Analisa-se aspecto importante, mas pouco conhecido, da atuação da United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) no Brasil: a assessoria para treinamento e modernização técnica das corporações policiais. Embora já existisse antes, o programa de assessoria policial foi intensificado após a Revolução Cubana, e reinterpretado à luz das teorias de modernização em voga na década de 1960, que prometiam aos países pobres alternativa de desenvolvimento melhor do que a via revolucionária. O texto procura sintetizar os aspectos mais importantes do funcionamento desse programa - que no Brasil esteve em vigor entre 1960 e 1972 -, buscando compreender os objetivos de ambos os lados envolvidos, com o propósito de evitar apreensões simplificadas.
modernização; anticomunismo; polícia
The article analyses an important but scarcely known aspect of Usaid's activity in Brazil: the advisement in order to train and modernize brazilian police corporations. Although already in activity since the fifties, the programm of police advisory was intensified after the Cuban Revolution and reinterpreted according to the modernization theories that prevailed in the sixties, promising the poor countries a better alternative of development than that offered by the revolutionaries. The text tries to synthesize the main aspects of this program (active in Brazil from 1960 to 1972) and to comprehend the objectives of the both sides involved, in the belief that this approach may help us to avoid superficial assessment.
modernization; anticommunism; police
Modernizing repression: Usaid and the Brazilian police1 1 This text is based on research carried out in the United States National Archives (National Archives and Records Administration, in the unit located in College Park, MD, known as NARA II), while the author was in that country doing post-doctoral research (2006-2007) with a CNPq grant.
Rodrigo Patto Sá Motta
Associate Professor from the Department of History of UFMG and a CNPq and Fapemig researcher. Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Maryland, USA. Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Department of History. Av. Antônio Carlos, 6627 - Pampulha. 31270-901 Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil. email@example.com
The article analyzes an important, but little known, aspect of Usaid's actions in Brazil: the assistance provided for the training and technical modernization of police forces. Although it had been in existence since the 1950s, the police assistance program was intensified after the Cuban Revolution and reinterpreted in light of the modernization theories in vogue in the 1960s, which promised poorer countries better development alternatives than the revolutionary path. This text seeks to synthesize the most important aspects of the program - which was in force in Brazil between 1960 and 1972 -, trying to understand the objectives of both sides involved, with the purpose of avoiding simplified understandings.
Keywords: Modernization; Anti-communism; Police.
The acronym 'Usaid' is well known in Brazil, especially due to the impact of anti-dictatorship protests at the end of the 1960s. In those years the expression was popularized by groups who led street demonstrations against the military government, principally led by students. They protested against the MEC-Usaid agreements, signed by the Brazilian government with the purpose of using US assistance in the reform of third level education. The MEC-Usaid agreements became the principal symbol of the increased US presence in Brazil after the 1964 military coup, thereby providing an important argument for anti-imperialist and anti-American demonstrations.
Nevertheless, the activities in the educational area were only the most visible part of the Usaid's presence in Brazil. The MEC-Usaid agreements gained greater notoriety because they involved an issue that was sensitive to student sectors, the most radicalized social group at that time. As well as educational projects (involving not only third level education, but also primary and secondary, as well as the publication of books), the US government agency financed programs aimed at other areas, including: scientific research, public security, agriculture, public housing, the formation of capital markets and infrastructure works.2 2 In relation to Usaid's activities in Brazil, especially the Alliance for Progress, see Ribeiro, Ricardo A. A Aliança Para o Progresso e as relações Brasil-Estados Unidos. Doctoral dissertation in Political Science, Campinas, Unicamp, 2006. This text will analyze one among the various sectors of Usaid activity in Brazil, a strategic and polemical project, but one that is still little known3 3 It is worth highlighting, among the few studies concerned with this question, the important pioneering work of Martha Huggins, whose research was responsible for the declassification of many of the documents used in this text. However, the author makes a general analysis of Latin America without looking at the Brazilian case in sufficient depth. Moreover, in this text the perspective will differ from Huggins', who over-emphasized the influence of the US, without taking into account the fact that local groups had their own interests and aligned themselves with the US government to defend local agendas. Hug-gins, Martha K. Polícia e política. Relações Estados Unidos/América Latina. São Paulo: Cortez, 1998. : the public security program, responsible for advising and training thousands of Brazilian police officers.
ORIGINS OF USAID
The United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) was created in 1961 to give continuity on an expanded scale to the work of the ICA (International Cooperation Administration), which had been financing projects of interest to the US government in various parts of the world since 1954, always with the justification of helping poor countries. In Brazil ICA's actions were known as the Ponto IV programs,4 4 This is a reference to a famous speech by President Truman in 1949, in the fourth point of which he promised economic aid to underdeveloped countries. For this reason the aid programs initiated in 1950 and incorporated by ICA after 1954 became known as Ponto IV. a term that continued to be used even after the creation of Usaid. In the 1950s the ICA principally funded training activities for rural producers, technical education and the training of primary teachers.5 5 In relation to Usaid's activities in the primary education sector, see Paiva, Edil V.; Paixão, Lea P. PABAEE (1955-1964): a americanização do ensino elementar no Brasil. Niterói: Eduff, 2002. After 1961 Usaid assumed the programs financed by ICA, with the difference that the funds available became larger and the objectives more ambitious, responding to the growing anxieties in Washington in relation to Latin America and Brazil in particular.
The expansion of Usaid's activities in Brazil was due to the role given to it by the US as the spearhead of a nation-building project under the inspiration of modernization theory and the Alliance for Progress program.6 6 See Leacock, Ruth. Requiem for Revolution. The United States and Brazil, 1961-1969. Kent: The Kent State University Press, 1990; and RABE, Stephen G. The most dangerous area in the world. John F. Kennedy confronts communist revolution in Latin America. Chapel Hill: The University of Carolina Press, 1999. For a general overview of Usaid's activities in Brazil see Ribeiro, op. cit. In response to the Cuban Revolution and the danger this represented in terms of communist expansion, Washington launched a wide-scale program of action, involving the stimulation of modernization, but also the financing and training of security forces, both military and police. The key of this policy - including its publicity dimension - was the Alliance for Progress, announced by President John Kennedy in 1961.
