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In 1964 the army and the technocrats seized power in Brazil. Forging an alliance with industrial and financial interests, this coalition has revitalized a sagging economy and made sweeping political changes. The authoritarian and efficient régime that has emerged is cheered by business and at least tacitly accepted by the middle classes prizing their greater economic security. A smaller number among the 90,000,000 Brazilians have deplored the destruction of democratic forms and the severe curbs on political and civil rights. But this opposition has hardly affected the evolution toward a new political-economic system.
Through ambitious reforms, the economists have restructured important sectors of business and finance. Their policies stimulated a remarkable recovery. In the early sixties, Brazil's economy had stopped growing. Although industrial production was down, inflation rates reached 70 percent per annum. Moreover, the foreign credit that was crucial to Brazil's development strategy dried up. Today, seven years after the military takeover, the inflation rate is below 20 percent and the problem is under control. The economy grows at a striking nine percent per year, exports show marked gains, foreign exchange reserves stand at over $1 billion, and foreign capital once again flows in. Before 1964 the country had achieved self-sufficiency in most durable consumer goods. In a bold three-year plan issued in late 1970, the economic managers contemplate for the near future the domestic manufacture of most capital goods, development of nuclear power, and a massive absorption of technology.
The military leaders have been active in redesigning other phases of national life. Weary of the "excesses" that developed under the prior democratic forms of government, they doubt that those forms can service Brazil's present needs and ambitions. The military has tried to impose upon political life the more austere standards and discipline of the barracks. In this process, a model for a long-term authoritarian régime-with some totalitarian trappings-is slowly emerging.
Hundreds of politicians have been stripped of rights to hold office or driven into exile. Elections have been either cancelled, turned into farces, or shorn of their significance. Congressional elections-the Congress was reconvened, with its powers further curbed, after having been dispatched for over a year-are between approved candidates of the government party (ARENA) and of the officially tolerated opposition party (MDB). Those held last November were preceded in most states by apathetic campaigns. Their results further diminished the status of the "opposition" party.
In 1960, 11,700,000 Brazilians voted in the presidential elections. In 1969, when it became necessary to find a replacement for ailing President (and General) Costa e Silva, an "election" was held where all candidates were generals and only generals could vote. It was feared that junior officers were too radical to be given the franchise. The military selected as President the then relatively unknown General Garrastazú Médici, former head of the SNI, Brazil's powerful political intelligence service.
The press has seen publishers who opposed the government harassed and even imprisoned, whole issues seized, and economic pressures exerted against offenders. It is cautious and subdued. Professors have been fired on political grounds without hearing or explanation. Civil rights have bowed to the imperatives of security and economic progress. The civilian and military police have employed torture against suspected enemies of the state.
No sustained and organized opposition to the rightward drift has emerged, though a relatively small number of Brazilians have publicly and explicitly criticized the régime's policies and tactics. Liberal churchmen such as Dom Helder Câmara, Bishop of Recife, have repeatedly denounced the régime's abusive treatment of its political opponents. At intervals there recurs in the press and elsewhere low-key advocacy for the restoration of democratic processes and civil rights, a theme which the MDB has itself advanced.
Brazil's tiny bands of urban guerrillas-ranging from doctrinaire Marxists to purged army officers and disaffected students-come closest to an organized opposition. Through spectacular kidnappings of foreign diplomats (notably U.S. Ambassador Burke Elbrick) to gain the release of "political prisoners" and through a wave of bank robberies to secure funds for their activities, the guerrillas have gained worldwide attention. But the tactics of violence have yielded few political results, except to intensify the repression and perhaps strengthen the support of the upper and middle classes for the régime.
The military have given assurances that the goal is "redemocratization." But one political scientist predicted that the army would rule Brazil for the next 30 years, and said wistfully: "All we can hope for now is a good general." The choices for those who cannot support the régime lie among apathetic acquiescence, discrete attempts to influence the military- political system, emigration or violent subversion.
