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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 01:53 GMT 02:53 UK
Brazil remembers 1964 coup d'etat
By Steve Kingstone
BBC correspondent in Sao Paulo

Brazil has been marking the 40th anniversary of a coup d'etat that ushered in 20 years of military rule.

President Joao Goulart was deposed without bloodshed on the night of 31 March 1964.

Four decades on, his widow was among those taking part in a series of sombre anniversary events.

The coup led to two decades of strict military rule, and Brazilians born during the 1960s and 1970s were brought up in a country heavy with censorship.

The school curriculum was tightly controlled by the military.

This was always going to be a low key anniversary, marked by seminars and television documentaries but not by the population as a whole.

In the capital Brasilia, 64-year-old Maria Teresa Goulart received tributes from law makers 40 years after her husband was forced from power.

The army officers who deposed President Joao Goulart suspected him of having communist sympathies.

Confronting the past

Human rights groups have been remembering the more than 300 people who disappeared or were killed during the dictatorship.

The governor of Sao Paulo said those illegally imprisoned by the state police would be compensated.

From the military, there has been a call to leave the past behind.

In a statement, the army's chief of staff insisted the country had already turned the page on dictatorship.

He said the events of 1964 should be viewed without resentment.

Most Brazilians do want to move on, 20 years after the restoration of democracy here.

But the national sentiment, if there is one, is that younger generations should learn about military rule so that history does not repeat itself.

Country profile: Brazil
24 Feb 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Brazil
11 Dec 03  |  Country profiles


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