The objective was to inject financial and technical resources into Latin America with the aim of stimulating modernization in the hope that this would weaken the appeal of revolution. From the point of view of modernization theories, the communist revolution represented a greater threat in backward areas in which extreme inequality and poverty served to stimulate the radical questioning of social order and politics. The diagnosis was that if backward countries could follow the path of modernization achieving economic development, improved social indicators and political stability, the defenders of revolution would lose their power to convince.
Although the objectives publicized by modernization theories emphasized social and educational advances, there was a leading role in this discursive field for security policies: backward countries had to be given modern repressive forces, capable of confronting the actions of communism. If social and economic modernization were not sufficient to counter the revolution - though according to some theorists the actual advance of modernizing actions would paradoxically intensify social tensions and the subversive risk - military and police forces had to be prepared. This was the reason for the provision of training programs for police and soldiers from backward countries, as well as the sale of equipment and the sending of military advisors to train repressive forces. John F. Kennedy involved himself in the creation of the Usaid police program, using his power to pressurize agency staff who resisted the idea of involving themselves with training security forces.7 7 In a secret letter to the Director of Usaid Kennedy asked the agency to take a more active role in the police program, considered by him to be fundamental in counter-insurgency efforts and the fights against communism. RG 286: 250-60-1-5/6, box 6, file 6. NARA II.
Notwithstanding the grandiloquence of modernization theories with their ambitious and sophisticated rhetoric, the objectives in relation to the security system can be resumed in one basic proposition: establishing an alliance with Brazilian police forces and preventing them from being involved with the rising forces of the left. In other words, guaranteeing that the police would be on the right side at the right time.
FROM GUATEMALA TO BRAZIL
The US government began to train police shortly after the Second World War in the middle of the reconstruction of the defeated countries occupied by its military forces. US police officers were sent to these countries to act as specialists and consultants in the reorganization projects of their respective repressive apparatus.8 8 Cf. Huggins, op. cit., pp.77-87. This initial experience served as the basis for later projects, especially in Latin America and Vietnam, when the dictates of the Cold War created an stronger emphasis on anti-communist objectives. In Latin America the first police training program with US coordination began in Guatemala shortly after the coup against the Jacobo Arbenz government in 1954, to guarantee that the forces of the repressive apparatus would remain vigilant against the left and also defeat any attempts to disrupt the current order.
The program rapidly spread to other states in the continent in which the same risk of possible revolutions was glimpsed. Initially, when the actions were still modest, the Public Security Division of the ICA hired the services of private agencies to coordinate the activities of the police advisors sent to poor countries. However, towards the end of 1962 as the activities in the area had been increased the Office of Public Safety (OPS) was created within Usaid,9 9 Cf. Huggins, op. cit., pp.126-127. which was responsible for administrating the police program.
In Brazil the soundings to sign a police agreement started in 1957 when two specialists came to study the police structure in São Paulo. Shortly after arriving in the city they sent a bad tempered report to their superiors, in which they complained about the administrative confusion and the backwardness of the local police, as well as the cold and lacking of heating in the housing (it was in July, the Brazilian winter). They also questioned the lack of collaboration of US consulate staff, who seemed to want to avoid involving themselves with police questions. Their criticism of the structure of São Paulo's state security would be reiterated later by other specialists in visits to different police departments, and would configure the principle tone of the advice offered to colleagues in Brazil: Brazilian police was weak in relation to the organization and coordination of actions.10 10 The report, dated 11 July 1957, was signed only by Art and Joe, whose full names were Arthur Avignone and Joseph Lingo. As we will see, the latter would return in 1959 and would remain in Brazil until 1962. RG 286: 250-66-3-23, box 12, file 8. NARA II.
At the beginning of 1958 new contact were made, this time involving the Head of the Federal Department of Public Security (Departamento Federal de Segurança Pública - DFSP), General Amaury Kruel. In April 1958 Kruel visited the US and the Public Security Division of the ICA to request the donation of $30,000 worth of equipment through the Ponto IV program. He made the usual profession of anti-communism, to show his communion with the Americans' purposes, and explained that the equipment would be used to modernize his department. The main objective was to create a national archive and identification system based in DFSP, with the aim of facilitating the coordination of repression of communism in Brazil, although the service could also be used to repress common criminals. Moreover, he also wanted more sophisticated communications and transport equipment to make police work more efficient.
To understand Kruel's position it is important to clarify that the state police had autonomy in relation to DFSP in such a way that the adjective federal in the name of the agency meant little more than police control over the Federal District. Since the second half of the 1930s state police had cooperated with the Federal District police in the field of political repression, especially in regard to exchanging information, but they also kept their autonomy and coordination was sparse and not very efficient. Also in 1958 a National Police Conference was held, one of whose objectives was to increase cooperation and DFSP's capacity to interfere in police agencies in the states. However, this was not very fruitful since the most powerful states would not accept to submit their police to federal control.11 11 See Motta, Rodrigo Patto Sá. O ofício das sombras. Revista do Arquivo Público Mineiro. Ano XLII, no. 1, January-June 2006. Belo Horizonte, APM, pp.52-67. As a result, one of the reasons Kruel wanted better equipment was to have a trump card in his struggle to centralize police work and to submit it to the command of DFSP.
In the conversation in Washington the Americans subtly suggested that such modern material would require the presence of US specialists to install it and to train Brazilians... In reply Kruel thanked them but said that it would not be necessary to send the specialists, he only wanted the equipment. The US staff left it clear that the initial intention of Usaid was to offer technical resources for training and any eventual donations of equipment would only be implemented if there was a broader cooperation agreement. Furthermore, it would also be necessary to include state police, and this was delicate due to the peculiar relations of DFSP with state bodies.