Very few choose the last path; most simply turn to other pursuits. The growth of what could be called a soccer cult, culminating in the national euphoria following Brazil's World Cup victory, has served as a substitute for politics. Soccer, economic growth and a stock market boom have become the "bread and circuses" of urban Brazil. Rural Brazil, still within a rigid and antiquated social structure, is quiet now that the foci of the agrarian agitation at the start of the sixties have been suppressed.
What occasioned this political cataclysm, and what does it portend? Will the generals soon surrender power to the civilian politicians, charging them to press on with the "economic miracle"? Or have the civilian élites and the military decided that economic boom and authoritarian rule are related, that rapid development requires a political stability which only protracted military rule can ensure? Part of the answer to these questions- to the extent they can be answered-lies in the background to the movement styling itself the "Revolution of March 1964."
The political system discarded in 1964 was based on the liberal 1946 constitution: popularly elected president and state governors, bicameral legislature, independent judiciary of substantial powers, and constitutional guarantees of civil rights. That system was put under great stress by rapid growth, inflation, expansion of the electorate, and conflicting claims upon the national purse. And the succession of populist Vice-President João Goulart to the presidency, following the surprise resignation in 1961 of President Quadros, further burdened the system. By 1964, this combination of systemic weaknesses and historical accidents had led to widespread disillusionment with both Goulart and the political system. A broad spectrum of political opinion shared the view that some drastic changes were inevitable.
During the 1950s, the economy expanded at annual rates of about seven percent By 1962 Brazilian industry, which had been relatively unimportant 15 years earlier, had assumed a major role in the economy. Industrialization quickened the pace of social change. Cities expanded at annual rates of up to five percent as migrants flocked from a stagnant countryside to search for factory and service jobs. Some improved their position. Hundreds of thousands of others eked out a living while inhabiting the mushrooming shantytowns.
Although many new city-dwellers were only partly integrated into the modern economy, they did begin to participate in the political system. By limiting the vote to the literate, the 1946 constitution disenfranchised most of the rural population. But urbanization brought literacy. The number of voters doubled between 1945 and 1960. New demands could be put to the political leaders. The established prerogatives of the business and urban middle classes were under a corresponding challenge. Parts of the new political programs extended that challenge to the rural oligarchies.
During the Kubitschek government (1955-60), a high rate of inflation took hold. Inept planning and corruption intensified the problems. And despite the increase in the gross national product, disparities in income increased.
Recent studies suggest that the industrial boom was facilitated by holding wages down, so that rising profits could be reinvested by ever more affluent capitalists. The technique for curtailing wage rises ultimately contributed to the political crises. In effect, the annual inflation of about 20 to 30 percent kept ahead of wage increases. None the less, wages gave the illusion of growth because of their nominal rise. But by the 1960s more workers came to realize that they were barely holding their own, indeed taking home decreasing percentages of the expanding national pie.
As the competition for larger pieces of that pie grew keener, a final inflationary spiral was set off. The Goulart government tried to buy off social groups with new programs and dramatic rises in the minimum wage. But the budgetary deficits fueled the inflation. It rose to 70 percent in 1963 and (in the last quarter before the military coup) to an annual rate of about 140 percent. The urban slum-dwellers, who never had much, could not have been seriously threatened by these events. The lot of many among the workers may have improved with successive rises in the minimum wage. But the middle classes suffered losses and feared for their standard of living as well as social status. Of course, the confidence of domestic and foreign investors in the business sector wore thin.
When the industrial boom ended in 1962, these crises of Brazilian life began to cumulate. President Goulart sought to secure his support from the working classes not only through wage increases but also by advocating basic social reforms: land expropriation and redistribution, extension of the suffrage to the illiterate, mass education campaigns. The old political balances appeared to be threatened by the changes in economic and social structure that were now talked of. Fears increased of how radical a turn the government's program would take, particularly since several of Goulart's influential advisers had known "leftist" views or associations. Conservative business and military groups saw the specter of a "communist takeover." Rural unrest in the impoverished northeast fostered the sense of crisis. There was some suspicion that Goulart might resort to extreme or even unconstitutional measures to push his programs through.
