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João Belchior Marques Goulart (March 1, 1919 — December 6, 1976) was a Brazilian politician and the 24th President of Brazil until a military coup d'état deposed him on April 1, 1964. He is considered to have been the last left-wing President of the country until Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office in 2003.
João Goulart is nicknamed "Jango". The Jânio Quadros–João Goulart presidential bid was thus called "Jan-Jan", an amalgamation of Jânio and Jango.
His childhood nickname was "Janguinho" (little Jango), which came from an uncle named Jango. Years later, when he entered the world of politics, supported and advised by Getúlio Vargas, his friends and colleagues started to call him Jango.
His grandfather, Belchior Rodrigues Goulart, descended from Azorean immigrants who arrived at Rio Grande do Sul in the second half of the 18th century. In the group of first Azoreans established in the state there were at least three immigrants with the surname Govaert (latter adapted to Goulart or Gularte in Portuguese) of Flemish-Azorean origin.
João Belchior Marques Goulart was born at Yguariaçá Farm, in the district (now town) of Itacurubi, São Borja, Rio Grande do Sul on March 1, 1919. His parents were Vicente Rodrigues Goulart, an estancieiro (a rancher owner of large rural properties) and colonel of the National Guard on the 1932 Revolution on the field of Governor Borges de Medeiros, and Vicentina Marques Goulart, a housewife. Most sources indicates his birth year as 1918, but is actually 1919. This happens because his father ordered a second birth certificate in which he added one year to his son's age so Jango could attend the Law School at Rio Grande do Sul Federal University.
When Jango was born, the Yguariaçá Farm was an isolated location on the municipality of São Borja. His mother Vicentina, therefore, had no medical care during childbirth. She had, however, the pivotal aid of her mother Maria Thomaz Vasquez Marques, which prevented the occurrence of a misfortune in the family. According to Jango's sister Yolanda, "my grandmother was the one able to revive little Jango which, at birth, already looked like dying". Like most Azorean descendants, Maria Thomaz was a devout Catholic. While trying to revive the grandson, warming him, she prayed to John the Baptist. She promised the saint that if the newborn boy survived he would be named after him and would not have his hair cut until the age of 3, when he would follow the Procession of June 24 dressed as the saint.
Jango grew up as a skinny boy in Yguariaçá, alongside his five sisters: Eufrides, Maria, Yolanda, Cila, and Neuza. Both his brothers died prematurely: Rivadávia (b. 1920), died six months after birth, and Ivan (b. 1925), to whom he was deeply attached, died of leukemia at 33.
Jango leaving to the nearby town of Itaqui to study, resulted from the decision of his father Vicente to form a partnership with Protásio Vargas, brother of Getúlio, after both leased a small refrigerator house in that town from an English businessman. While Vicente ran the business for the following couple of years, Jango attended the School of the Teresian Sisters, along with his sisters. But although it was a mixed-sex school during the day, he could not stay the night at the boarding school with his sisters. He would have to sleep at the house of a friend of his father. It was in Itaqui that Jango developed a taste for both soccer and swimming.
Upon his return to São Borja, ending his experience as a partner in the refrigerator house, Vicente decided to send Jango to attend the Ginásio Santana, run by Marist Brothers in Uruguaiana. Jango studied from the first to the fourth grade in the Santana boarding school, but failed to be approved for the fifth grade on later 1931. Angry with his son's poor achievements at school, Vicente decided to send him to attend the Colégio Anchieta in Porto Alegre. In the state capital, Jango lived at a pension with his friends Almir Palmeiro and Abadé dos Santos Ayub, the latter very attached to him.
Aware of Jango's exceptional skills in soccer at school, where he played in the right back position, Almir and Abadé convinced him to do a test for Sport Club Internacional. Jango was then selected for the club's juvenile team. In 1932, he became a juvenile state champion. That same year he concluded the third grade of then ginásio (high school) on Colégio Anchieta, with an irregular academic achievement, what would repeat when he attended the Law School at Rio Grande do Sul Federal University. Sent back to Uruguaiana, Jango graduated on high school on Ginásio Santana.