In June 1958 these attempts continued with the visit to Rio de Janeiro of a high ranking Usaid employee from the security area, Herbert Hardin. He made an official visit to Kruel and once again clarified, though diplomatically, that the desired equipment would only reach Brazil as part of a wide-ranging agreement, involving technical cooperation and the sending of US advisors. In the documents they produced about these negotiations the US officials designed a strategy to persuade the Brazilian authorities. First, and most important, make the meeting of the demand for equipment dependant on the sending of US advisors. Second, organize visits to the United States and to local police facilities for Brazilian authorities holding posts of command in the police, in an attempt to make the seductive power of the American way work. Emphasize the technical aspect of the proposal and elude the political intentions that underlay it, in order to dribble difficulties and resistance in Brazilian government and society, as well as any campaigns against it on the part of the left. Start the program on a modest scale at the beginning, in other words, start slowly, to consolidate it little by little and to overcome barriers.12 12 The date used in this paragraph and the previous one from obtained from RG 286: 250-66-3-23, box 12, file 8. NARA II.
The soundings carried out in 1958 must have left US authorities confident of the possibility of an agreement, since in the Usaid budget from 1959 resources were allocated to pay for another exploration mission in Brazil, this time a more wide-ranging one. Led by the police advisor Joseph Lingo,13 13 The visit of Lingo and his group in 1959 was made possible thanks to the use of funds originally destined for the police program in Bolivia. RG 286: 150-41-23-7/4, box 1. NARA II. who had visited São Paulo in 1957, the group arrived in Rio in February 1959, with the mission of carrying out a new round of negotiations and making contact with police authorities in the most important states. Lingo was instructed to accept some of the Brazilian demands for equipment, as a strategy to achieve a more long-lasting agreement, or in expression of a Usaid official to 'get a foot in the door'. In a conversation with Lingo at this time Kruel agreed that it was necessary to carry out a study about the police in Brazil and promised to help, including with staff. But there was discrepancy about one point. The Americans wanted to publicize the visit and the agreement, however Kruel left if clear that this was not convenient at that time. The Americans wanted publicity due to their strategy of creating stronger relations with the Brazilian authorities and convincing the public that they were concerned with helping. Kruel appeared to be concerned with political repercussions and criticism from nationalists and the left, and preferred a more discrete arrangement...14 14 RG 286: 150-41-23-7/4, box 1. NARA II.
Counting on the support of the Federal authorities during the first half of 1959 Joseph Lingo and his team held meetings and made a research tour of the principal Brazilian regions, which proved to be an opportunity to expand contacts and to interest state authorities in the project. In May he wrote a report saying that he had encountered significant interest in the São Paulo and Minas Gerais police, while other state governments were starting to give similar signs. He asked his superiors for agility in the making of decisions so that the positive moment would not be lost due to bureaucratic delays. This resulted in the first official agreements and the formal beginning of cooperation, with the sending of six advisors at the beginning of 1960 to work in five states15 15 Pernambuco was in the first group of participants, but following the election of Miguel Arraes at the end of 1962 the police program was closed down in that state at the beginning of 1963, for reasons that were clearly political. After the 1964 coup and the removal of Arraes, American advisors returned to Recife. and the Federal District. Joseph Lingo became the first head of the police mission in Brazil, being succeeded by Frank Jessup, and later by Theodore Brown.
This detailed summary of the discussions between Brazilians and Americans was intended to show that the scenario was much more complex than the image of Brazil as the ingenuous victim of imperialism. Part of the Brazilian elite desired the help of the United States to fight against groups that threatened order, because they found in that country a source of resources and aid to use against the enemy.16 16 The same can be said for other countries: police from Ecuador asked to learn how to disarm bombs in the Inter-American Police Academy (Iapa), something that had not initially been foreseen (RG 286: 250-60-1-5/6, box 6, file 6. NARA II), while Bolivian military officers demanded more classes on issues related to the anti-communist struggle (RG 286: 250-63-4-7, box 6, file 9. NARA II). American aid and the signing of cooperation agreements, including the presence of Usaid and its specialists, including the police, was possible thanks to the convergence of discourses and interests: maintain order, fight communism, modernize.
Police authorities wanted to receive communications equipment (radios, communications centers), automobiles equipped with radios, technology to set up investigation laboratories, information processing centers and auxiliary utensils such as tear gas grenades, truncheons and handcuffs. Weapons were also welcome, however Usaid preferred to avoid involving itself directly with weapons through legal channels and suggested to the Brazilians responsible that they import the equipment by other means.17 17 One of the US specialists (Lauren Goin) suggested to the Brazilians that shotguns would be more suitable for the fight against guerrillas than submachine guns and encouraged them to import the arms or produce them in Brazil. However, the question of armaments was a delicate subject since it was considered outside the agreements involving Usaid, for which reason Goin avoided mentioning it in official reports. RG 286: 250-66/3/01, box 20, file 3. NARA II. Initially some Brazilian officials were hesitant to accept the presence of US specialists, but this was a requirement of the US government, who wanted its advisors in the area to monitor the situation and to obtain information - and also to provide the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) with the opportunity to recruit valuable collaborators. After two years of negotiations and talks an agreement was reached in which it can be said that both sides made concessions: Brazilian officials agreed to the idea of technical cooperation and training, as well as advisors, while US officials agreed to increase the amount of equipment to be sent. In the budgets prepared by ICA-Usaid for the initial years, between 1960 and 1964, the funds allocated for commodities corresponded to approximately 50% of resources.
As well as the equipment, there was another attraction in the alliance from the point of view of Brazilian police: the possibility of travelling abroad for training courses, preferentially to the United States. It is worth mentioning that these trips produced expectations that went beyond the professional sphere: for many they were their only chance to travel and to get to know other countries. From a professional point of view these trips could be a source of learning, since the courses focused on patrol techniques, the control of munities, interrogations, the use of radio, etc. But they also brought prestige and power, since anyone who could show international experience on their curriculum, irrespective of the effective learning during the course, would get points for their career. This was one of the reasons why police officers disputed the opportunity to go on courses abroad, such as the Delegado from São João Del Rey in Minas Gerais, who wrote to Ambassador Lincoln Gordon requesting help. Saying he was a "visceral anti-communist for principals of his Christian and ideological formation", the police officer affirmed his interest in getting to know the methods of the American police for repressing "harmful activities", and asked the Embassy to pay for his fare and to indicate an institute where he could get this experience.18 18 The letter, dated 17 February 1962, was signed by Delegado Christovão Dias. RG: 286: 150-41-25/27, box 142. NARAII. Curiously the Delegado wrote directly to US authorities and not to his superiors, which created an uncomfortable situation for the former, who ended up forwarding the letter to the Department of Security of Minas Gerais to avoid greater embarrassment and replied to the correspondent that the only way to go on a course in the US was through the formal agreement existing with the government of Minas Gerais.
