Hm? I can see the good stuff that came from it, but overall I think (but, then again, I'm a carioca so keep that in mind) the short term costs were bigger than the long term benefits.
The short term “costs” were much of what really got the Brazilian economy going. Increased government spending led to a massive surge in demand, which promoted economic growth so much that it ended up enabling 30%+ inflation. Brasilia was described as the central crux of the Plano de Metas not for PR reasons, but because in addition to promoting national integration, the conquest of the West and infrastructure, it was the largest government-sponsored project that would incite demand (and it did).
 
The short term “costs” were much of what really got the Brazilian economy going. Increased government spending led to a massive surge in demand, which promoted economic growth so much that it ended up enabling 30%+ inflation. Brasilia was described as the central crux of the Plano de Metas not for PR reasons, but because in addition to promoting national integration, the conquest of the West and infrastructure, it was the largest government-sponsored project that would incite demand (and it did).
I can't see why similar demand wouldn't be created through other big stuff like major highways, Furnas and Três Marias.
 
Well, the Northeastern sertão kept suffering even after Brasília's construction, so that part's out of the equation. As for the North and Center-West, these regions could be integrated to the rest of the country through highways and railways. They would probably start their real development a few years later, but they may do so in a more orderly manner. Plus, soy cultivation would still show up there anyway.
I'm convinced, you made a good case.

Though I would still be worried about the occasional Strike Group close to the Brazilian capital, considering the events in OTL's 64.
 
I'm convinced, you made a good case.

Though I would still be worried about the occasional Strike Group close to the Brazilian capital, considering the events in OTL's 64.
Oh yeah, I forgot to put stuff like Operation Brother Sam in the equation, since that's definitely a plus for Brasília. Also, I apologize in advance if I sounded rude or anything.

Note to self, the Navy will get bigger investments ITTL since the capital will stay in the coastline. Expect another big aircraft carrier and other large vessels like frigates and submarines. And more airplanes.
 
Foreign Snapshot: Beyond the Curtain
------------------
Foreign Snapshot: Beyond the Curtain


Fewer countries embodied the dangers, failings and supposed strengths of a dictatorial system of government than the Soviet Union. On paper, the USSR had at its disposal the second largest economy in the world, second only to its archrival, the United States, a military apparatus to match, one which could take pride in being one of the chief architects of the defeat of Nazi Germany, and an unemployment rate that was close to zero, something unthinkable in a capitalist country. On the other hand, its extreme degree of centralization meant that, although it was perfectly capable of producing millions of tons of steel and high quality weapons every year, since these sectors were given the state's full attention, the consumer goods industry and especially agriculture were sorely neglected, which was especially humiliating considering its soil was among the most fertile in the world. Corruption was rampant, as is to be expected from any dictatorship, with huge amounts of resources and money being wasted on every new giant infrastructure project.

It was at the political level that the USSR's flaws truly manifested themselves, for the country, whose territory covered one sixth of the Earth's surface and had several satellite states under its thumb, had been under the iron grip of Joseph Stalin for almost three decades. His incompetent policies regarding agriculture led to several million preventable deaths from famine - when said famine wasn't an intentional one, like the Holodomor - while his paranoia caused the outright execution of hundreds of thousands (if not over a million) of others, from supposed dissidents, important members of the Communist Party (the "Old Bolsheviks") and experienced army officers, which had a very negative effect on its performance in WWII for obvious reasons. By the time the dictator finally died in March 5, 1953, after suffering from health problems for many years, all remaining prominent state and party bureaucrats were either terrified sycophants or true believers - and had plenty of blood on their hands as well.
xmqahteo5f421.png

Left to right: Anastas Mikoyan, Nikita Khrushchev, Joseph Stalin, Georgy Malenkov, Lavrentiy Beria and Vyacheslav Molotov in 1945.
They almost look like celebrities, rather than murderers.

Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov was no exception. A ruthless technocrat and crafty politician, he had most of his rivals executed or imprisoned on what became known as the Leningrad Affair, and, once Stalin finally kicked the bucket, was handsomely rewarded for his efforts by inheriting the positions held by the late dictator, that of Premier (head of state) and of General Secretary of the Communist Party (de facto head of government). Theoretically, he was now the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union, and was treated by the local and international press accordingly, the latter portraying him as the sterotypical grim-looking autocrat. However, Malenkov was no Stalin, and he was fully aware of the fact he was treading on thin ice: if he wished to hold on to power long enough to leave a lasting legacy for his country and the rest of the world, he couldn't afford to antagonize the Politburo, whose members were understandably quite worried that one man held so much power (1).