Sent back to Porto Alegre after graduating on high school, Jango attended the Law School, to satisfy his father's will, which desired to see his son with a higher education degree. There he restored contact with youth friends Abadé Ayub, and Salvador Arísio, and secured new friendships, making his first excursions in the state capital's nightlife. It was during that time of an intense bohemian lifestyle that Jango acquired a venereal disease which paralyzed his left knee almost entirely. His family paid for expensive medical treatment, including a trip to São Paulo, but he lost his expectations to walk normally again. Because of the paralysis on the knee, Jango graduated separately from the rest of his class on 1939. He would never really act as a lawyer.
Soon after, Jango returned to São Borja. His depression because of the leg problem was visible. He isolated himself from the rest of the city at Yguariaçá Farm. According to his sister Yolanda, his depression would not last long. In early 1940s he decided to make fun of his own walking disability in the Carnival, participating on the parade of the block Comigo Ninguém Pode (With me no one can).
Beginning at PTB
Vicente died in 1943, leaving his older son the responsibility of taking care of his rural properties. Jango soon became one of the most influential estancieiros of the region. Upon the resignation of President Getúlio Vargas and his return to São Borja in October 1945, Jango already a wealthy man before his 30s. He did not need to enter politics to rise socially, but the frequent meetings with Vargas, a close friend of his father, were decisive in Jango's decision to pursue a public life.
The first invitation Jango received to enter a political party was by Protásio Vargas, Getúlio's brother, which was in charge of organizing the Social Democratic Party (Partido Social Democrático - PSD) in São Borja. Protásio realized that Jango could succeed in the world of politics, but Jango declined. Months later, however, he accepted Getúlio's invitation to join the Brazilian Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro - PTB). He was the first president of local PTB, and would later become statewide and nationwide president of the party.
In 1947, Getúlio convinced Jango to run for a seat in the State Assembly. He was elected with 4,150 votes, becoming the fifth top voted of 23 deputies, ahead his future brother-in-law Leonel Brizola (which was married to his siter Neusa until her death in 1993), another rising star of PTB. He was not an active member of the Assembly, but fought for the needy to have a way of buying cheaper food. He soon became a confidant and political protégée of Vargas, becoming one of the party members to most insistently require him to launch a presidential candidacy for the 1950 elections. On April 19, 1949, Jango launched Getúlio's candidacy for President at a birthday party held for the former President at Granja São Vicente, owned by Goulart.
In 1950, Goulart was elected for the Chamber of Deputies. He achieved 39,832 votes, becoming the second top voted candidate of PTB on Rio Grande do Sul. Jango took office as a Federal Deputy on February 1951, but soon asked for temporary resignation from his term to become Secretary of the Interior and Justice in the administration of Rio Grande do Sul Governor Ernesto Dornelles. During the period in which he was a Secretary, which lasted until March 24, 1952, Jango engaged in restructuring the prison system, intending to improve life conditions of prisoners. He later resigned his job as Secretary, at the request of Vargas, in order to help the President with a political deadlock at the Ministry of Labor, using his major influence on the labor union movement.
Minister of Labor
In 1953, after an aggravation of the deadlock, Vargas appointed Jango as the Minister of Labor. The Vargas administration was in a deep crisis: the workers, unsatisfied with the low wages, were promoting strikes, and the right-wing party National Democratic Union (União Democrática Nacional - UDN) was mobilizing a coup d'état among the mass media, the upper middle class and the Military forces. As he took office, Jango had to reply accusations from several newspapers, including the New York Times. As Minister of Labor, Goulart held the 1st Brazilian Congress of Social Security. He signed a series of decrees favoring the social security, such as financing housing, regulation of loans by the Institute of Retirement and Pensions of Bank Employees (Instituto de Aposentadoria e Pensões dos Bancários - IAPB), and recognizing the employees of the Audit Committee of the Institute of Retirement and Pensions of Industry Employees (Conselho Fiscal do Instituto de Aposentadoria e Pensões dos Industriários).