BEGINNING OF THE PROGRAM IN BRAZIL: DAN MITRIONE
Among the six police officers in the first groups of advisors that came to Brazil in 1960 was someone who would become famous: Daniel A. Mitrione, or simply Dan Mitrione. After making a career for himself in Brazil and acting as an instructor for Latin American police in Washington, he was sent to Uruguay as an advisor at the service of Usaid. In August 1970 the Tupamaros, a Uruguayan group with revolutionary nationalist ideals, kidnapped and killed Mitrione, after fruitless negotiations to exchange him for political prisoners. The guerilla action had a great impact and served to throw some light on the role of the US in training police forces in third world countries, publicity intensified thanks to the repercussion of the film State of Siege by Costa-Gavras, which recreated the story of Dan Mitrione.
However, in 1960 the corpulent US 'cop' was still an obscure ICA contractor sent to Belo Horizonte to train police in Minas Gerais and to attract them to the 'right side' of the Cold War. The numerous reports sent by Mitrione back to the US help us gain an idea of the feverous activities of police officers on service for Usaid in Brazil.
Curiously, at the beginning the work also demanded the use of public relations strategies to overcome distrust and reticence on the part of many Brazilians, including the police, to accept the opportunity to accept US interference.19 19 At the end of 1961, in a satisfied tone, Mitrione registered for his bosses the comment of an official from Minas, who he said had initially been distrustful of US objectives, but who had been convinced afterwards that the aid was positive and well intentioned. A few days afterwards, Mitrione sent a new manifestation of his contentedness to his bosses: in November 1961 during the unloading of material donated by the program the equipment was left on the street in from of the Department of Security. People gathered to watch and they were all able to see the emblem of the Alliance for Progress printed on the boxes, the famous drawing of shaking hands. RG 286: 150-41-25/27, box 142. NARA II. Moreover, as has already been observed, moved by the logic of the Cold War, the US sought to give publicity to the police agreements. For this reason, to the contrary of the mysterious character killed in Montevideo in 1970, the Mitrione who worked in Belo Horizonte often appeared in the press. Various photos of him were published between 1960 and 1962 alongside civil and police authorities, both taking part in events and delivering the coveted equipment to Brazilians (Figure 1). Even the image of his family served the needs of public relations work, appearing in photos that humanized the Yankee police officer. Nothing was more sympathetic to the 'Mineiro' public than an austere official surrounded by his numerous offspring (he had seven children then).
The public activities of Mitrione in Minas Gerais are difficult to combine with the image of the sinister torturer, although the police were naturally trained for repressive activities: he gave talks on the use of tear gas, taught riot control techniques and showed how to efficiently use truncheons. Films were used to give talks dynamism and he also circulated around the interior of the state. Mitrione was also concerned with less emotional and more routine subjects, such as changes in police uniforms and the improvement of traffic control rules. Realizing the interest of his colleagues from Minas in learning modern automobile traffic techniques, and wanting to increase his own value, he asked his superiors to send him a specific course on the subject from the US.
Some reports speak of Mitrione using beggars as guinea pigs to teach torture in his passage through Belo Horizonte, but other sources deny that this story has any basis. Anyway, he had left Brazil before the acute phase of police repression began.21 21 The information about Mitrione teaching torture in Brazil was registered in the book Brasil Nunca Mais (20 ed. Petrópolis: Vozes, 1987, p.32), while opinions which doubted this version can be found in Langguth, A. J. A face oculta do terror. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1979. In the middle of the paperwork sent by Mitrione there is, none the less, a suspect record, which leaves the presence of clandestine activities. He invited the heads of the civil police and the polícia militar (gendarmerie) to send officials to a course on bombs that was being given in Rio by a certain Longan, a member of the Usaid police mission.22 22 RG: 286: 150-41-25/27, box 142. NARAII.
Anyway it is rather improbable that the US advisors were an important source of teaching in the field of torture at the beginning of the 1960s. Brazilian police had widespread experience in this field and perhaps had more to teach their US colleagues, at least at this time before the experience of Vietnam. The greatest US help in this area might have been the supply of portable radios, which as well as serving for communication, were used as sources of electricity to give shocks to prisoners. In this case the advisors could have helped, providing information about how to modulate the electric discharges to obtain efficient results.
One of Mitrione's principal tasks was to intermediate the sending of the equipment coveted by the Brazilian police. However, he and the other US advisors had another strategic occupation: selecting the police officers who would be sent for training abroad. From the perspective of US planners the key-point of the program was the presence of advisors at the location, but the sending of native police officers for training in US facilities was also a priority. In these courses teaching would be provided, ties would be strengthened, and if possible US values would be absorbed, in such a way that police leaders would become bulwarks in the fight against communism and in friendship with the US. These trips also provided better opportunities for recruitment by information agencies. It was also a form of seducing important people in police structures, for which reason Mitrione had to give English classes to one of the Minas police chiefs so that he could take better advantage of his trip to the US.23 23 According to Mitrione he gave classes for two months (always after work at 17:30) to Zaluar Henriques, Head of the Traffic Department. RG: 286: 150-41-25/27, box 142. NARAII. However, for the common police officers, who were not being sent on public relations trips, but to be trained, fluency in English was required for courses in the US, and advisors such as Mitrione had to give aptitude tests and select the best prepared.
THE ACADEMIES AND THE 'FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE'
These police officers had various destinies, including some US universities. However, between 1962 and 1964 many were sent to Panamá, where Usaid set up the Inter-American Police Academy (Iapa). In September 1962 the Secretary of State Dean Rusk summarized the aims of the recently founded school: increase the capacity of Latin American police to maintain order and stability, a condition necessary to allow the social, economic and political development of the region.24 24 Rusk also said that the courses offered by Iapa should emphasize the need to respect individual rights. His concern may have been related to his democratic convictions, but principally with his pragmatism. We will return to this question later. RG 286: 250-60-1-5/6, box 1, file 2. NARA II.