Thus, Malenkov's policies early in his tenure focused on things that most of his fellow higher-ups, even people such as Molotov, agreed with. He gradually backed down from the worst excesses of Stalinist tyranny, emptying the gulags, instituting a mass amnesty that halved the USSR's inmate population, and officially banning torture, all the while keeping a tight lid on the press and maintaining the cult of personality around Stalin's figure (2). Lavrentiy Beria, who had been chief of the late dictator's secret police and was universally hated by the Politburo, was arrested in April 1953 on charges of treason, terrorism and engaging counter-revolutionary during the Russian Civil War. He was executed at an undisclosed location in August, becoming the last prominent Soviet official to suffer such a fate as the result of a power struggle (3). Future disputes would end with early retirements and reassignments to junior positions.

By 1956 Malenkov's grip on power was thoroughly secured, and that was when things really began to change. That year, he unveiled before the Supreme Soviet the sixth five-year plan, which overall envisioned greater investments in consumer goods and agriculture, as well as smaller taxes on the peasants in order to provide an incentive for them to produce more. The cost of these enterprises would be offset with drastic cuts on heavy industry and especially the armed forces, something that ruffled more than a few feathers among the more conservative members (4). He also went on a diplomatic trip to Great Britain, during which he impressed said country's diplomats, with ambassador William Goodenough Hayter commenting on his "extremely agreeable" manners, sharp mind and "pleasant, musical-sounding" voice (5). Three years later, Malenkov would embark on a similar trip, but this time to the United States, where he talked with president Eisenhower and debated with vice-president Richard Nixon on what became known as the Kitchen Debate (6). It was the beginning of the détente phase of the Cold War, during which both superpowers would compete with one another culturally and technologically, rather than through an arms race, though proxy wars remained common.
A British newsreel detailing the Soviet leader's visit to the UK.
It didn't take long for Malenkov's policies to bear fruit on multiple fronts, strengthening not only his image but also that of subordinates such as Maksim Saburov and Mikhail Pervukhin, who also played a crucial role on elaborating the sixth five-year plan. Economically, the focus on mechanizing agriculture and improving light industry led to a noticeable improvement of the people's standard of living, even if chronic issues such as bad weather and inefficiency remained, things would never get as bad as they got during the Stalinist era. Technologically, the Soviet Union triggered the Space Race by launching Sputnik 1, the first ever artificial satellite, and would just four years later send the first man into space. Some satellite states, inspired by Moscow's economic successes, began to adopt some of its policies and adapt them into their own realities, the most famous examples being Poland and East Germany, governed by Wladyslaw Gomulka and Walter Ulbricht respectively (7).
4f9849a56bb3f79e2b00000b

A propaganda poster celebrating the Soviet space program.


------------------
Notes:

(1) IOTL, Malenkov had Pravda publish a doctored photo of him, Stalin and Mao that erased a huge number of prominent Soviet officials from it. This proved to be an enormous mistake, since it justifiably terrified the Politburo and forced him to resign from the post of General Secretary, which would be occupied by Nikita Khrushchev.


malenkov-mao-stalin-jpg.618608


(2) Stalin gets the Mao treatment (70% good 30% bad, God it hurts just to type these words), at least for now, so no destalinization.

(3) IOTL Beria was arrested in June and executed in December.

(4) It took years upon years of mistakes on Khrushchev's part (an erratic foreign policy, the Virgin Lands Campaign, the Cuban Missile Crisis) for the conservatives to finally oust him, so Malenkov's fine. The Aral Sea doesn't get drained either, so that's another environmental disaster averted.

(5) An OTL assessment according to Wikipedia (I know, I know).

(6) Naturally quite different from the OTL one.

(7) IOTL Ulbricht tried to enact an economic reform program (the
New Economic System) but Moscow (at that point led by Brezhnev) didn't approve and he was eventually ousted by Erich Honecker in 1971.
 
