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The United States and the Brazilian military dictatorship: from the 1964 coup to the democratization process (1964-1985)

Abstract

The main objective of this research project is to analyze the process of rise and fall of the institutionalization of authoritarianism in the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985) from the perspective of US diplomatic and intelligence documents. Despite the increasing declassification of US official sources in the previous two decades, studies that employ US primary documents to understand domestic political events related to Brazil's military regime are still rare. We will mainly focus on the dynamics and disputes that happened within the Brazilian Armed Forces, as well as on the relations between the military and civilians in Brazil, seeking to understand both the way by which the country's authoritarian institutionalization was built - expressed mainly by the regime's normative outputs (Institutional Acts, laws of national security and censorship, the 1967 Constitution, and the 1969 constitutional amendment) -, as well as the negotiations and social and political struggles that characterized the long process of political opening in Brazil. US official documents allow scholars to have a privileged perspective on Brazil's political events due to US intelligence capillarity and easy access that US diplomatic officials had before Brazil's military and political elites, and before different segments of the country's civil society, including sectors of the Brazilian opposition. Researchers affiliated with this project will work on different aspects of the US-Brazil relationship during the country's military regime - from the way in which the US aid program Alliance for Progress was implemented to Washington's role in the international legitimation of the Brazilian dictatorship, in addition to US actions and reactions during the political opening of the regime, especially with regards to human rights violations and transitional justice. This project will also make available online all documents to be collected by its researchers in US archives and libraries - using, for that end, the website of the National Truth Commission's Diffusion Support Center of the University of Sao Paulo (NACE-CNV/USP) -, in addition to working as a pre-selection initiative for the next collections to be digitized and indexed by the Opening the Archives project database (Brown University). In this sense, we believe that this research project will not only provide a better understanding of the process of the institutionalization of authoritarianism in Brazil and of the different aspects of US-Brazil relations during the military regime, but will also contribute to further democratize access of US official documents to Brazilian researchers. (AU)

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