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Sunday, May 15, 2016
Newsmax's Gizzi: Brazil Needs A Repression-Loving Dictator
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax Washington correspondent John Gizzi, apparently responding to the current turmoil in Brazil, tweeted: "Brazil needs Emilio Medici, president from 1969-74 whose reign was called 'years of lead & torture' again."

Well, that may be because that's exactly what it was.

History student Colin Snyder details how Medici was installed as president by a military junta, and while economic growth occurred under his regime, it was better known for repression and torture:

With the economic and athletic success, many Brazilians were blissfully unaware of just how brutal repression had become. Future-president Luís Inácio “Lula” da Silva, who in the early-1970s had just begun his career as a metalworker, later commented that, if there had been a popular and direct election in 1970, Médici would have won in a landslide. He also enjoyed close relations with the United States, drawing on his time spent there as a military attache. In 1971, he made an official state visit to the Nixon White House, where the two men discussed possible ways to overthrow democratically-elected Chilean president Salvador Allende. And to build up support, Médici relied on propaganda in new ways, spending millions of cruzeiros on advertising campaigns designed to drum up patriotic support for the regime through slogans such as “Brazil: Love it or leave it” (“Brasil, Ame-o ou deixe-o“). He finished his mandate in March 1974,  leaving office just as Brazil’s economy started to show subtle signs of weakness that would come to plague the country throughout the rest of the decade and into the 1980s and 1990s. As he left office, he enjoyed a massive amount of popularity, seen as the man who finally “stabilized” Brazil, even while many of the economic policies that had created the “miracle” preceded his administration.

While he was popular while serving as president, his popularity quickly faded away. The growing economic turmoil of the 1970s, which proved increasingly difficult to curb, led more and more people to question the policies of his administration. In the 1980s, the Catholic vicariate of São Paulo and Protestant ministers managed to secretly obtain thousands of classified documents that detailed the use of torture in Brazil during Médici’s government; the documents, ultimately compiled and published as Brasil: Nunca Mais (“Brazil: Never Again,” translated into English as Torture in Brazil) shocked millions of Brazilians who had been unaware of (or had chosen to ignore) the extensive use of torture in the 1970s. Though at the time people referred to the Médici years as the “economic miracle,” these years ultimately became known as the “Years of Lead,” due to the regime’s heavy repression.

The New York Times reported that "According to the Brazilian Amnesty Committee, 170 opponents were killed and many were tortured in army and police cells" under Medici's rule, adding: "For many Brazilians, the principal memory of the Medici years was the pervasive fear of being caught up without documents and vanishing during a police sweep."

Y'know, maybe Medici isn't the kind of guy Brazil needs after all. 


Posted by Terry K. at 6:01 PM EDT

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