Two Years of Military Rule in Brazil
Brazil enters its third year of military rule on March 31, a date which marks the anniversary of the three-day revolt by military and civilian leaders that ousted the government of President Joao Goulart in 1964. The military regime that assumed power after Goulart's overthrow was to be a transitional government; President Humberto Castelo Branco, a former general and Army chief of staff, was to step down in favor of an elected successor at the end of January 1966.
The presidential election scheduled for last October, however, was postponed for a year on the ground that the revolutionary regime needed a longer period in which to achieve its goals and ensure continuation of its policies. Now some elements of the officer corps —disgruntled by the defeat of government candidates in state elections held three months ago —are urging a further postponement in the return of Brazil's national government to civilian control.
Government's Efforts to Steer Moderate Course
If the 1966 presidential election is put off again, it will be a setback for President Castelo Branco's attempt to follow a moderate course toward resumption of democratic, constitutional government. For the past two years Castelo Branco has resisted pressure from military “hard-liners” for more far-reaching military control of the government, just as he has often disregarded attacks on him by civilian politicians and students. All along, he has pressed Congress, dominated by a conservative oligarchy, for economic and political reforms that would benefit the masses of workers and peasants who were the principal supporters of ousted President Goulart.