10 September 2009

History Repeats Itself: Brazil 1964-Honduras 2009

Mark Cook's got a great comparison over at US media watchdog FAIR's website between what happened in Brazil in 1964 and Honduras on 28 June 2009.

He writes: "In a remarkable replay, bogus charges that the corporate media in the U.S. and Europe have repeated endlessly without attempting to substantiate—that Honduran president Manuel Zelaya sought to amend the country’s constitution to run for another term—are virtually identical to the sham justification for the 1964 coup against Brazilian president João Goulart."

Countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, etc., do indeed have something to be fearful of as "The Brazilian coup, depicted at the time as a victory for constitutional democracy, kicked off a series of extreme right-wing military coups against democratically elected governments throughout the Southern Cone of Latin America and beyond."

The comparisons between Brazil'64 and Honduras'09 are truly staggering: the government overthrown in Brazil was lead by João Goulart, "a wealthy rancher hated by big business for having dramatically raised the minimum wage".

Further, the media performance was also virtually identical: "At the New York Times, which editorially cheered the “peaceful revolution” (4/3/64), influential columnist Arthur Krock (4/3/64) accused Goulart of seeking to “prolong [his term] by removing the constitutional ban against consecutive presidential succession.”

What really happened,” Krock declared, in phrasing repeated almost word for word 45 years later in Honduran coverage, “was the failure of a bid for power, contrary to a fundamental principle of the Brazilian Constitution.” Newsweek (4/6/64) and Time (4/10/64) ran similar allegations, also without providing any evidence."

Media at the time also depicted Goulart "as a “leftist” and ally of Castro". Not only at the time, more recently too: "Forty years after the Brazilian coup, the New York Times (6/23/04) was still running the line that “the armed forces overthrew Mr. Goulart’s government, fearing he intended to install a Cuban-style Communist regime in Brazil.”"

As Cook comments "There was never the slightest evidence that Goulart intended to install a “Cuban-style Communist regime,” any more than that he was attempting to run for another term. As with Zelaya in Honduras, Goulart’s real crime was to use the minimum wage and similar measures to attempt to moderate the extremes of wealth and poverty in his country".

Read the full article at FAIR.

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