A series of blunders by Goulart helped to unite important elements of the military against him. With the economy out of control and the legitimacy of Goulart's program and indeed office under increasing civilian challenge, the armed forces brought the president down in a coup of March 1964. That coup met only token resistance. The élites and middle classes acclaimed it, finding ready justification in the pending collapse of the political system and threats to the established order. The U.S. government, which had encouraged groups opposing Goulart, was enthusiastic. So of course was American business with Brazilian interests. Their support of military rule was soon evidenced by heightened bilateral aid and investments.
In the context of Brazilian history, this military intervention was not unexpected. Not for a century has the army been engaged in serious combat with any of Brazil's neighbors. In nineteenth-century society, it assumed the character of a "modern" institution attracted to "development." Many of its officers were drawn to the philosophical camp of positivism with its stress upon efficiency and material progress, discipline and order. The army developed among its officers technocratic skills in advance of most of the civilian world. Through its recruitment from different regions, the training given its officers, and its large public works, the army represented one of the significant "national" forces in Brazilian life.
The tradition of military involvement in politics reaches into the nineteenth century, although the interventions have recurred at ever shorter intervals during the last four decades. As a Yale political scientist, Albert Stepan, has documented in a forthcoming study, the interventions generally had the support of the civilian élites. The army did not act when there was substantial risk of a unified civilian opposition. Serving as a de facto constitutional "guardian" and arbiter among conflicting civilian groups in periods of crisis, the military was to assure at least the necessary minimum of political stability.
But while the 1964 coup had numerous resonances in Brazilian history, seven years of military rule are unprecedented. Prior interventions had merely confirmed an existing civilian régime in power or substituted another. Partly for the reason that the military had not directly exercised power, some critical attributes of the liberal state-electoral battles, free political expression in the schools and press, civilian administration of criminal justice-continued to form a vital part of the nation's political character.
Many of those attributes were captured by the phrase estado de direito (the law-state). To be sure, this ideal of a government acting within and constrained by a framework of law was never fully realized. Brazilian history carried important derogations from it. And Brazil's poor-the great mass of the population-lay outside the polity. But this tradition helped to limit the severity or duration of dictatorships and military interventions.
Indeed, after the 1964 coup, the military leaders spoke of an early restoration of civilian rule under constitutional principles. Had this occurred, the coup would have served as a temporary preventive intervention, aborting the Goulart government's plans for sweeping socio- economic reforms and returning power to "responsible" middle-class and business interests. But the date of abdication has receded into an ever distant future.
The formidable economy is of course the showpiece of the "revolution." A series of technical and administrative reforms have modified the framework for economic growth. Relieved of the normal constraints imposed by interest- group politics and bargaining, the economists in the Ministries of Planning and Finance were free to reshape policies and institutions to conform with their "developmental" ideals. The firmer governmental hand encouraged domestic and foreign investment. As one officer put it, "We've closed down politics but opened up the economy."
Fiscal, monetary and foreign exchange policies have been rationalized, and reforms have created a superior institutional framework for banking and finance. The government has made systematic efforts to secure greater compliance with law in numerous regulatory fields. Publicity about new policies, threats of sanctions and improved administration have persuaded many rich Brazilians to declare more of their taxable income. Government receipts have soared. Planning agencies have been strengthened and modernized. Through such policies as fiscal incentives, the government has nourished a stock market boom and achieved a general expansion of the capital market. Government spokesmen stress the importance of private enterprise in development. But the state continues to be a major actor in the economy, partly through public enterprises. And with the improvement of the regulatory system, private initiative is increasingly channeled in directions set by national planners.
Of course, the rich and the middle class have profited from the boom. Although the government states that its policies include income redistribution, there is little evidence thus far of that policy's implementation. Government figures do indicate that industrial wages rose faster last year than the inflation, though they do not show improvement in labor's relative position.
