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Emílio Garrastazu Médici

In office
October 30, 1969 – March 15, 1974
Vice President Augusto Rademaker
Preceded by Military Junta
Succeeded by Ernesto Geisel

Born December 4, 1905(1905-12-04)
Bagé, Rio Grande do Sul
Died October 9, 1985 (aged 79)
Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro
Nationality Brazilian
Political party National Renewal Alliance Party - ARENA

Emílio Garrastazu Médici, (Portuguese pronunciation: [eˈmilju ɡaʁastaˈzu ˈmɛdisi]; December 4, 1905 —October 9, 1985) was a Brazilian military leader and politician. His rightist rule from 1969 to 1974, marked the apex of military governments in Brazil.


Early life

Médici was born in Bagé, Rio Grande do Sul state, he was the son of a family of Basque and Italian descent, who were originally from Paysandú, Uruguay. In the 1920s he entered in the Army where he was steadily promoted, becoming general in 1961.

Médici was a close ally of Marshal Artur da Costa e Silva, who became president of Brazil in 1967. Also in this year Médici was appointed chief of the National Information Service (SNI).


Two years later he become commandant of the Third Army and was chosen to become president of Brazil by the Military High Command. Médici had his presidency confirmed by the electoral college formed by the National Congress,succeeding Gal. Costa e Silva, who had suffered a stroke. Médici took oath on October 30, 1969 and served until the end of his term, March 15, 1974.

During his tenure, Médici established a strong military government, the most repressive of Brazil's military regimes, accompanied by tortures and strict censorship of the press. During his rule an existing guerilla activity was defeated , led by Carlos Marighela and Carlos Lamarca. The movement was destroyed and Marighela and Lamarca killed.[1]

The Brazilian economy grew rapidly at a rate of 10% per year during his term. Large construction projects were undertaken, including the Transamazônica road, the Itaipu dam and Rio–Niterói bridge.

Nixon, Allende, and Castro

President Médici meeting with Richard Nixon in the White House.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon and Médici discussed coordinating efforts to help Cubans and Chileans overthrow Fidel Castro and Salvador Allende respectively.[2] National security advisor Henry Kissinger's account of the December 9, 1971, White House visit by Médici was written "for the president's file" and classified Top Secret. It was declassified on September 4, 2008, and made public in July as part of a State Department publication on U.S. foreign policy.[2]

Kissinger's memo shows it was Nixon who raised the subject of Allende during the meeting, asking for Médici's views on Chile: "Médici said Allende would be overthrown", [Nixon] then asked whether Médici thought that the Chilean armed forces were capable of overthrowing Allende Médici replied that he felt that they were and made clear that Brazil "was working towards this end."[2] The memo notes Nixon and Médici also discussed whether Cuba should have readmission to the Organization of American States. For his part, Médici noted that Peru was trying to persuade the OAS to consider readmitting Cuba and asked Nixon how they should cooperate to oppose the move. Nixon said he would study the issue and reply to Médici "privately." The OAS voted to lift sanctions on Cuba in 1974.[2]

See also


  1. ^ di Tella, Torcuato (2004). History of Political Parties in Twentieth-Century Latin America. New Brunswick, US: Transaction. p. 107.  
  2. ^ a b c d Memo: Nixon, Brazil Dictator Discussed Bid to Overthrow Castro, Allende by Juan O. Tamayo, The Miami Herald, August 18 2009
Political offices
Preceded by
Military Junta
President of Brazil
1969 – 1974
Succeeded by
Ernesto Geisel

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