In January 1954, Jango began studies for the review of the minimum wage, facing two types of pressure: the mobilization of workers in great cities to claim for a readjustment of 100%, what would rise the wage from Cr$ 1,200.00 to Cr$ 2,400.00, and, on the other hand, the rejection of entrepreneurs to the policy of reviewing the wage since the Eurico Gaspar Dutra administration, which contributed for the impoverishment of several segments of the Brazilian society. The business community said it would agree with a 42% raise on the minimum wage, a measure that, according to them, would match the cost of living in 1951. On May Day, Vargas signed into law the new minimum wage, increased 100% as demanded by the working class.
Jango resigned as Minister of Labor on February 1954, passing the job to his legal substitute Hugo de Faria, and resumed his term as Federal Deputy. Among the reasons for his resignation was the strong reaction of the mass media and the Military forces against the new minimum wage.
The political crisis of the Vargas administration deepened after one of his bodyguards was involved in an assassination attempt against UDN leader Carlos Lacerda on August 5, 1954. Vargas was put under pressure by the media, which demanded his resignation. The pro-coup movement at the Military was public. On August 24, 1954, at 1 a.m., Vargas called Jango on Catete Palace and handed him a document to be read only after he got on Rio Grande do Sul. It was his suicide letter.
After Vargas' suicide, Jango thought about leaving politics forever. However, at the President's burial on August 26, 1954 he seemed to have given up the idea, declaring that "we, within the law and order, we'll know how to fight with patriotism and dignity, inspired by the example that you [Vargas] left us".
In October 1954, there were elections for the Federal Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, state governments, and State Assemblies. The second half of the year started off with uncertainties for PTB and its allies. Emotionally and politically shaken by attacks made by Vargas' rivals, Jango departs from political activities for a few weeks. He only returns after a series of meeting with the PTB leaders in Rio Grande do Sul. Upon the end of such meetings it was decided that Jango would run for the Senate. However, both Jango and fellow PTB leader Ruy Ramos (two seats were being contested) were defeated on the dispute. PTB also lost the gubernatorial election in Rio Grande do Sul, although it was able to elect a large number of deputies in both State Assembly and Chamber of Deputies.
On November 1954, PTB and PSD began to discuss an electoral coalition for the 1955 elections. Governor of Minas Gerais, Juscelino Kubitschek, is PSD's big bet for the Presidency of the Republic. On November 7, Kubitschek gave an interview suggesting a coalition between the two parties. His candidacy was approved by the Minas Gerais branch of the party as soon as November ended. Then began the discussions for whom would run as his Vice Presidential candidate. After troubled negotiations, it was chosen the name he had initially proposed: João Goulart. The PSD National Convention was carried on February 10, 1955, with the confirmation of Kubitschek as the party's presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, Vargas' Vice President, Café Filho formed a government with several UDN Ministers, which impeded governance, and proved himself uncommitted with the latter President's government plans. Juarez Távora, his Chief of Military Staff threatened, on December 1954, to veto Jango as a Vice Presidential candidate. In April 1955, the National Directory of PSD accepted the nomination of Jango and, on the same month, the alliance was approved by the PTB National Convention. The candidacy was ready, if not for new vetos to Jango in the Military and alongside dissidents leaders of PSD.
After the PTB National Convention, a letter from Brazilian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Brasileiro - PCB) leader Luiz Carlos Prestes to Jango was published on the press. On the letter, Prestes suggested that PTB and PCB could work together for the benefit of the Brazilian population. That was enough to intensify the actions of coup plotters. In addition to the smear campaign run by Carlos Lacerda on his newspaper Tribuna da Imprensa and the usual plotting inside the Military, April ended with a statement by former President Dutra on O Globo that he personally opposed Jango's candidacy. From the institutional point of view, the crisis did not have major repercussions and PSD, even with the dissidence of the party in Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Pernambuco, ratified its support to João Goulart as running mate of Juscelino Kubitschek in a convention in June.
In 1956, Goulart was elected Vice President, as the running mate of President Juscelino Kubitschek. Goulart was again elected Vice President in 1960. This time, however, the president was Jânio Quadros, a member of a different party. (At the time, Brazilians could vote for a ticket that had candidates for president and vice president from different parties.) Quadros resigned in 1961. According to some chroniclers, this was an attempt to promote a self-coup. After this alleged coup failed, Goulart assumed the presidency after a ten-day-long crisis.
