The project “Marks of memory,” by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, has arrived in Havana. The initiative reviews what happened in that country beginning with the military coup that in 1964 ended the democratic government of João Goulart.
Sponsored by the Cuban Ministry of Culture and the Network in Defense of Humanity, the project was inaugurated in a beautiful ceremony — whose highlight was the showing of the documentary “I remember,” by Luiz Fernando Lobo — that an interminable downpour could not preempt.
It was necessary to make that effort here to defeat oblivion. The regime that took over in Brazil at that time began a terrible stage, in which Washington resorted to military putsches to stop the advance of the peoples’ struggles in Latin America and to force the Organization of American States, that same year, to decree the rupture of its relations with Cuba.
The usurping gang was the United States’ most loyal instrument and aspired to become a kind of “sub-imperialism,” after crushing by blood and fire the “reforms at the base” initiated by Jango with popular support.
In 1965, Brazilian troops joined the yanquis to frustrate the restoration of democracy in the Dominican Republic. In Washington, Democrats and Republicans praised in unison what they called “the Brazilian miracle.”
It was a strategy that generated in the Empire an optimism that drove Richard Nixon to proclaim, “as Brazil goes, so will the rest of the Latin American continent.”
According to official documents declassified recently, the man from Watergate planned with his colleagues in the South American giant the overthrowing of Salvador Allende and new villainies against Cuba and other countries. It was up to the dictatorship to “do the dirty work,” as one of its generals admitted at the time.
The Brazilian people suffered much as a consequence of the military blow half a century ago. But their resistance was great and heroic. They suffered the pain and the struggle during much of the amnesia imposed as an additional punishment by successive administrations and by media conglomerates that are always effective in hiding and distorting the truth.
This effort to repair history — possible only in the new Brazil of Lula and Dilma — is commendable. Nixon’s prophecy becomes reality but in a way that will make him fume in Hell.