After the Cuban Revolution in 1959, U.S. policy makers worried other left-leaning governments in Latin American could turn into a revolutionary movement. In early 1964, the U.S. did little to stand in the way of a military coup in Brazil that overthrew the democratically elected President Joao Goulart – leading to a 21-year authoritarian dictatorship.
Over time, the U.S. gradually reconsidered it support of the junta, according to James Green, a historian at Brown University. His book We Cannot Remain Silent: Opposition to the Military Dictatorship in the United States investigates how grassroots efforts helped end military violence in Brazil.
Green says clerics, academics and other Brazilians living in the United States started a public relations movement to educate the public about U.S. support for the military regime, and the torture of political prisoners.