Fernando Henrique Cardoso: Reinventing Democracy in Brazil

By Ted G. Goertzel | Go to book overview

on the fashionable southern zone of Rio de Janeiro near the beach. Fernando Henrique says he was raised by his grandmother, to whom he graciously attributes his cordiality and good manners. 1 His sister, Gilda, born a year later, says “my grandmother adored him, because he was a child with a very pleasant disposition and he knew how to make himself loved. He was much admired, most of all by my father's family. ” 2 Fernando Henrique never knew his mother's parents, who lived in Amazonas.

Being born on a “catapult to power” might also mean being born into a political family, surrounded by adults who lived and breathed politics. Cardoso readily acknowledges that the fact that the men in his family have been national leaders “since the days of the empire” may have given him an advantage in developing his political skills. At the same time, he quickly observes that many people without a similar family background are equally able to exercise leadership. His wife also accepts the possibility that Fernando Henrique may have benefited from being raised in a political family, just as a child raised in a musical family may be given a boost toward a musical career. But she also observes that many children choose not to follow in their parents' footsteps and cites Fernando Henrique's younger brother, who took no interest in politics.

Fernando Henrique Cardoso was the son and grandson of generals, yet he chose not to go into the military. He opposed the 1964 military coup d'état and devoted his political career to a struggle for civilian democracy and social reform. One might guess that he was rebelling against his family by turning against militarism, but that was not the case. His father, Leônidas Fernandes Cardoso, also opposed the coup d'état and had no desire for his son to go into the military. Leônidas was born in 1889 in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná, the son of a general with strong political connections. His father, General Manuel Joaquim Inácio Batista Cardoso, had supported legalist forces against a naval uprising in 1893, from which he developed close ties to President Floriano Peixoto. He also participated in a nationalist military uprising in 1922. Leônidas's brother, General Felicíssimo Cardoso, was a leader of the nationalist current in the Brazilian Army. So it was natural that Leônidas would enlist in the army at age fifteen. He later enrolled in the School of War in Porto Alegre to begin a career as an officer. He attained the rank of second lieutenant in 1910 at age twenty-one. 3

But Leônidas was not satisfied with a military career. He, like his son after him, aspired to be a writer and began to write articles for small magazines and journals. Eventually, he was published in leading newspapers such as the Correo da Manhã, O País, Gazeta de Notícias, and

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Fernando Henrique Cardoso: Reinventing Democracy in Brazil
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Fernando Henrique Cardoso *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xii
  • Chapter 1 - Born on a Catapult to Power, 1931–1964 1
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 2 - Exile, 1964–1968 35
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 3 - From Professor to Senator, 1969–1982 51
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 4 - Senator of the Republic, 1983–1992 81
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 5 - Taming Inflation and Winning the Presidency,1992–1994 101
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 6 - The Intellectual in Power,1994–1998 125
  • Notes 175
  • Chapter 7 - Cardoso as an Applied Social Scientist 177
  • Notes *
  • Epilogue 191
  • Notes *
  • Selected Bibliography 201
  • Index 215
  • About the Book 220
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