The story

Military Governments in Brazil (continued)


Geisel Government (1974-1979)

In 1974, General Ernesto Geisel assumed the presidency, which began a slow process of transition towards democracy. His government coincides with the end of the economic miracle and popular dissatisfaction at high rates. The oil crisis and the global recession are interfering with the Brazilian economy, as international credit and loans decline.

Geisel announces the slow, gradual and secure political opening. Political opposition is beginning to gain ground. In the 1974 elections, the MDB wins 59% of the votes for the Senate, 48% of the House of Representatives and wins the mayor of most major cities.

The hardline military, unhappy with the Geisel administration's paths, is beginning to carry out clandestine attacks on members of the left. In 1975, journalist Vladimir Herzog was murdered on DOI-Codi premises in Sao Paulo. In January 1976, the worker Manuel Fiel Filho appears dead in a similar situation.

In 1978, Geisel ends the AI-5, restores habeas corpus and paves the way for the return of democracy in Brazil.

Figueiredo Government (1979-1985)

The MDB victory in the 1978 elections begins to accelerate the process of redemocratization. General João Baptista Figueiredo decrees the Amnesty Law, granting the right of return to Brazil to politicians, artists and other Brazilians exiled and convicted of political crimes. The hardline military continues the clandestine crackdown. Letters bombs are placed in the press and the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB). On April 30, 1981, a bomb explodes during a concert at the Rio Centro Convention Center. The attack was probably promoted by hardliners, although to date nothing has been proven.

In 1979, the government passed a law that reinstates pluripartism in the country. The parties function again within normal limits. ARENA changes its name to PDS, while MDB becomes PMDB. Other parties are created, such as: Workers Party (PT) and the Democratic Labor Party (PDT).

Redemocratization and the Direct Campaign Already

In the last years of military rule, Brazil has several problems. Inflation is high and recession is high. Meanwhile the opposition gains ground with the emergence of new parties and the strengthening of unions.

In 1984, opposition politicians, artists, soccer players and millions of Brazilians joined the Diretas Já movement. The movement favored the approval of the Dante de Oliveira Amendment that would guarantee direct elections for president that year. To the people's disappointment, the amendment was not approved by the House of Representatives.

On January 15, 1985, the Electoral College would choose Congressman Tancredo Neves, who ran against Paulo Maluf, as the new president of the Republic. He was part of the Democratic Alliance - the opposition group formed by the PMDB and the Liberal Front.

It was the end of the military regime. But Tancredo Neves gets sick before taking over and ends up dying. Assumes Vice President Jose Sarney. In 1988 a new constitution was approved for Brazil. The 1988 Constitution erased the traces of the military dictatorship and established democratic principles in the country.