Iapa's courses took place inside the US military complex in the Canal Zone in facilities ceded by the command of the Armed Forces (Fort Davis). The course lasted three months and the subjects included riot control, counter-intelligence, counter-insurgence, international communism, public relations, investigations, basic police operations, border control, urban traffic, shooting classes, handling of explosives and physical exercises. There was also a specific class for high ranking police officers that lasted five weeks called the Conference on Internal Security. It was designed to give greater emphasis to the doctrine and techniques of fighting communism, and its level was more advanced due to the higher rank of the students.25 25 Information about Iapa was obtained in RG 286: 250-60-1-5/6, box 3, files 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6; RG 286: 250-60-1-5/6, box 1, file 2 NARA II. Iapa classes were given in Spanish and at times some students were invited to remain temporarily as auxiliary instructors, in a way of complementing the technical staff of the school and also giving prestige to the police forces of friendly countries.26 26 One of those invited was the Brazilian police officer Lieutenant Saraiva. RG 286: 250-67-1-6, box 2, file 2.
The concept that underlay the training of police officers was that they formed the 'first line of defense' against communism. According to this strategic design, civilian security forces should be the first to combat subversives, repressing strikes and other forms of collective disobedience. Moreover, they were responsible for carrying out another fundamental task: producing information about revolutionary leaders and organizations, indispensible material for efficient repression. Only in the event that the police apparatus was found to be insufficient should the Armed Forces be mobilized against the revolutionaries, and in this case they would be responsible for the general-coordination of repressive activities. This concept was used to convince the US Military Command of the importance of also training police officers. Theodore Brown, Director of Iapa (and afterwards head of the program in Brazil), gave a lecture to the commands of the US Armed Forces in the South Atlantic where he presented this concept. Interested in gaining military support for the project, Brown made great efforts to convince them that spending money to train police officers was useful and convergent with military efforts to defeat the Sino-Soviet enemy. Acting as the primary line of defense, police officers would carry out the preventive work of vigilance that would allow the military to concentrate on their principal target: the fighting of large-scale insurrections.27 27 Brown's lecture was given in September 1963. It is long and very interesting to understand the concepts that underlay the police program. It is worth noting that the military cooperated a lot, ceding facilities for the creation of Iapa in Panama (Fort Davis), as well as some training material. Brown requested that some Latin American police officers could take part in counter-insurgency courses with the military of the 'School of the Americas', but General O'Meara (Commander of the US forces in the Caribbean) responded evasively, because his staff were overburdened and it would be difficult to accept more students. RG 286: 250-60-1-5/6, box 3, file 4 and box 7, file 1. NARA II.
This strategic conception in which the police composed the first line of defense in the fight, was also taught in the courses and training provided for Latin Americans. To assist in this student indoctrination work Usaid financed the production of a film to be used in training that was entitled The First Line of Defense. It was shot in Panama at the end of 1963, with a sophisticated production and the use of 1500 extras, including US soldiers, Panamanians and Latin-American students from Iapa, most of whom played the role of strikers and rebels. Although US soldiers were used as extras and actors, care was taken to avoid the appearance of symbols or indications that made reference to the US. In the film the strategic conception of the Usaid police program is developed in relation to the fictitious case of the Republic of San Martin which threatened by radical strikers and Castroist guerrilleros, at the end is saved from communism by the combined efficient actions of police and military forces.29 29 As the film director explained in a report, he sought to follow the instructions of Washington to make the rebellion in San Martin be quite serious in order to make the military intervention appear natural and logical. The film was completed at the beginning of 1964. RG 286: 250-60-1-5/6, box 3, file 6. NARA II.
At the end of 1963 Usaid decided to create a new training institution, this time on US soil and with a different profile from Iapa. The new school, called the International Police Academy (IPA) was designed to provide courses for high ranking police officers, in response to the criticisms of some Latin American majors and colonels about the level of the Panamanian courses, which were very elementary in their opinion. IPA gave more emphasis to subjects related to counter-insurgency and the control of disturbances, in other words it had a stronger politico-repressive format, and the classes were in English. Another novelty was the presence of students from other parts of the world, although the striking concern with Latin America remained. Significantly the emphasis on training high-ranking officers for internal security work and oppression was omitted from the publicity material released by Usaid, which preferred to highlight the concern with offering training aimed at "maintaining public order with a minimal use of force".30 30 Usaid press release entitled: "AID establishing police school for foreign police", on 30/11/1963. RG 286: 250-60-1-5/6, box 3, file 3. In fact, in all the official publicity about police courses there is always a tendency to omit the emphasis on training for counter subversion, while to the contrary in internal discussions the theme is highlighted and is the most important objective of the programs.
Iapa was deactivated in April 1964, probably due to the tense political climate in Panama after the eruption of violent anti-American protests in January of that year.31 31 The argument that that the closing of Iapa was due to the conflict in Panama is only a hypothesis, but it is plausible due to the speed at which the decision was made, something uncommon in the Usaid bureaucracy. In November 1963 the agency was still publishing publicity material about its courses in Panama, which is evidence that it was a political question. In the April 1964 report the Director of Iapa spoke of the closure as something sad and dolorous, and although he did not mention the reasons, it seems clear that it was the result of the decisions of superiors. RG 286: 250-60-1-5/6, box 1, file 2. NARA II. The courses offered in Panama were transferred to Washington as part of the activities of the recently created International Police Academy (IPA). During the two years it operated in Fort Davis in Panama Iapa trained 789 police officers from 16 Latin-American countries. The presence of Brazilians on the courses given both in Panama and in the US was significant and would be expanded the following years as a result of political changes in the country after 1964.
