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was sent to Brazil to work with the Agency's Post, Telegraph and Telephone Workers
International (formerly Doherty's domain), has revealed that his field workers in Brazil
burned down Communist Party headquarters at the time of the coup.51

The coup began on 31 March 1964 with the advance upon Rio of troops and
tanks. Officers obtained the support of some units of enlisted men by telling them they
were heading for the city to secure it against Goulart's enemies. But at the main air force
base pro-Goulart enlisted men, hearing of the move toward Rio, seized the base and put
their officers under arrest. Indecision and cold feet intervened, however, and what might
have reversed the course of events instead came to nought. Other military units loyal to
Goulart took actions elsewhere, but these too fizzled out.52
Here and there a scattering of workers went, out on strike; several short-lived,
impotent demonstrations took place, but there was little else. A number of labor leaders
and radicals were rounded up on the orders of certain state governors; those who were
opposed to what was happening were not prepared for violent resistance; in one incident
a group of students staged a protest”some charged up the stairs of an Army
organization, but the guard fired into their midst, killing two of them and forcing the
others to fall back.53
Most people counted on loyal armed forces to do their duty, or waited for the
word from Goulart. Goulart, however, was unwilling to give the call for a civil war; he
did not want to be responsible, he said, for bloodshed amongst Brazilians, and fled to
Lincoln Gordon cabled Washington the good news, suggesting the "avoidance of
a jubilant posture". He described the coup as "a great victory for the free world", adding,
in a remark that might have had difficulty getting past the lips of even John Foster
Dulles, that without the coup there could have been a "total loss to the West of all South
American Republics". Following a victory parade in Rio on 2 April by those pleased
with the coup”a March of Family with God for Liberty”Gordon informed the State
Department that the "only unfortunate note was the obviously limited participation in
the march of the lower classes."55
His cable work done, the former Harvard professor turned his attention back to
trying to persuade the Brazilian Congress to bestow a seal of "legitimacy" upon the new
Two years later, Gordon was to be questioned by a senator during hearings to
consider his nomination as Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs. "I am
particularly concerned," said the senator, "with the part you may have played, if any, in
encouraging, promoting, or causing that overthrow."
Said Lincoln Gordon: "The answer to that, senator, is very simple. The movement
which overthrew President Goulart was a purely, 100 percent”not 99.44”but 100
percent purely Brazilian movement. Neither the American Embassy nor I personally
played any part in the process whatsoever."57
Gordon's boss, Dean Rusk, was not any more forthright. When asked about
Cuban charges that the United States was behind the coup, the Secretary of State
responded: "Well, there is just not one iota of truth in this. It's just not so in any way,
shape, or form."58 While Attorney General Robert Kennedy's view of the affair, stated to
Gordon, was: "Well, Goulart got what was coming to him. Too bad he didn't follow the
advice we gave him when I was there."59
Gordon artfully combined fast talk with omission of certain key facts about
Brazilian politics”his summary of Goulart's rise and fall made no mention at all of the
military's move to keep him from taking office in 1961”to convince the assembled
senators that Goulart was indeed seeking to set up a personal dictatorship.60
Depending on the setting, either "saving Brazil from dictatorship" or "saving
Brazil from communism" was advanced as the rationale for what took place in 1964.
(General Andrew O'Meara, head of the US Southern [Latin America] Command, had it

both ways. He told a House committee that "The coming to power of the Castelo
Branco government in Brazil last April saved that country from an immediate
dictatorship which could only have been followed by Communist domination.")61
The rescue-from-communism position was especially difficult to support, the
problem being that the communists in Brazil did not, after all, do anything which the
United States could point to. Moreover, the Soviet Union was scarcely in the picture.
Early in 1964, reported a Brazilian newspaper, Russian leader Khrushchev told the
Brazilian Communist Party that the Soviet government did not wish either to give
financial aid to the Goulart regime or to tangle with the United States over the country.62
In his reminiscences”albeit, as mentioned earlier, not meant to be a serious work of
history”Khrushchev does not give an index reference to Brazil.
A year after the coup, trade between Brazil and the USSR was running at $120
million per year and a Brazilian mission was planning to go to Moscow to explore
Soviet willingness to provide a major industrial plant.63 The following year, the
Russians invited the new Brazilian president-to-be, General Costa e Silva, to visit the
Soviet Union.64
During the entire life of the military dictatorship, extending into the 1980s, Brazil
and the Soviet bloc engaged in extensive trade and economic cooperation, reaching
billions of dollars per year and including the building of several large hydroelectric
plants in Brazil. A similar economic relationship existed between the Soviet bloc and
the Argentine military dictatorship of 1976-83, so much so that in 1982, when Soviet
leader Brezhnev died, the Argentine government declared a national day of mourning.65
It was only by ignoring facts like these during the cold war that the anti-
communist propaganda machine of the United States could preach about the
International Communist Conspiracy and claim that the coup in Brazil had saved the
country from communism. For a typical example of this propaganda, one must read
"The Country That Saved Itself," which appeared in Reader's Digest several months
after the coup. The innumerable lies about what occurred in Brazil, fed by the magazine
to its millions of readers, undoubtedly played a role in preparing the American public
for the great anti-communist crusade in Vietnam just picking up steam at the time. The
article began:

Seldom has a major nation come closer to the brink of disaster and yet recovered
than did Brazil in its recent triumph over Red subversion. The communist drive for
domination”marked by propaganda, infiltration, terror”was moving in high gear.
Total surrender seemed imminent” and then the people said No!66

The type of independence shown by the Brazilian military government in its
economic relations with the Soviet Union was something Washington could accept from
a conservative government, even the occasional nationalization of American property,
when it knew that the government could be relied upon to keep the left suppressed at
home and to help in the vital cold-war, anti-communist campaigns abroad. In 1965,
Brazil sent 1,100 troops to the Dominican Republic in support of the US invasion, the
only country in Latin America to send more than a token force. And in 1971 and 1973,
the Brazilian military and intelligence apparatuses contributed to the American efforts
in overthrowing the governments of Bolivia and Chile.

The United States did not rest on its laurels. CIA headquarters immediately began
to generate hemisphere-wide propaganda, as only the Agency's far-flung press-asset
network could, in support of the new Brazilian government and to discredit Goulart.67
Dean Rusk, concerned that Goulart might be received in Uruguay as if he were still

Brazil's president on the grounds that he had not resigned, cabled the American
Embassy in Montevideo that "it would be useful if you could quietly bring to the
attention of appropriate officials the fact that despite his allegations to the contrary
Goulart has abandoned his office."68
At the same time, the CIA station in Uruguay undertook a program of
surveillance of Brazilian exiles who had fled from the military takeover, to prevent them
from instigating any kind of insurgency movement in their homeland. It was a simple
matter for the Agency to ask their (paid) friend, the head of Uruguayan intelligence, to
place his officers at the residences of Goulart and other key Brazilians. The officers kept
logs of visitors while posing as personal security men for the exiles, although it is
unlikely that the exiles swallowed the story.69
In the first few days following the coup, "several thousand" Brazilians were
arrested, "communist and suspected communist" all.70 AIFLD graduates were promptly
appointed by the new government to purge the unions.71 Though Ambassador Gordon
had assured the State Department before the coup that the armed forces "would be quick
to restore constitutional institutions and return power to civilian hands,"72 this was not
to be. Within days, General Castelo Branco assumed the presidency and over the next
few years his regime instituted all the features of military dictatorship which Latin
America has come to know and love: Congress was shut down, political opposition was
reduced to virtual extinction, habeas corpus for "political crimes" was suspended,
criticism of the president was forbidden by law, labor unions were taken over by
government interveners, mounting protests were met by police and military firing into
crowds, the use of systematic "disappearance" as a form of repression came upon the
stage of Latin America, peasants' homes were burned down, priests were brutalized ...
the government had a name for its program: the "moral rehabilitation" of Brazil ... then
there was the torture and the death squads, both largely undertakings of the police and
the military, both underwritten by the United States.73
In the chapters on Guatemala and Uruguay, we shall see how the US Office of
Public Safety (OPS), the CIA and AID combined to provide the technical training, the
equipment, and the indoctrination which supported the horrors in those countries. It was
no less the case in Brazil. Dan Mitrione of the OPS, whom we shall encounter in his full
beauty in Uruguay, began his career in Brazil in the 1960s. By 1969, OPS had
established a national police force for Brazil and had trained over 100,000 policemen in
the country, in addition to 523 receiving more advanced instruction in the United
States.74 About one-third of the students' time at the police academies was devoted to
lectures on the "communist menace" and the need to battle against it.75 The "bomb
school" and techniques of riot control were other important aspects of their education.

Tortures range from simple but brutal blows from a truncheon to electric shocks.
Often the torture is more refined: the end of a reed is placed in the anus of a naked
man hanging suspended downwards on the pau de arara [parrot's perch] and a
piece of cotton soaked in petrol is lit at the other end of the reed. Pregnant women
have been forced to watch their husbands being tortured. Other wives have been
hung naked beside their husbands and given electric shocks on the sexual parts of
their body, while subjected to the worst kind of obscenities. Children have been
tortured before their parents and vice versa. At least one child, the three month old
baby of Virgilio Gomes da Silva was reported to have died under police torture.
The length of sessions depends upon the resistance capacity of the victims and have
sometimes continued for days at a time.
Amnesty International76

Judge Agamemnon Duarte indicated that the CCC [Commandos to Hunt
Communists, a death squad armed and aided by the police] and the CIA are
implicated in the murder of Father Henrique Neto. He admitted that... the American
Secret Service (CIA) was behind the CCC.
Jornal do Brazil77

Chief of Staff of the Brazilian Army, General Breno Borges Forte, at the Tenth
Conference of American Armies in 1973:

The enemy is undefined ... it adapts to any environment and uses every means, both
licit and illicit, to achieve its aims. It disguises itself as a priest, a student or a
campesino, as a defender of democracy or an advanced intellectual, as a pious soul
or as an extremist protestor; it goes into the fields and the schools, the factories and
the churches, the universities and the magistracy; if necessary, it will wear a
uniform or civil garb; in sum, it will take on any role that it considers appropriate to
deceive, to lie, and to take in the good faith of Western peoples."78

In 1970, a US Congress study group visited Brazil. It gave this summary of
statements by American military advisers there:
Rather than dwell on the authoritarian aspects of the regime, they emphasize
assertions by the Brazilian armed forces that they believe in, and support,
representative democracy as an ideal and would return government to civilian
control if this could be done without sacrifice to security and development. This
withdrawal from the political arena is not seen as occurring in the near future. For
that reason they emphasize the continued importance of the military assistance
training program as a means of exerting U.S. influence and retaining the current
pro-U.S. attitude of the Brazilian armed forces. Possible disadvantages to U.S.
interests in being so closely identified with an authoritarian regime are not seen as
particularly important.79

The CIA never rests ... a footnote: the New York Times reported in 1966 ...

When the CIA learned last year that a Brazilian youth had been killed in 1963,
allegedly in an auto accident, while studying on a scholarship at the Lumumba
University in Moscow, it mounted a massive publicity campaign to discourage
other South American families from sending their youngsters to the Soviet

28. Peru 1960-1965
Fort Bragg moves to the jungle
It was a CIA dream come true. A commando raid by anti-Castro Cubans upon the
Cuban Embassy in Lima had uncovered documentary proof that Cuba had paid out
"hundreds of thousands" of dollars in Peru for propaganda to foster favorable attitudes
toward the Cuban revolution and to promote Communist activities within the country.
This was no standard broad-brush, cold-war accusation, for the documents
disclosed all manner of details and names”the culprits who had been on the receiving
end of the tainted money; men in unions and universities and in politics; men who had
secretly visited Cuba, all expenses paid.1 To top it all off, these were men the CIA
looked upon as enemies.

The only problem”and it wasn't really a problem”was that some of the
documents were counterfeit. The raid had certainly taken place, on 8 November 1960 to
be exact. And documents had indeed been seized, at gunpoint. But the most
incriminating of the documents, presented a month later with the authentic ones, had
been produced by the experts of the CIA's Technical Services Division.2
It was a propaganda windfall. The story received wide media coverage in Latin
America and the United States, accompanied by indignant anti-communist articles and
editorials. The Wall Street Journal was moved to run an extremely long, slightly
hysterical piece, obviously based on Washington handouts, strikingly unquestioned,
which warned that "mountainous stacks of intelligence data from the 20 nations
stretching from Mexico to Argentina tell of a widening Communist push into the
To be sure, the Cubans insisted that the documents were not genuine, but that was
only to be expected. The affair was to cast a shadow over Castro's foreign relations for
some time to come.
The most propitious outcome, from the CIA's standpoint, was that within days
after the disclosure the Peruvian government broke diplomatic relations with Cuba. This
was a major priority of the Agency in Lima, as in most other CIA stations in Latin
America, and led further to the Cuban news agency, Prensa Latina, being barred from
operating in Peru. The news agency's dispatches, the Peruvian authorities now decided,
were "controlled from Moscow".4
A week later, there was further welcome fallout from the incident. The
government enacted legislation making it easier to arrest members of the Communist
Party, although this was repealed a year later. During its deliberations the Peruvian
legislature accepted a sworn statement from one Francisco Ramos Montejo, a recent
defector from the Cuban Embassy who had been present during the raid, who
"confirmed" that all the documents were genuine. Ramos, who was now living in Miami
and working for the CIA, added fresh revelations that there had been detailed plans for
the assassination of Peruvian officials and for the overthrow of the government, and that
arms had been smuggled into Peru from Bolivia and Ecuador, presumably for these
Of such stuff is the battle for the hearts and minds of Latin Americans made.

The political history of Peru has been of the classic South American mold”an
oligarchy overthrown by a military coup replaced by another oligarchy ... periodically
punctuated by an uprising, sporadic violence from the forgotten below to remind those
above that they ate still alive, albeit barely. Veteran Latin America newsman John
Gerassi described the state of those below in the Peru of the early 1960s:

In Lima, [he capital, whose colonial mansions enveloped by ornate wooden
balconies help make it one of the most beautiful cities in the world, half of the 1.3
million inhabitants live in rat-infested slums. One, called El Montón, is built
around, over, and in the city dump. There, when I visited it, naked children, some
too young to know how to walk, competed with pigs for a few bits of food scraps
accidentally discarded by the garbage men ... [The peasants] chew cocaine-
producing coca leaves to still hunger pains, and average 500 calories a day.


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