The Goulart administration
Congress was reluctant to give Goulart the mandate because of military opposition to his left-wing tendencies, because he was the political heir of Getúlio Vargas and advanced nationalist policies and not integration with the capitalist block.
A compromise was agreed upon thanks to Leonel Brizola and the "cadeia de legalidade" (chain of legality), and Goulart was able to take the presidency, but with the limited powers of a prime minister, under a parliamentary system of government.
During this period Goulart chose the three year plan as the economic plan of his government under the advisement of Celso Furtado, his Minister of Planning. In order to strengthen the energy sector and to foster Brazilian development, Eletrobrás - Latin America's largest power utility company - was created in 1962.
As part of the compromise reached that chose parliamentarism, a plebiscite was set for 1963. Parliamentarism was overwhelmingly rejected in plebiscite in 1963 and Goulart gained presidential powers.
Politically it was marked by the government's closer ties to center-left political groups, and conflict with more conservative sectors of the society, specifically the National Democratic Union (Brazil).
Goulart also led Brazil in the drive for a nuclear-free Latin America, providing the impetus for the Five Presidents' Declaration and the Treaty of Tlatelolc. Brazil's leadership on nuclear disarmament was a casualty of the military coup, and Mexico eventually stepped in to continue to drive for a nuclear-free region.
The main reasons for Jango's deposal was his Basic Reforms plan (Reformas de Base), a group of social and economic measures of nationalist character that predicted a greater state intervention in the economy. Among them were:
- Education reform: it aimed to combat adult illiteracy with the multiplication of the pioneer experiences of Paulo Freire and his method. The government also proposed to hold a university reform and prohibited the operation of private schools. It was imposed that 15% of the income produced in Brazil would be directed to education.
- Tax reform: control of profits transfer by multinational companies with headquarters abroad; the profit should be reinvested in Brazil. The income tax would be proportional to personal profit.
- Electoral reform: extension of voting rights to illiterates and low-ranking military officers.
- Land reform: properties larger than 600 hectares would be expropriated and redistributed to the population by the government. At that time, the agricultural population was larger than the urban.
- Urban reform: it was stipulated that people which could own olny a single house. Those which had more than one urban property would have to donated it or sell at low prices.
The military coup
On the night of March 31, 1964, a military-led coup overthrew Goulart. The coup installed successive right-wing hardliners as heads of state who suspended civil rights and liberties of the Brazilian people. They abolished all political parties and replaced them with only two, the military government's party called the National Renewal Alliance Party (Aliança Renovadora Nacional - ARENA) and the consented opposition Brazilian Democratic Movement (Movimento Democrático Brasileiro - MDB). However, MDB had no real power, and the military rule was marked by widespread disappearance, torture, and exile of many politicians, university students, writers, singers, painters, filmmakers and other artists.
In the first of hours of March 31, 1964, General Olímpio Mourão Filho, in charge of the 4th Military Region, headquartered in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, ordered his troops to start moving towards Rio de Janeiro, to depose Goulart.
On April 1, at 12:45PM, João Goulart left Rio for the capital, Brasília, in an attempt to stop the coup politically.
When he reached Brasília, Goulart realized he lacked any political support. The Senate president, Auro Moura Andrade, was already articulating for congressional support of the coup. Goulart stayed for a short time in Brasília, gathering his wife and two children, and flying to Porto Alegre in an Air Force Avro 748 aircraft. Soon after Goulart's plane took off, Auro Moura Andrade declared the position of President of Brazil "vacant".
In the first hours of April 2, Auro Moura de Andrade, along with the president of the Supreme Federal Court swore in Pascoal Ranieri Mazzilli, the speaker of the house, as president. This move was arguably unconstitutional at the time, as João Goulart was still in the country.