Last edited:
This is fascinating. Rare is the TL that has Latin America the focus, nevermind one that isn't just "What if they were commie dictatorships instead of right wing dictatorships?"

I shall watch your career with great interest.
 
I'm glad that you have Snapshots in Central America despite Brazil being your main (both of which are beautifully written btw) as it's a region so often overlooked and yet it was proxy war central during the cold war

The way you set up Arbenz' party gives me some Mexican PRI vibes. Will it be low key ond party "democracy", or will it resemble the Brazil you're setting up?

Also what effects on the neighbors? Soccer war between El Salvador and Honduras still on? Or the rise of the Sandanistas?

You also mentioned the US reconsiders its dictator prop up? Does that extend to Batista, Trujillo and Papa Doc?

Also, how does does Brazil's rising economic power affects its neighbors Paraguay, Uruguay, and the lovely hot mess that is 1950s-1960s Argentina?
Loving this TL btw, hope to see more
 
------------------
Foreign Snapshot: Beyond the Curtain


Fewer countries embodied the dangers, failings and supposed strengths of a dictatorial system of government than the Soviet Union. On paper, the USSR had at its disposal the second largest economy in the world, second only to its archrival, the United States, a military apparatus to match, one which could take pride in being one of the chief architects of the defeat of Nazi Germany, and an unemployment rate that was close to zero, something unthinkable in a capitalist country. On the other hand, its extreme degree of centralization meant that, although it was perfectly capable of producing millions of tons of steel and high quality weapons every year, since these sectors were given the state's full attention, the consumer goods industry and especially agriculture were sorely neglected, which was especially humiliating considering its soil was among the most fertile in the world. Corruption was rampant, as is to be expected from any dictatorship, with huge amounts of resources and money being wasted on every new giant infrastructure project.

It was at the political level that the USSR's flaws truly manifested themselves, for the country, whose territory covered one sixth of the Earth's surface and had several satellite states under its thumb, had been under the iron grip of Joseph Stalin for almost three decades. His incompetent policies regarding agriculture led to several million preventable deaths from famine - when said famine wasn't an intentional one, like the Holodomor - while his paranoia caused the outright execution of hundreds of thousands (if not over a million) of others, from supposed dissidents, important members of the Communist Party (the "Old Bolsheviks") and experienced army officers, which had a very negative effect on its performance in WWII for obvious reasons. By the time the dictator finally died in March 5, 1953, after suffering from health problems for many years, all remaining prominent state and party bureaucrats were either terrified sycophants or true believers - and had plenty of blood on their hands as well.
xmqahteo5f421.png

Left to right: Anastas Mikoyan, Nikita Khrushchev, Joseph Stalin, Georgy Malenkov, Lavrentiy Beria and Vyacheslav Molotov in 1945.
They almost look like celebrities, rather than murderers.

Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov was no exception. A ruthless technocrat and crafty politician, he had most of his rivals executed or imprisoned on what became known as the Leningrad Affair, and, once Stalin finally kicked the bucket, was handsomely rewarded for his efforts by inheriting the positions held by the late dictator, that of Premier (head of state) and of General Secretary of the Communist Party (de facto head of government). Theoretically, he was now the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union, and was treated by the local and international press accordingly, the latter portraying him as the sterotypical grim-looking autocrat. However, Malenkov was no Stalin, and he was fully aware of the fact he was treading on thin ice: if he wished to hold on to power long enough to leave a lasting legacy for his country and the rest of the world, he couldn't afford to antagonize the Politburo, whose members were understandably quite worried that one man held so much power (1).

Thus, Malenkov's policies early in his tenure focused on things that most of his fellow higher-ups, even people such as Molotov, agreed with. He gradually backed down from the worst excesses of Stalinist tyranny, emptying the gulags, instituting a mass amnesty that halved the USSR's inmate population, and officially banning torture, all the while keeping a tight lid on the press and maintaining the cult of personality around Stalin's figure (2). Lavrentiy Beria, who had been chief of the late dictator's secret police and was universally hated by the Politburo, was arrested in April 1953 on charges of treason, terrorism and engaging counter-revolutionary during the Russian Civil War. He was executed at an undisclosed location in August, becoming the last prominent Soviet official to suffer such a fate as the result of a power struggle (3). Future disputes would end with early retirements and reassignments to junior positions.