FROM THE GOLDEN YEARS TO CRISIS
After the 1964 coup and the creation of the military regime the Usaid police program intensified, as well as the US presence in Brazil. In April of that year the head of the police advisors, Frank Jessup, wrote a report in an euphoric tone, commemorating the fact that the eight states where they had operated the authorities had opted for the 'right side', in other words they had supported the coup. He also bragged that the left had given little attention to the presence of police advisors during the Goulart government, preferring to concentrate their attacks on Ambassador Lincoln Gordon.32 32 The self-commemorative tone of Jessup's report is in part explained by its defensive character. Headquarters had requested explanations about episodes of police violence in Bahia during the coup, which had attracted bad publicity, and also wanted clarifications about the position of Usaid advisors. Jessup said that the Bahian police had not been trained in riot control techniques, which was why the violence had been excessive. In other words when positive things happened, the merit was theirs, but when the police committed excesses of violence the Brazilians were at fault. RG 286: 250-66-3-23, box 14, file 3. NARA II.
Once the forces hostile to the US presence had been removed, and with the ascension of one of the most pro-American governments in Brazilian history (the Castelo Branco administration), the Usaid police program experienced a notable expansion. Taking advantage of the favorable political climate Ambassador Gordon not only gave his approval, but encouraged Usaid to sign agreements with states that had been reluctant until then, such as Pernambuco, whose new governor requested the inclusion (in fact the return) of his state in the program.33 33 In January 1965 Gordon participated in a meeting in Washington with the heads of the OPS, including Byron Engle and Theodore Brown. He agreed with the need to expand the program and promised help to obtain the necessary financial resources. He went further and made a suggestion, saying that the police were prepared to deal with urban guerillas, but would be taken by surprise if there were guerillas in the countryside. Engle explained that this was outside the scope of police actions and would be a task for the military to deal with. RG 286: 250-66-3-23, box 15, file 9. NARA II. At the moment of the peak of the project in 1967 there were 23 US police advisors in Brazil, operating in 15 states and the Federal District.
In Brasilia the advisors principally worked with the Federal Police Department (DPF), an agency that was reorganized after 1964 and transformed into an effective police force with a national scope, something its predecessor (DFSP) never managed to be. Usaid collaborated with DPF in the creation of strategically important institutions such as the National Police Academy, the National Identification Institute, the National Criminalistic Institute and the Center of Communications Training. Its aid involved financial support, training of police officers and advisory services for police chiefs.34 34 RG 286: 250-66-3-23, box 18, file 3. NARA II. In their reports the Americans took pride in the institutional growth of the DPF, the real 'apple of their eyes', and claimed much responsibility for the positive results achieved. When accusations of torture created political problems for the US, they began, as we shall see, to emphasize that the Federal Police was not involved in the accusations, as if they had not provided training to the state police as well.
However, the golden period of the program proved fleeting and things began to change in 1967 due to the wave of anti-dictatorship and anti-American protests, which made the political equation of the Brazilian situation more complex for the US. The American project for Brazil had involved the idea of political stability and a moderate level of political repression, compatible with official discourse and the beliefs of some Democratic intellectuals at the service of the State Department. The increase in state political violence and the emergence of street protests were not in the script and brought headaches.
There are various elements that have to be considered here to understand the US position. On the one hand, they did not want Brazil to be 'excessive' in political violence because of international opinion and above all the public opinion in the US, which had been convinced to support the international activities of its government on the basis of the defense of democracy and freedom. It was difficult to explain why the allies of the 'free world' created dictatorships and tortured their opponents, the type of thing that was attributed to the other side.
However, there was also concern with the impact on Brazilian society which could have reacted badly to the increase of state violence and become more sympathetic to the forces of opposition.35 35 A few days before the 1964 coup the US Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, sent a memorandum to those responsible for the police program, emphasizing the need to train police officers to treat the population humanly and in a dignified fashion, under the penalty of losing their support and seeing the influence of insurgent forces increase. RG 286: 250-67-1-6, box 1, file 8. NARA II. The fears of US Democratic politicians and intellectuals did not have an essentially ideological motivation, but rather a practical one: they feared that dictatorial radicalization would favor the revolutionary left, since the resort to arms could be seen as the only alternative for opposition forces. Simply put the Democratic administration was willing to support coups and coercive regimes, and consequently the repression of communists and revolutionaries. However, it preferred military forces to use only the necessary amount of force, avoiding excessive repression that would be counterproductive for the purposes of the 'free world'.36 36 It is worth noting the existence of divergences between the members of the US mission in Brazil; among them there was also a 'hardline', notwithstanding the prevalence of the rhetoric of Democratic intellectuals until 1969 at least, when the Republicans assumed power. Thus, the Castelo Branco administration was the nearest to meeting American expectations, both in relation to moderate repression and also in relation to a more liberal approach to economic policy.
Since 1965 US representatives had seen the clouds gathering on the horizon, with the appearance of signals that the idyll of the initial years of Castelo Branco would not last. That year saw the first cases of bombs being places in officer of US consulates and agencies. In most the episodes the explosives were small, and for this reasons some did not become public knowledge. However, the 1967 student protests brought the question of Anti-Americanism (Anti-Imperialism) to the streets, with the burning of US flags assuming a strong symbolic act. Many American flags were burned in Brazil between 1967 and 1968, in the middle of slogans against the MEC-Usaid agreements.
This scenario explains why from 1967 onwards some American authorities began to propose the reduction of their presence in Brazil. At the beginning it was a timid movement, and heavily questioned within the State Department. However, with the worsening of the political scenario in 1969-70 the pressure for cutbacks, especially in the police area, became very strong, finally leading to the decision to close the Usaid Office of Public Security.
At the end of 1967 Ambassador Tuthill started the process by implementing a staff reduction project called Operation Topsy,37 37 See Leacock, op. cit., p.241. in which the police program was cut from 23 to 18 advisors. In the middle of 1968 Tuthill found a reason to become even more concerned when the police invaded the University of Brasilia and beat students after an anti-American demonstration. The Ambassador has a bitter discussion with one of the police advisors based in the Federal District and threatened to dismiss him and close the program in Brazil, which generated an internal crisis and many discussions. In Tuthill's opinion there was a serious political risk for the US government, since Brazilian political opinion could become very critical in relation to the military government and sensitive to anti-American arguments. In this context the connection between the US government and the Brazilian police had become a political liability, in other words, a political embarrassment.38 38 RG 286: 250-66-3-23, box 15, file 8. NARA II.