At the same time, Goulart, now in the headquarters of the 3rd Army in Porto Alegre, (still loyal to him at the time) contemplated resistance and counter-moves with Leonel Brizola, who argued for armed resistance. In the morning, General Floriano Machado informed the president that troops loyal to the coup were moving from Curitiba to Porto Alegre, and that he had to leave the country, risking arrest otherwise. At 11:45AM, Goulart boarded a Douglas C-47 transport for his farm bordering Uruguay. Goulart would stay in his farms lands, until April 4, when he finally boarded the plane for the last time, heading for Montevideo.
Life in exile
On March 4, 1964, Jango and his family landed in Uruguay seeking political asylum. After his first years in Montevidéu, he bought a farm in the Uruguay-Brazil border, where he devoted himself to cattle. On 1966 he took part in Frente Ampla (Broad Front) political movement, which aimed to fight for the full restoration of democratic rule in Brazil through peaceful means. The end of Frente Ampla also resulted in the end of Jango's political activity. He decided to focus in managing his farms located in Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.
On late 1973, then Argentine President Juan Domingo Perón invited Jango to live in Buenos Aires and asked him to elaborate a plan to expand Argentine meat exports to Europe and other markets which would not traditionally buy the Argentine commodity. However, Perón's then Minister of Social Welfare and private secretary José Lopez Rega opposed to the designation. Nevertheless, Jango decided to stay in Buenos Aires.
On March 1976, the Argentine Army dismantled in the town of La Plata, a group of right-wing terrorists which planned to kidnap Jango's son and demand a high ransom in cash. With his personal security compromised, the former president distanced himself from Buenos Aires. This experience led Jango to route the new steps of his safe return to Brazil. This was, however, delayed because of the proximity of the electoral campaign in November of that year.
João Goulart died in his farm La Villa, in the Argentine municipality of Mercedes, on December 6, 1976 of an alleged heart attack. Since Goulart's body was not submitted to an autopsy, his real cause of death is unknown. He was buried in his native. Around 30,000 people attended his funeral service, which was censored from press coverage by the military dictatorship.
On April 26, 2000, former governor of Rio Grande do Sul and Rio de Janeiro, Leonel Brizola, said that former presidents João Goulart and Juscelino Kubitschek were allegedly assassinated in the frame of Operation Condor and requested the opening of investigations on their death. They died allegedly of a heart attack and a car accident, respectively.
On January 27, 2008, the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo printed a story with a statement of Mario Neira Barreiro, a former member of the intelligence service of Uruguay's dictatorship, declaring that Goulart was poisoned, endorsing Brizola's suspicions. The order to assassinate Goulart, according to him, came from Sérgio Fleury, head of the Departamento de Ordem Política e Social (Department of Political and Social Order) and the licence to kill came from the president Ernesto Geisel.
The intimacy with poor people, specially Afro-Brazilians, was a normal behavior for the young Jango. The main leader of his Carnival block Comigo Ninguém Pode, mãe-de-santo Jorgina Vieira, declared in an interview to the newspaper Zero Hora that Jango was one of the few white boys of São Borja to be a member of the block. In a particular Carnival celebration in the 1940s, he broke the high society rules and led the block inside the aristocratic Clube Comercial, which would not allow blacks in their halls until the late 1960s.
Like many other progressive politicians of the Cold War era, Jango was more than once accused of being a communist. As a response to Carlos Lacerda, his most frequent accuser, he cited politicians also supported by the Brazilian Communist Party which the latter would not criticize. In an interview to the newspaper O Jornal, Jango declared: "regarding the communists, they have supported indistinctly candidates of several political affiliations, conservatives or populists. I do not wish to distinguish such support, but I will only allow myself this question: is perhaps Colonel Virgilio Tavora communist, just because, ostensibly, he accepts the support of communists in Ceará? How to say that the illustrious patriot of UDN Milton Campos is communist, for accepting, as he did in Minas, the same votes requested by Mr. Afonso Arinos here in Rio?".
Tributes and amnesty
In 1984, exactly twenty years after the coup, filmmaker Sílvio Tendler directed a documentary rebuilding Jango's political career through archive footage and interviews with influential politicians. Jango brought over half a million people to the movies theaters, becoming the sixth largest grossing documentary of Brazil. It was also critically acclaimed, receiving three awards at the Gramado Film Festival and one at the Havana Film Festival, beside the Silver Daisy, given by the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil - CNBB).