Among the most effective of the government's efforts to improve the lot of the larger mass of Brazilians is a massive housing program. That program has built several hundred thousand houses for low and middle income groups, and will absorb over a billion dollars this year. The government has recently established a plan for worker participation in industrial earnings, designed in part to give the worker a stake in "development." A limited agrarian reform has been set up, but implementation lags. The rural poor suffer equally under all régimes.
Undoubtedly the military and technocratic leaders have found it easier to execute programs aimed at economic expansion than those whose major purpose is social justice. The army's sturdiest allies are within the industrial and financial sectors, and the urban middle classes who panicked during the earlier inflation. Those groups have little enthusiasm for basic social reforms.
The period after the March Revolution has also witnessed an erosion of values and standards that were prominent in the country's political and legal culture. In many fields the régime's policies remain ill-formed, ambiguous and inconsistent; but the trends observable since 1964 suggests that what might first have appeared as "aberrations" in a period of political crisis are becoming permanent features of the new Brazil.
The régime stresses the role of education-still the privilege of the few-in development. President Médici has even seen fit to warn television interests that the government will determine more of program content unless broadcasting improves upon its present banal performance. The media must educate the people to contribute to the developing society. In strengthening education budgets and planning literacy campaigns, the government has sponsored reforms to increase social mobility.
But the government has also made it clear that education must serve the régime. Several hundred academics have been barred from teaching, particularly in the social sciences. Some departments, such as the University of São Paulo's famous sociology faculty, have been decimated. Debate about matters of political sensitivity-criticism of present political authority or of the basic social and economic values that it fosters, discussion of unpleasant facts-takes place within cautious boundaries. There is a widespread belief that government agents are enrolled in classes to spy on suspect teachers. A new law subjects teachers and students to criminal sanctions if they act "against the public order;" military tribunals decide what that may mean.
Outside the classroom the expression of political opinion encounters similar restraints. It is best-and it is standard practice in restaurants- to lower one's voice when criticism goes to the heart of the matter. Legislation of imposing breadth speaks for itself. It prohibits subversive propaganda, a concept that reaches advocacy of change in the existing government even by nonviolent means. It bars dissemination of facts which, even if true, are intended to create ill will against constituted authorities. It requires official approval of a wide range of books and periodicals before publication. Against the background of sporadic official intervention, the press has made careful self-censorship a standard prophylactic practice.
The government has allowed newspapers and magazines to criticize some aspects of its policies-even matters as basic as economic priorities. Occasionally the press has been permitted to print mildly controversial documents, such as the National Council of Bishops' guarded statement of concern about reports of torture. But discretion lies with the military, and regulation has an accordion-like character. The limits of public debate may expand or contract day by day, according to the local censor's whim or changing executive policies.
Surely it is in "law enforcement" that the régime has done greatest violence to Brazil's liberal traditions. In vital respects, the law-state and related traditions of adherence to basic standards in the government's treatment of individuals no longer prevail. So-called "institutional acts" and national-security legislation have eradicated essential checks upon executive power. The military tribunals now enjoy an exclusive competence to try alleged crimes against national security, a spacious concept. For such matters, the right of habeas corpus has been suspended.
Arrests for political crimes (i.e. against national security) have been in the thousands. It has become common practice to detain suspects for long periods and without formal charge, at prisons unknown to their relatives or lawyers. Although a few distinguished lawyers have represented clients before military tribunals, the bar as a whole has been intimidated in its defense of political prisoners. The Brazilian Bar Association recently protested that a lawyer defending an alleged subversive was himself tortured by the police. Other such lawyers have been arrested and held for several days before release. The few incidents that have become known suggest a larger number that have not.
An unpredictable and varying enforcement of these security measures further undermines the rule of law. Without recourse to civilian courts or often to counsel, and with no assurance that law enforcement may not serve as a camouflage for personal vendettas, the individual is kept off balance. It is difficult not to be cynical, as many of the young are, about the present use of "law" in the political sphere. It may assume a venal character, as enforcement shades into unprincipled coercion and arbitrary punishment. It is ironic that such flagrant departures from the spirit of the estado de direito coexist with efforts to induce respect for law in regulatory fields such as taxation.