Some meetings were held to discuss the possible cancellation of the police agreements, both in Brazil and Washington, but Tuthill's opinion was a minority among the officials on the diplomatic mission and he appears to have backed down.39 39 In the internal language of the police advisors the members of the diplomatic mission who wanted to close the program were the 'bad guys'. RG: 286-250- 66 /3/01, box 20, file 5. NARA II. In the middle of many evaluations made by the American mission in Brazil, someone made a rather malicious suggestion: remove the Usaid and Alliance for Progress Symbols from the equipment given to the police. This detail is symptomatic, since it reveals how things had changed since the beginning of the program, when the emblem of Usaid and the Alliance for Progress were displayed with pride and used as publicity among Brazilians.
At the end of 1968 new problems emerged to give the Americans sleepless nights, above all the death of Captain Charles Chandler, executed by a guerrilla command on 12 October 1968, and the issuing of AI5 on 13 December of the same year. The Chandler case created consternation, but above all concern, in the group of police advisors, since they could also become targets. They participated in the investigations and identified the arms used, sending the material to the FBI's crime laboratories. After the Chandler case, but principally after the kidnapping of Ambassador Charles Elbrick in September 1969, the Usaid police advisors saw their work increase considerably, since they came to have their attributes connected to the security of US authorities in Brazil.
In the case of AI5 the American diplomats found themselves facing a more serious political problems and a delicate solution. The majority opinion among the US representatives in Brazil was opposed to the Act, and in an internal document Secretary of State Dean Rusk showed that he was disappointed and concerned. The opinion was that AI5 was an overreaction to the challenges posed by the opposition, and could lead Brazil down a one-way street to a violent dictatorship, with unpredictable and dangerous results (including stimulating leftwing violence and future revolutions). The diplomats were instructed to try to convince the Brazilian authorities to moderate their actions, and in the short term some timid actions were taken to demonstrate US disapproval, such as the cutting of part of the financial aid and the embargoing of the sale of military aircraft. However, stronger and harsher actions against the Brazilian government were avoided, justified once again with pragmatic arguments.40 40 Telegram sent to the Embassy on 19 December 1968. RG 59, box 1900, file 1. NARA II.
As a result of the negative reactions to AI5 in the US, pressure to reduce the scope of the police program became more intense. A further reduction in the number of advisors was planned for 1969 (from 18 to 13), due to a state department program (Balpa) aimed at reducing diplomatic representations in some countries to cut costs and soften the US presence. But there were pressures to reduce them still further, and the then head of OPS in Brazil, Theodore Brown, was asked to prepare a study on the impact of AI5 and its implications for the police program, evaluating the possibility of its immediate closing. In his report, as was expected, Brown said that the was best for US interests was to maintain the program, since a unilateral breach would generate an anti-American reaction among Brazilian authorities and prevent the maturing results from being completed.41 41 RG: 286: 250-66/3/01, box 20, file 5. NARA II.
Although they had managed to save the program, the police advisors had to make some changes, and for this reason it was decided to concentrate efforts in the Federal Police Department (Departamento de Polícia Federal - DPF) so in the future the latter could take responsibility for training state police, substituting Usaid to a certain extent. An additional advantage was that DPF was less involved in political repression, which diminished political risks, and on the other hand this would allow them to concentrate more people in Brasilia, facilitating security. Therefore, it was decided that of the 13 advisors remaining in 1969, seven would stay in Brasilia with DPF, while the other six would remain in the states.
During the 1970s there was a real bureaucratic battle within the State Department between those favorable to the maintenance of the police program in Brazil, generally OPS staff and some other allies in Usaid and the Embassy, and the group that wanted to close the project quickly, almost always career diplomats. At the beginning of the year they suffered a new wave of pressure due to articles published in the US press about torture in Brazil, and had to prepare more reports defending themselves from the accusations, using the following argument: the DPF was not involved in cases of political violence, while the advisors were a moderating force, since they emphasized modern and humane methods. Their departure from Brazil would be worse, since repression might intensify in their absence.42 42 RG: 286: 250-66/3/01, box 20, file 3. NARA II. To defend their positions they prepared a list comparing the names of accused torturers and the police officers involved in Usaid training to conclude that the number of 'trainees' accused of torture was insignificant.
In the middle of this scenario the death of Mitrione in Montevideo took place (in August 1970), which has terrible repercussions by exposing the presence of American police officers in countries marked by political violence. Around a month after the death of Mitrione, the "Ambassador and his team took the political decision of accelerating the reduction of the group of Public Security advisors in the expectation that this course of action would reduce both personal and political risks" 43 43 RG 286: 250-66-3-23, box 12, file 8. NARA II. for the United States. It was decided to reduce the team of advisors to six the following year (1971), with the final closing of the program being stipulated for June 1973.
Shortly afterwards the new Ambassador to Brazil, William Rountree, arrived in the country and decided to hasten the departure of the advisors. In December 1970 he ordered that three of the six remaining specialists would leave at the end of 1971 and the final three in June 1972, thereby ending the participation of Usaid in the training of Brazilian police.44 44 RG 286: 250-66-3-23, box 18, file 3. NARA II. Defeated in their attempt to remain in Brazil the heads of OPS decided to send their maximum representative in the country, the experienced Theodore Brown, who had already been the Director of the Police Academy in Panama (Iapa), to command a similar program run in South Vietnam.
However, the leaders of the Usaid police program did not give up easily and continued fighting to save something, especially because pressure from the US threatened the survival of the project in other countries as well. For this reason they joined battle to construct the significance of the death of Mitrione, trying to delegitimize the discourse that presented him as a torturer by showing him as a dignified defender of freedom and the victim of terrorist rage. Artists such as Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis gave shows in honor of him in the United States and in Belo Horizonte the municipality named a street after him in his memory, an event that was duly exploited in the American media.45 45 See Motta, Rodrigo Patto Sá. Professor de repressão. Revista de História da Biblioteca Nacional. Rio de Janeiro, no. 34, July 2008, pp.54-58.