By 1956 Malenkov's grip on power was thoroughly secured, and that was when things really began to change. That year, he unveiled before the Supreme Soviet the sixth five-year plan, which overall envisioned greater investments in consumer goods and agriculture, as well as smaller taxes on the peasants in order to provide an incentive for them to produce more. The cost of these enterprises would be offset with drastic cuts on heavy industry and especially the armed forces, something that ruffled more than a few feathers among the more conservative members (4). He also went on a diplomatic trip to Great Britain, during which he impressed said country's diplomats, with ambassador William Goodenough Hayter commenting on his "extremely agreeable" manners, sharp mind and "pleasant, musical-sounding" voice (5). Three years later, Malenkov would embark on a similar trip, but this time to the United States, where he talked with president Eisenhower and debated with vice-president Richard Nixon on what became known as the Kitchen Debate (6). It was the beginning of the détente phase of the Cold War, during which both superpowers would compete with one another culturally and technologically, rather than through an arms race, though proxy wars remained common.
A British newsreel detailing the Soviet leader's visit to the UK.
It didn't take long for Malenkov's policies to bear fruit on multiple fronts, strengthening not only his image but also that of subordinates such as Maksim Saburov and Mikhail Pervukhin, who also played a crucial role on elaborating the sixth five-year plan. Economically, the focus on mechanizing agriculture and improving light industry led to a noticeable improvement of the people's standard of living, even if chronic issues such as bad weather and inefficiency remained, things would never get as bad as they got during the Stalinist era. Technologically, the Soviet Union triggered the Space Race by launching Sputnik 1, the first ever artificial satellite, and would just four years later send the first man into space. Some satellite states, inspired by Moscow's economic successes, began to adopt some of its policies and adapt them into their own realities, the most famous examples being Poland and East Germany, governed by Wladyslaw Gomulka and Walter Ulbricht respectively (7).
4f9849a56bb3f79e2b00000b

A propaganda poster celebrating the Soviet space program.

However, one must never forget that, despite no longer being the totalitarian hellhole that it was during Stalin's tenure, the Soviet Union was still very much a dictatorship, one which heavily censored the press, persecuted dissidents and engaged in the same kind of aggressive foreign policy and covert operations that so many people condemn the US and the CIA for. One needs only to look at what happened in Hungary after the end of its brief revolution, the Berlin Wall, Angola, Mozambique, Congo and many other countries whose brutal regimes were backed by Soviet rubles (8).

------------------
Notes:

(1) IOTL, Malenkov had Pravda publish a doctored photo of him, Stalin and Mao that erased a huge number of prominent Soviet officials from it. This proved to be an enormous mistake, since it justifiably terrified the Politburo and forced him to resign from the post of General Secretary, which would be occupied by Nikita Khrushchev.


malenkov-mao-stalin-jpg.618608


(2) Stalin gets the Mao treatment (70% good 30% bad, God it hurts just to type these words), at least for now.

(3) IOTL Beria was arrested in June and executed in December.

(4) It took years upon years of mistakes on Khrushchev's part (an erratic foreign policy, the Virgin Lands Campaign, the Cuban Missile Crisis) for the conservatives to finally oust him, so Malenkov's fine. The Aral Sea doesn't get drained either, so that's another environmental disaster averted.

(5) An OTL assessment according to Wikipedia (I know, I know).

(6) Naturally quite different from the OTL one.

(7) IOTL Ulbricht tried to enact an economic reform program (the
New Economic System) but Moscow (at that point led by Brezhnev) didn't approve and he was eventually ousted by Erich Honecker in 1971.

(8) You don't even need to go that far, just look at East Germany and the Stasi. And Congo's on the list for some reason, I wonder why.
Great update as always but show instead of telling.
I've seen a pro solidarnosc documentary yesterday that was incredibly less preachy than the ending of the update, while supporting way less progressive people your tl currently shows as stars.
 
