Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Janio Quadro's fleeting independent Foreign Policy

When Janio Quadros was elected Brazil's President in October 1960, the USA breathed a sigh of relief because Janio represented Conservative politics at its best in a time when Fidel Castro's revolution in Cuba was turning against their invested interest in Latin America.

Little did the US or anyone else know that Janio Quadro would pursue an independent foreign policy much to the US's chagrin. Janio would not hear of aligning Brazil's Foreign Policy to the US's interests refusing to break diplomatic ties with Cuba for instance.

When Janio Quadros awarded Ernesto 'Che' Guevara with the Order of the Southern Cross, Brazil's highest honour, the US thought it outrageous and started a policy of antagonizing Quadros.

Janio Quadros who was a social Conservative never meant to oppose the USA in the first place but there he was - all of a sudden - the object of US's wrath.

Janio could not sort things out because he actually wasn't prepared to deal with real pressure from such a formidable foe and ended up resigning the Presidency citing 'terrible forces working against him'. Those 'terrible forces' was a veiled hint that the USA was playing it  'too rough'. 

In the end all parties lost. The USA never realized they were dealing with a man with 'no strings attached', that is, Janio Quadros was a man from the Right but he was a 'self-made man'. He actually won the Presidential election on the power of  his sheer histrionic qualities so he was after all an independent player but with no place to hide.

And when push came to shove he could not take it and simply resigned and took off to London thinking maybe he would come back in the arms of the people who elected him.

The vice-president João Goulart was 'vetoed' by the USA and could not take his post as the new President. The reactionary section of the Brazilian Army took power starting a constitutional 'crisis'.

Eventually, the reactionay generals agreed to let Goulart take over but in a Parliamentary system. So Congress had to re-write the Constitution to allow such an expediency to take place.

The whole thing was such a travesty of justice and democracy but then we were in the hight of the Cold War and Latin America was in for a long period of dictatorial rule always aided and abetted by the USA war machine.

Jânio Quadros on the cover of Time 30 June 1961 when it was a little too late to save his government.
At first, Jânio thought he could follow an independent foreign policy...
President Sukarno from Indonesia is shown how wonderful Brasilia, the new city, is.
Sukarno is called 'neutre' in the F&F article, meaning he was not aligned with either the USA or the USSR...
Jânio Quadros condecora o cosmonauta soviético Yuri Gagarin em Brasília.
Janio arrives in Cuba on 29 March 1960 for a 7-day visit. He was still candidate for president. Here Janio listens to Che Guevara, finance minister. The other guys are author Rubem Braga and Marcio Moreira Alves, a journalist.
another shot of the same day with Janio Quadros & Che Guevara in Cuba.
Jânio even thought he could be friendly with the new Cuban government when he received Che Guevara in Brasilia...
 Brasilia, 19 August 1961.
The Order of the Southern Cross is bestowed on Che Guevara.

Che Guevara was not a super-star then but he was pretty handsome.
Cubans had the 'nerve' to pursue an independent foreign policy... and the US saw blood... and we Latinamericans paid a high price in blood, poverty and tirany throughout the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s... actually we're still paying the price of US 'foot-in-the-mouth' policy.  
... and in an 'augenblick... Jânio was no more... he exiled himself & dona Eloá in London...

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