudes, which are perhaps nowhere more firmly established than in academic circles. Thus, it is not the intent of this study of Brazil's lengthy authoritarian period in the latter half of the present century to undertake to reverse that prejudice. However, out of my years of scrutiny, I find the Brazilian example quite unique, and unrepresentative of the many contemporary military regimes which were so numerous in Latin America during the 1970s. This study focuses on unique features of that ruling system, its policies and administrative mechanisms, issues and obstacles it faced, and in summation the evaluation of the degree of success it obtained in the "mission" undertaken.

In recognition of economic advances made in the last decades, Brazil has been designated as a "newly industrialized country," but in terms of political maturity, one ought to regard it as being still in transition toward democracy, if not even in suspended status. Transfer of ruling power to an indirectly elected, civilian-led government from an opposition political party can be seen as a significant step; yet there is reason to doubt the extent to which the military leadership has withdrawn to the barracks. Naturally, they resisted (unsuccessfully) the abolition of the former clause in the 1946 constitution granting them guarantor status of ruling authority during times of political crisis. Even so, military ministers enjoy favored prominence in the Sarney administration.

When the Sarney administration entered office, it was under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, politically, economically, and even spir-

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