I'm glad that you have Snapshots in Central America despite Brazil being your main (both of which are beautifully written btw) as it's a region so often overlooked and yet it was proxy war central during the cold war
I'm glad you enjoyed it! 😄
The way you set up Arbenz' party gives me some Mexican PRI vibes. Will it be low key ond party "democracy", or will it resemble the Brazil you're setting up?
I'm not sure PAR would ever get the necessary support among the elite and military to become an organization capable of rigging elections at will like PRI was. Not that they'll need to, since they've been delivering consistently good results and will continue to do so. Still, it's only a matter of time before corruption sets in.
Also what effects on the neighbors? Soccer war between El Salvador and Honduras still on? Or the rise of the Sandanistas
Haven't researched this subject yet, though I do have plans in store for Honduras. The Sandinistas or an equivalent group are frankly inevitable in my opinion, the Somozas are just too corrupt.
You also mentioned the US reconsiders its dictator prop up? Does that extend to Batista, Trujillo and Papa Doc?
Not so much the existing ones, but they'll stop actively helping set up new dictatorships. Funding right-wing candidates is still an option, however.
Also, how does does Brazil's rising economic power affects its neighbors Paraguay, Uruguay, and the lovely hot mess that is 1950s-1960s Argentina?
Loving this TL btw, hope to see more
These countries will have their own butterflies, not sure how many will come directly from Brazil though. I haven't looked at them too deeply yet, except for Argentina and Perón in some degree.
 
Great update as always but show instead of telling.
I've seen a pro solidarnosc documentary yesterday that was incredibly less preachy than the ending of the update, while supporting way less progressive people your tl currently shows as stars.
Wait, who do you think I'm showing as stars when they're in fact a lot more regressive, the Warsaw Pact regimes or the opposition to them? Either way, I'll try to add some more examples later.
 
Looking back, and after taking @tukaram bhakt's observation into account, I decided to erase the update's last paragraph, since its pacing and tone felt a bit off from the rest. I can write more thoroughly about how awful the Warsaw Pact regimes were later, and dive into more specific cases (the Stasi, Ceausescu and so on, along with ITTL events) as well.
 
Last edited:
Part 6: Legislative Shenanigans and the 1958 Elections
------------------
Part 6: Legislative Shenanigans and the 1958 Elections


One of president Etelvino's main priorities was rebuilding the acordo interpartidário ("inter-party accord"), the centre-right coalition that easily dominated the two houses of Brazil's Congress during the days of Eurico Gaspar Dutra, who occupied the chief executive between 1946 and 1951. This alliance, composed of PSD, UDN and PR, successfully marginalized PTB throughout his entire administration right up until Getúlio Vargas' return to the presidency, during which the pessedistas and petebistas were united in a strong, if shaky coalition of their own. The incumbent officeholder was assisted in this task by the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Carlos Luz, and of the Senate, Nereu Ramos, both of whom were conservative members of PSD and were all too eager to keep the increasingly more radical (in their view) left as far away from power as possible (1).

All three of them soon realized that this would be more difficult a feat to perform than they had anticipated, for the forces that rallied behind Juscelino Kubitschek's failed campaign in 1955 weren't going to take their defeat lying down. A faction of progressive pessedistas known as the "Ala Moça" ("Young Wing"), led by federal deputy Tancredo Neves, who had been Getúlio's last Minister of Justice, joined forces with PTB and the Bossa Nova to derail as much of the federal government's conservative agenda as possible. Early on, the government employed salami tactics to deal with them, paying this or that congressman - who often wasn't really *that* rebellious yet- to switch sides with pork barrel legislation, diminishing their effectiveness. However, Brazil's social problems continued to worsen, as did the president's repression of social movements and striking workers, whose actions grew ever more frequent even as the overall economy kept rising. Thus, these acts of blatant bribery became increasingly harder to perform.
800px-Tancredo_Neves_como_Primeiro-Ministro_do_Brasil.png

Tancredo Neves.
Then, on February 15, 1958, right before the beginning of that year's campaign season, something truly explosive happened, an event that fully exposed the rifts in the government's ranks. That day, senator Assis Chateaubriand (PSD-PB), who was also the most powerful media mogul of his time, introduced a bill that would, if turned into law, "review" (read: abolish) Petrobras' monopoly over the extraction and refinement of Brazilian petroleum, allowing foreign companies to move in (2). The nationalists' reaction was an immediate and furious one: within hours, Última Hora (their perpetual mouthpiece) started churning out articles about how the "entreguistas" (sellouts), not satisfied with forcing Getúlio Vargas to commit suicide, now wanted to destroy his legacy, while leading progressive and moderate deputies (the Senate had a huge conservative majority and was therefore considered hopeless) such as Fernando Ferrari, José Sarney, Ulysses Guimarães and Lutero Vargas, put aside their countless differences and worked together to defeat what they apocalyptically labeled the "Lei da Mutilação" ("Mutilation Bill").