The tragic culmination of such policies lies in the frequent resort to torture by state and local police, and by military personnel. Reports over the past 18 months have left a substantial deposit of evidence. They have issued from sources ranging from Marxist-oriented exiles to Brazilians of a conservative stamp and Catholic groups within and without the country. Several groups have published dossiers of the degree and character of torture of men and women: severe beatings, electric shocks applied to the genitals and other parts of the body, the hanging of prisoners upside down on a bar for extended periods.
The principal categories of political prisoners subjected to torture-which newspaper reports indicate in some instances to have been fatal-include students, intellectuals and Catholic clergymen. At one point the torture of priests and nuns in the world's largest Catholic country summoned such attention that the Pope told Bishop Helder Camara of Recife that "the Church will no longer tolerate the commission of atrocities and tortures in a country that calls itself Christian."
Low-level officials frankly admit the use of torture and other harsh measures against prisoners suspected of "crimes against national security." Their conduct is sometimes justified as appropriate reactions to the guerrilla activities. To these officials, persons suspected of complicity with the guerrillas are prisoners in an undeclared war, from whom information can be extracted that may be vital in a life and death struggle.
It is doubtful that a systematic "torture" policy has been formulated at high levels. In this area as in others, the dictatorial climate has released or intensified forces which the previous forms of government had more effectively contained. "Law enforcement" has become susceptible to a vicious anarchy culminating in the well-known "death squads," bands of off- duty police who murder alleged criminals.
Most of the high officials in government may genuinely be embarrassed by these extreme manifestations of repression. The concession that torture is practiced-for example, a recent public acknowledgment by the Minister of Education-often traces the problem to conduct by local police which the central government apparently finds it difficult to control. But the military police itself has been implicated. And the difficulty is not easy for an outsider to appreciate, within a state which has successfully imposed rigorous restraints upon political and economic life and managed complex economic problems.
The government has gone so far as to initiate "investigations" following public outcries over a few shocking cases. Perhaps its more determined "repression" of abusive conduct toward political suspects would stem these trends. But perhaps the matter cuts more deeply, to the inner nature and necessary tactics of a régime which controls the expression of ideas through force.
A key element in a prediction of Brazil's political course must be the character of the "military mind." For an important group within the military, the triumphs of the past seven years are not simply economic and political. They have a moral dimension. The higher officers of a stern and puritanical outlook can readily conclude that the "subversives" and the "immoral" have properly been purged and persecuted. "Censorship," a visiting officer advised a Brazilian student here, "is necessary to protect the people against the filth of communist plotters." The people must be saved from the godless, the corrupt, the civilian politicians, themselves. Military tutelage-a paternalism above the corruption and sordid bargaining among selfish interests that characterize civilian politics-will instill those values which have long been at the core of the army's ideals. They are summed up by the motto on the Brazilian flag: "Order and Progress." These were the themes stressed at the military colleges through which most high officers have passed. Politicization of the military, and the militarization of politics were natural companion trends.
The economic gains have tended to confirm many officers in their attraction to the army's grander and more active role. There is a certain swagger. The military really did make something happen. The trains may not yet run on time, but production mounts and inflation recedes. Brazil is on the move, and the world has taken notice.
Such events have heightened the appeal of nationalism, a major political ideology in Brazil since the 1930s. Nationalist themes have come to figure importantly in the articulation of the régime's basic programs. Massive public-works projects have caught the public imagination: plans for a trans- Amazon highway with allied projects to exploit that untapped region, hydroelectric installations. Such programs are presented as paths toward Brazil's realization of its vast potential. Some express the belief that the country will reach great-power status by the year 2,000, and liken the March Revolution to the Meiji Restoration that started Japan on its march toward industrialization. Both official and public opinion were angered when Herman Kahn's predictions for the year 2,000 placed Brazil among the world's poorer and weaker countries.
