Linha Dura

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Linha Dura

Linha Dura (hard line), the term used to characterize the authoritarian views of a faction of young officers (called duristas, or hardliners) in the Brazilian military following the 1964 coup d'état. Aimed first at armed revolutionaries and left-wing political activists, the hard-line was expanded to include union leaders, social workers, journalists, students, and teachers, under the alleged effort to fight communism. The ascendancy of the hard-liners (1968–1974) was heralded on 13 December 1968 by the declaration of Institutional Act 5, which abrogated civil liberties, suspended habeas corpus, adjourned Congress indefinitely, and gave the government discretionary power to purge the bureaucracy, military, universities, and trade unions. The incapacitation by a stroke in 1969 of President Artur da Costa E Silva, who had argued for a quick return to constitutional government, further facilitated the in-house coup known as "the revolution within the revolution." General Emílio Garrastazú de Médici was named president (1969–1974) by the military high command and presided over the most violent and repressive period of the regime. While the economy boomed, arrests, torture, and illegal detention aroused vociferous opposition domestically and internationally. The 1974 inauguration of Ernesto Geisel, who with his colleague General Golbery Couto y Silva represented moderate factions within the military government, marked the beginning of a politics of abertura, or "opening." The strategy of gradual liberalization was repeatedly challenged by hard-liners, but prevailed through a precarious alliance with civil groups, including women's movement organizations, labor organizers, the Brazilian Bar Association, and leaders of the Brazilian Catholic Church. Geisel's dismissal of hard-liner Army Minister Sylvio Frota in 1977 and the amnesties extended to political exiles and prisoners in 1978 and 1979 signaled the ascension of abertura politics and the decline of the hard-line.

See alsoInstitutional Acts .


Peter Flynn, Brazil: A Political Analysis (1978).

Maria Helena Moreira Alves, State and Opposition in Military Brazil (1986).

Alfred Stepan, ed., Democratizing Brazil (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Alonso, Angela Maria. Idéias em movimento: A geração 1870 na crise do Brasil-Império. São Paulo: ANPOCS: Paz e Terra, 2002.

Castro, Celso. Os militares e a república: Um estudo sobre cultura e ação política. São Paulo: Rio de Janeiro: J. Zahar Editor, 1995.

Couto, Ronaldo Costa. História indiscreta da ditadura e da abertura: Brasil: 1964–1985. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Record, 1998.

                                          Francesca Miller