While the opposition was united and invigorated, the government was bitterly divided. President Etelvino, privately furious with Chateaubriand's lack of political acumen, publicly stayed neutral, fearing that the rifts in his base would grow into chasms if he took a strong position one way or another, while Federal District mayor Carlos Lacerda, who at this point already enjoyed excellent relations with the CIA and wished to improve them even further in preparation for his inevitable presidential campaign, enthusiastically supported the proposal and subtly worked with his American patrons to bribe any congressman still on the fence. São Paulo governor Ademar de Barros, feeling the consequences of not endorsing Juscelino back home, condemned it using the strongest possible terms, in a desperate attempt to save his political machine. The military establishment, usually active in moments like this, stayed silent.
Assis_Chateaubriand.jpg

Brazil's Citizen Kane, Assis Chateaubriand.
The nationalists' efforts paid off in the end: although the bill passed the Senate with a considerable margin, despite the efforts of men such as João Goulart (PTB-RS) and Argemiro de Figueiredo (UDN-PB), it was defeated in the Chamber of Deputies by 166 votes to 160, a difference of just six votes. Fifty years later, in 2008, multiple recently declassified CIA files revealed that the American embassy, using Lacerda as a middleman, spent one million dollars to bribe as many congresspeople into voting "yes" as possible.

The opposition won a great victory, one which would dominate that year's campaign season.
------------------

Ademar's decision to endorse Etelvino instead of Juscelino three years ago proved to be his undoing. The governor of São Paulo depended on PTB's support to keep a majority in the State Assembly, a majority that evaporated after his turn to the right. From 1955 onward, the state legislature, presided by André Franco Montoro, a member of the Christian Democratic Party, launched itself into a war against the governor, stonewalling most of his initiatives and lobbing constant accusations of corruption at every available opportunity, only refraining from impeaching him because it was more interesting for them to let him linger and for his popularity to fall even further.

By 1958 it was obvious that Ademar's PSP would need a miracle to maintain its control of the governorship. But the opposition had learned from the mistakes it committed four years ago and united behind a single candidate, who just so happened to be none other than Montoro. He was able to build a wide coalition which included Brazil's three main political parties (PSD, UDN and PTB) as well as several minor ones, such as his own PDC, PST, PTN and PSB, all united in their opposition to the incumbent machine.

Against such odds, the candidate fielded by PSP, former São Paulo city mayor Juvenal Lino de Matos, was nothing more than a sacrificial lamb.

São Paulo 1958.PNG

A new character burst into Brazil's political scene, one whose name would become synonymous with building bridges and an uncompromising defense of democracy when it was at its weakest (3).
------------------
Carlos Lacerda's tenure as mayor of Rio de Janeiro had effectively turned the Brazilian capital into UDN's main nerve center and showcase for the rest of the country to behold. For all his acidic rhetoric (for which his opponents derisively called him "The Crow") he had proved himself to be a vigorous administrator who was able to get most of his proposals passed despite an opposition majority in the city council, a task in which he was undoubtedly assisted by the federal government and his foreign allies. With almost literal rivers of money flowing into the city's coffers every day, the mayor focused most of it on renewing Rio's image: some of its most important landmarks and infrastructure works, such the Aterro do Flamengo and the Rebouças Tunnel respectively, were built during Lacerda's tenure (4).

The only noteworthy group of people who had a very, very good reason to despise him were the tens of thousands of poor residents who were evicted from their homes, either to make way for some new project or just "clean up" the urban landscape, and forced to live in new, distant areas where they were soon forgotten by the government and left to fend for themselves. But other than them, everyone else - the elite, the middle class and those among the poor who weren't directly targeted by the heavy-handed municipal police - was pretty happy with their lot in life at the moment. Even his most dedicated opponents, such as city councillor and future congressman Abdias do Nascimento (PTB (5)), had to acknowledge The Crow's popularity.

