The Brazilian Military Regime of 1964-1985: Legacies for Contemporary Democracy

Iberoamericana. América Latina - España - Portugal. 2016;16(62):13-26 DOI 10.18441/ibam.16.2016.62.13-26


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Journal Title: Iberoamericana. América Latina - España - Portugal

ISSN: 1577-3388 (Print); 2255-520X (Online)

Publisher: Iberoamericana / Vervuert

Society/Institution: Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut PK

LCC Subject Category: History (General) and history of Europe: History of Portugal | History (General) and history of Europe: History of Spain | History America: Latin America. Spanish America | Language and Literature: French literature - Italian literature - Spanish literature - Portuguese literature | Social Sciences

Country of publisher: Germany

Language of fulltext: Spanish, English, Portuguese

Full-text formats available: PDF



Timothy J. Power


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 30 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

This article revisits the 21-year military dictatorship in Brazil to examine how it shaped subsequent democratic politics after the transition to civilian rule in 1985. In particular, six legacies are analysed. The paper begins by focusing on the relative legitimacy of the Brazilian military regime when compared to other dictatorships in the Southern Cone. The article then examines several variables which impact on the way politics has played out between 1985 and 2014: a high level of continuity of personnel inherited from the military period, an accentuated commitment to civil liberties (as in the Constitution of 1988), a more robust level of political competition compared to the pre-coup years, and a delayed but increasingly meaningful consideration of transitional justice issues. The article concludes by noting how mass mobilization (the street) engendered the collapse of the military regime in 1983-1984, and how this strategy of collective action has been repeated on several occasions under democracy.