This ideology of national development explains the régime's opposition to birth control. The population of 200,000,000 that is anticipated in several decades will support Brazil's claim for recognition as a major economic (and military) power. Birth control is thus said to be no more sensible for the Brazil of 1970 than it was for the United States of a century earlier.
Although such nationalist themes are especially congenial to the military, the technocrats and industry, they have a wider popular currency. The government systematically seeks to exploit these sentiments. After Brazil's victory in the World Cup soccer matches, the President opened his palace to all comers and personally received the team upon its return. A flood of posters and car stickers enjoins the public to "love it or leave it" and proclaims that "No one can catch Brazil," or that "No one will hold back this country." The implication of the last-that someone might want to restrain Brazil-touches a responsive chord.
In what political directions do such attitudes and forces point? One possibility is "redemocratization," the vaguely defined aspiration of the civilian élites that they may somehow regain power. Many avid supporters of the March Revolution today question whether military rule remains essential after the resumption of economic growth. There is a significant degree of civilian disenchantment with the prospect of extended military rule and all that it implies for the character of the nation's intellectual life and culture.
Moreover, elements in the army stress the dangers of a protracted military involvement in political life. They foresee the emergence of factions, as internal differences on socio-economic policies and political philosophies crystallize. Particularly if the economic boom subsides and problems again start to cumulate, divisive contests for power might follow. There have already been indications of internal dissension. Thus some within the military argue that the army should preserve its unity and influence by retreating to a more traditional and modest role.
These forces, albeit weak, could work toward a "fading away" of military rule. But discussion about "redemocratization" has a vague and remote character. The reasons are evident. First, the military enjoys the exercise of power and takes pride in what has been accomplished. The officers enjoy the perquisites of power, particularly their higher salaries and status in society. Many in the army doubt whether civilian governments would long preserve these gains in social position. Second, powerful industrial and financial groups continue to support the régime, at least as long as they and the economy prosper. Third, the régime's supervision of political life has both prevented the organization of a genuine opposition and discouraged serious planning for the party or constitutional structure of renewed civilian rule.
Recently the government has stopped paying even lip-service to the idea of a return to some version of pre-1964 political life. Rather, a new and still faintly sketched model of government is emerging. President Médici himself has contributed to the articulation of that model. While paying ritual compliments to "democracy," his speeches reject political "liberalism" as incompatible with the changes that Brazil is now experiencing.
Médici has posited the "revolutionary state" as the next stage in Brazil's political evolution. Such practices as direct popular election of the president, free organization of political parties, or the guarantee of civil rights and freedom of expression have no place in that evolutionary stage. Of course the new model of a political system could-as it now does- accommodate a purged congress of limited powers to permit dialogue among different groups and confer added legitimacy upon the régime.
The victory of Salvador Allende will confirm numerous officers in their belief that a controlled society is a necessary choice. The people can be trusted no more in Brazil than in Chile. The government will continue to limit the expression of ideas through its surveillance of the schools, press and indeed all forms of political life. The few instances since 1964 when such controls were relaxed-such as the relatively open state elections in 1965-left hard lessons. Acrimonious debate and indications of an erosion of popular support for the official government candidates followed. The army may see the alternatives ever more clearly as chaos and corruption under civilian politics, or "order and progress" under military supervision.
It is probable that the government will continue to use the system of criminal justice as an instrument of political repression. Vaguely defined crimes leaving a large prosecutorial discretion, unchecked police powers, military tribunals and even resort to torture and other brutality against political opponents may inhere in the nature of the developing political system. Such measures help to contain expression within permitted boundaries and to prevent the formation of an effective opposition. The emerging political model may then mean the end of Brazil's historical commitment to the estado de direito and historical aspirations toward a humane administration of the criminal law.
The political structures within which these and other policies will be formulated and administered have yet to be clearly designed. For the while, the military together with its technocratic advisers and civilian ministers exercise power with a minimum of formal institutionalization of political processes. The necessary concessions to the key business groups, and responses to claims of the middle and working classes, have been decided upon through informal and flexible means. But the March Revolution has been sufficiently institutionalized to avoid one-man rule. The popular epigram of post-1964 Brazil as a dictatorship without a dictator remains valid.