There are at least ten schools all over Brazil named after João Goulart, according to Google Maps. Most of them are located on Rio Grande do Sul, on the municipalities of Alvorada, Ijuí, Novo Hamburgo, Porto Alegre, Viamão, and Jango's native São Borja. There are three schools named after Jango in Rio de Janeiro and in Balneário Camboriú, Santa Catarina. Also in Balneário Camboriú it was inaugurated, on December 6, 2007, exactly thirty-one years after the death of the President, a monument of Jango sitting in a bench of the Avenida Atlântica (in front to the Atlantic Ocean) with his two children. It was designed by artist Jorge Schroder upon the request of mayor Rubens Spernau.
On June 28, 2008, it was inaugurated the Avenida Presidente João Goulart (President João Goulart Avenue) in Osasco, São Paulo. The boulevard is about 760 meters long and is the first of the city with a bicycle path. Other cities, like Canoas, Caxias do Sul, Cuiabá, Lages, Pelotas, Porto Alegre, Porto Velho, Ribeirão Preto, Rio de Janeiro, Rondonópolis, São Borja, São Leopoldo, São Paulo, and Sobral already have roads honoring Jango, according to Google Maps.
On November 15, 2008, Jango and his widow Maria Teresa received political amnesty from the Federal Government at the 20th National Congress of Lawyers in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte. The former First Lady will receive a restitution of R$ 644,000 (around US$ 322,000) to be paid in pensions of R$ 5,425 (around US$ 2,712) per month for Jango being restrained from practicing his job as a lawyer. She will also receive a restitution of R$ 100,000 (around US$ 50,000) for the 15 years in which her family was forbidden to return to Brazil.
||It will never be enough emphasize the heroic role of Jango to the Brazilian people, once he represents as fews the ideal of a fairer, more egalitarian, and more democratic Brazil. (...) The government recognizes its mistakes of the past and apologizes to a man that defended the nation and its people of whom we could have not prescinded.
- ^ Morton, David. "Looking at Lula: Brazil's Amazon deforestation worsens--despite a "Green" president", E Magazine, September 1, 2005.
- ^ Jango em 3 atos (first part). Documentary by João Vicente Goulart aired on TV Senado.
- ^ Hugh B. Stinson and James D. Cochrane, “The Movement for Regional Arms Control in Latin America,” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, Vol. 13, No. 1 (1971): 1-17.
- ^ Gaspari, Elio (2002). A Ditadura Envergonhada. São Paulo: Cia. das Letras. ISBN 8535902775.
- ^ Olímpio Mourão Filho Fundação Getúlio Vargas: Centro de Pesquisa e Documentação de História Contemporânea do Brasil. Retrieved on August 20, 2007.
- ^ Gaspari, Elio (2002). A Ditadura Envergonhada. São Paulo: Cia. das Letras. pp. 103. ISBN 8535902775.
- ^ Gaspari, Elio (2002). A Ditadura Envergonhada. São Paulo: Cia. das Letras. pp. 111. ISBN 8535902775.
- ^ Gaspari, Elio (2002). A Ditadura Envergonhada. São Paulo: Cia. das Letras. pp. 112. ISBN 8535902775.
- ^ Gaspari, Elio (2002). A Ditadura Envergonhada. São Paulo: Cia. das Letras. pp. 113. ISBN 8535902775.
- ^ Brasil examina su pasado represivo en la Operación Cóndor, El Mostrador, 11 May 2000
- ^ Operación Cóndor: presión de Brizola sobre la Argentina, El Clarín, 6 May 2000
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- ^ 
- ^ "Avenida Presidente João Goulart projeta Osasco para o futuro" (Portuguese), Osasco Agora, July 2, 2008.
- ^ Aquino, Yara. "Jango recebe anistia quase meio século depois de derrubado pela ditadura militar" (Portuguese), Agência Brasil, November 15, 2008.
- ^ Globo News, Evandro Éboli, and Agência Brasil. "Governo concede anistia política a João Goulart. Lula chama ex-presidente de herói" (Portuguese), O Globo, November 15, 2008.