Simmering tensions under the surface, an increasingly authoritarian leadership, and swelling military power cast a shadow over Brazil starting from the mid-1960s. Over the course of the country’s 21-year dictatorship, at least 191 civilian deaths and 234 “disappearances” occurred by the hands of those in power. But the Inter-American Court for Human Rights believes the real number of deaths, many of which went unreported, is actually closer to 1,000 – in addition to the estimated 10,000 Brazilians forced into exile and the more than 50,000 detainees.
Brazil had a high turnover when it came to presidents in the years directly following Vargas’s death. Juscelino Kubitschek oversaw the creation of Brazil’s new political heart, Brasília, and amped the country’s production capacity. But the military’s growing influence on the country’s leadership became evident when his successor, Jânio Quadros, stepped down after a mere seven months in office.
Fears over Brazil’s apparent communist leanings meant that Quadros’ vice-president, João Goulart, held on to the presidency for less than three years.