Obras_do_T%C3%BAnel_Rebou%C3%A7as_%28D%C3%A9cada_de_1960%29.jpg

The Rebouças Tunnel during its construction.

While the cariocas were still denied the right to elect their own mayor, they could, and would, vote for a new senator this year. Considering how successful Lacerda's administration was to most of the population, it seemed that the UDN candidate, Afonso Arinos (the same man who led the attempt to impeach Getúlio Vargas), was a shoo-in for the vacant Senate seat, especially since he had the unanimous support of the conservative press. Arinos' main opponent, Lutero Vargas (PTB), who was the late president's eldest son, ran an energetic campaign and focused primarily on Rio's working-class neighborhoods, whose residents still remembered his father fondly, but even so it looked as if his defeat was certain.

But politics were - and still are - notoriously unpredictable. On September 15, with the election half a month away, an extremely scandalous story found itself in the hands of Última Hora. According to the source, who chose to stay anonymous, there was a death squad roaming the streets of the Brazilian capital, one which had already kidnapped and murdered dozens of beggars in the last few years, and had many members of the municipal police in its ranks. The lonely opposition newspaper immediately pumped out articles calling Lacerda - whose involvement in this horrible affair was never proven - a Nazi and many other very unflattering names (6). Needless to say, the scandal hurt Arinos' campaign severely, since the mayor was his most important supporter by far. Lutero suddenly gained ground, and important progressive personalities from all over the country - from northerners such as Plínio Coelho to southerners such as João Goulart, Fernando Ferrari and, of course, Leonel Brizola - swooped into the capital to campaign for him in these crucial final days.

última hora.jpg

The first of several headlines published by Última Hora.

By election day Arinos and Lutero were in a dead heat.
Distrito Federal 1958.PNG

Lutero, by sweeping most of the poorer neighborhoods and favelas (slums), prevailed in the end, even if barely, delivering a crushing defeat to UDN and the federal government, showing that his father's legacy was still as strong as ever. For now, PTB were elated at their stunning upset and celebrated nonstop, but they would soon realize that this race was an ugly omen of what was to come.
------------------
Overview
If 1954 was the year PTB burst into the national scene, 1958 was when the party not only consolidated its position, but grew even further. While the Senate still retained a conservative majority, PTB's leap ahead of UDN in the Chamber of Deputies meant that they could no longer be simply ignored or walked around, especially with the divisions plaguing the two other major parties at the moment: from that moment on, any bill that in the lower house would require their approval, as well as that of the Bossa Nova and the Ala Moça.
Chamber of Deputies:

PSD: 103 seats (-12)
PTB: 84 seats (+18)
UDN: 65 seats (-11)
PSP: 17 seats (-12)
PR: 14 seats (-2)

Minor Parties (PSB, PRP, PDC and so on): 43 seats (+3)

Senate (one third):

UDN: 9 seats
PTB: 7 seats
PSD: 4 seats
PSP: 1 seat​

For the next few years, Brazil's young democracy would be put through the ultimate test.

------------------
Notes:


(1) IOTL, Carlos Luz served as president of Brazil for three days, during which he tried to prevent Juscelino Kubitschek from taking office. He was deposed for it, after which Nereu Ramos served the last few months between November 1955 and January 1956.

(2) Assis Chateaubriand was a fierce anti-nationalist crusader during his time in the Senate. I assume that, with a conservative government in charge of things, he'd be even bolder in his initiatives.

(3) IOTL, Franco Montoro was governor of São Paulo from 1983 to 1987.

(4) All OTL, except a few years earlier.

(5) IOTL, Abdias do Nascimento ran for a seat in the Rio de Janeiro City Council in 1954 and lost. Here, he wins, and his political career starts almost three decades earlier.

(6) Also OTL. Though Lacerda's name wasn't cleared AFAIK, he wasn't proven guilty either.
 
According to the source, who chose to stay anonymous, there was a death squad roaming the streets of the Brazilian capital, one which had already kidnapped and murdered dozens of beggars in the last few years, and had many members of the municipal police in its ranks.
Was this part of the inspiration for the movie Magnum Force IOTL? (The movie did mention the Brazil death squads, or were those different ones?)
 
Top