President Médici has talked of the need to expand participation in the political system. If the literacy campaigns are seriously undertaken, that may occur. But the manner in which the larger participation will be structured remains uncertain. Perhaps the political system will retain its informal character. Perhaps the government will encourage or permit the formation of additional groups representing basic social and economic interests, to facilitate communication and permit more informed decision- making. Perhaps the government party, ARENA, will grow in significance, secure the participation of different groups, and become the core of an institutionalized one-party system. The term of President Médici expires in 1974. The military leaders may conclude that a higher degree of institutionalization in political life would lend the régime more stability and legitimacy, as well as improve chances for the orderly transmission of power to new leaders.
Some form of military government is likely to continue, then, during most or all of this decade. What socio-economic policies can be expected? One possible program would build upon a blend of ardent nationalism with more radical social policies. Such a program has been associated with Alfonso Albuquerque Lima, a three-star general and former Interior Minister who had the support of many junior officers in the 1969 contest for the presidential succession. His proposals have pointed toward a broader distribution of wealth through such measures as serious land and educational reforms. The policies commonly attributed to him include the nationalization of larger portions of Brazilian-owned as well as foreign- dominated industry or finance.
Albuquerque Lima lacked military seniority. But he may also have lost his bid for the presidency because his proposals appeared too radical. Brazil's major manufacturing sector has been built by domestic and foreign capitalists, and this is vital to the economic boom that has strengthened the régime's position. The conservative generals may have feared that Albuquerque Lima would frighten foreign and even domestic capital, and thus risk killing the goose that is laying a very golden egg indeed. Albuquerque Lima himself seemed to sense those fears. In his "campaign" he made a point of giving assurances that he was not hostile to big business, foreign or domestic.
The rejection of his bid, and thus of the views of the more radical junior officers, could be read as a decision that the Brazilian military will not follow the Peruvian army's path. The military's dominant ideology is that of economic growth. Such growth is perceived as a transcendent value, a goal that stands "above" politics. Most important, it is to be achieved basically within the existing social structure.
Such policies do not necessarily imply a rigorous adherence to the status quo. The colonels, majors and captains who espouse the more basic socio- economic changes will continue to influence policy in a populist direction. President Médici himself has several times acknowledged the need for greater social reforms. In a speech which observers felt was as critical of the status quo as any made by recent Brazilian presidents, Médici said that he had come to "the pungent conclusion that the economy may be getting along fine, but the majority of people are still getting along badly." He intended "to see that the national income was more fairly distributed."
But the economy is not likely to be radically restructured, although reform measures will probably be introduced as the mood of the country and the control of the military permit. The more egalitarian aspects of the economic program would be imposed at a sufficiently slow pace to avoid jeopardizing the crucial conservative support. That program might eventually benefit the rural as well as the urban poor. To the degree necessary, reliance will be placed upon a stimulated nationalism.
As long as the economic miracle continues, most Brazilians who once had a political voice appear ready to accept such a political-economic system. To the casual eye, today's Brazil offers little evidence of an authoritarian police state. The supervised press adequately satisfies the interests and demands of most people. If the schools give better technical training, most people will not object-perhaps not even be alert-to the debasement of educational values. Only isolated groups-dissenting students and intellectuals, adversary politicians, the outspoken and radical among the clergy, some working-class leaders, the "immoral" and "disloyal"-feel the military fist. As yet, there is little evidence that the urban guerrillas have mobilized popular support among the middle or working classes.
Most among the better-paid workers, the middle classes and the business interests can make the accommodations necessary to live within a politically closed society. The political and moral values that have been surrendered were never vital parts of their lives. Most also remain silent. But the louder voices among such groups that are heard today castigate the domestic or foreign critics of the régime for exaggerating trivial costs while losing sight of grand prospects. Such persons consider the critics to be, at best, uncomprehending, and at worst, to form part of a malicious conspiracy of sentiments against a country which is finally "realizing its destiny."