Despite their efforts and persistence,46 46 In February 1974 Lauren Goin, the new head of OPS, still tried to interest the US Ambassador (Crimmins) in sending police officers for the IPA, although the program had been closed in Brazil since 1972. However, the head of diplomatic representation in Brazil paid no attention. RG: 286: 250-66/3/01, box 20, file 3. NARA II. those responsible for the Usaid police program were defeated, in this battle at least. Around a year after the departure of the last police advisors from Brazil (they left in the middle of 1972), the US Congress decided to close down the program everywhere. After a parliamentary debate in which the Democratic senators Frank Church, James Abourezk and Ted Kennedy played a leading role, permeated by statements to Congress from some of those responsible for the police program and visits from parliamentarians from 'advised' countries, the termination of the Usaid police program was approved in 1974.47 47 See Huggins, op. cit., pp.225-227.
It is now fitting to give a brief overview of the impact of this program in Brazil and make some provisional reflections on its results. Between 1960 and 1972 around 800 Brazilian police officers (both from the civil police and the gendarmerie) were sent on courses offered (or paid) by Usaid, most on US soil (the number of Brazilian students who studied in Iapa in Panama did not pass 100).48 48 It is worth noting that we are referring to the training of police officers and not FFAA officers, who were sent to other facilities. In the US reports there appear different numbers for the amount of Brazilian police officers sent abroad, varying from 650 to 850, but the lowest estimates generally do not include those sent to Panama. In the final report on the program, however, T. Brown precisely stated that 857 had been sent to Panama and the United States since 1960, which appears to be the most reliable number. As well as the group trained abroad, a much larger number of police officers received some type of training from American advisors in Brazil: approximately 100,000.
It is not a simple task to evaluate the effect of the training received by Brazilian police officers and to understand how the classes and techniques were appropriated by these 'students'. There are reports about difficulties in understanding classes in English or Spanish in courses abroad, as well as criticism of the elementary nature of some of the classes given. Moreover, as has been said, sometimes these courses were coveted less for their intrinsic quality and more for being source of status and support for progression in the police career. Anyway, this question requires further research, which should start from the principle that the simple existence of training does not imply automatic learning in accordance with the expectation of the teachers.49 49 Another interesting question of a similar nature to the history of the reception of American influence in relation to public security polices is to evaluate their effect on the population. It was intended to make the police more prepared for repression and to scare the enemies of order. However, a curious fact was observed in Belo Horizonte at the beginning of 1964 when the police used the equipment and tactics to break up a street demonstration for the first time. According to journalistic sources the confusion was calming down and the people were dispersing but when the police arrived with their new paraphernalia and sophisticated maneuvers (principally a pincer shaped formation), people began to gather together again, curious about the novelties. Cf. "Novos métodos usados pela PM retiveram a multidão em vez de dispersá-la". Diário da Tarde, 13 Mar. 1964, p.1. I would like to thank Samuel Oliveira for this information. If we were going to base ourselves on the comments of the US advisors, we would find in their reports both praise and criticism of the repressive operations carried out by the Brazilian police, which suggests that they were not entirely satisfied with the performance of their pupils.50 50 For example, a report from Theodore Brown criticizes the actions of Rio de Janeiro police in the street protests in April 1968, when mounted police surrounded a group of demonstrators in front of Candelária Church. As well as the terrible publicity attracted by the action (made famous in instant photos), he also criticized the bad distribution of troops and the exaggerated use of force. RG 286: 250-66/3/01, box 20, file 5.
While the evaluation of the impact of training for the rank and file police is a complex task, perceiving the effect of US influence on the actions of the police command is easier. It seems clear that in the 1960s and 1970s police forces began to invest more in public relations and civic and social actions, and these were important themes in the courses offered by the US. Similarly, the emphasis of US advisors in coordinating and planning repressive actions - as well as efficiency in the use of task forces involving agents from different police forces - significantly influenced the Brazilian command. In relation to this there are authors51 51 See Huggins, op. cit., pp.176-177. who believe that there was US influence in the design of Operation Bandeirantes and DOI-Codi, whose argument seems quite plausible.52 52 Some authors believe that the basis of Oban and the later DOI-Codi system were originally discussed in the First Internal Security Seminar, held in the National Police Academy of the DPF (with the event serving as the inaugural act of the Academy) between 6 - 8 February 1969, which brought together commanders of the gendarmerie and regional divisions of the DPF. According to US embassy records, the event organized by the Inspector General of the Gendarmerie (Gen. Carlos Meira Matos) and the DPF counted on the assistance of OPS-Usaid advisors. RG 59, box 1909. NARA II.
Another significant result of the Usaid police program in Brazil was the increase in the equipment available to Brazilian repressive forces. Investigation laboratories, training centers, and telecommunications centers were set up, while radio patrol cars, portable radios and a series of other items for the personal use of police officers (handcuffs, gas launchers, etc.) were purchased. A 1972 report, at the moment when the Usaid police program in Brazil was closed down, estimated total expenditure on public security at US$8.5 million during the 12 years of the project, with approximately 40% of the funds being used in the purchase of equipment and supplies. The Brazilian government invested still further resources under the scope of the program, not just on salaries, but on expenses to equip and arm the police.53 53 RG 286: 250-66/3/01, box 20, file 3. NARA II.
From the technical point of view, there was a significant modernization of the police, which became better prepared to defend order from its enemies, both real and presumed. Access to equipment was the principal expectation of Brazilian police officers and aspect of the agreement that most got their recognition and gratitude. In April 1967 the Commander of the Gendarmerie in MG sent warm thanks to Usaid for the communication equipment received, saying that it was decisive in the success of the anti-guerrilla operations in Serra do Caparaó. In his words the agreement with the US was sought because of the need to eliminate backward processes and the mediocrity of police work, in other words to modernize.54 54 Coronel Milton Campos, 12/04/1967. RG 286: 250-66-34-06, box 2. NARA II.
The police appropriation of the modernizing ideal could generate curious results. In 1971 DOPS from Minas Gerais sent an article to be published in the IPA magazine, written by a police officer who had attended courses in the United States. The text presented the Minas DOPS as an example of the success of police modernization, although the American aid was not mentioned. The new equipment was emphasized, as well as the capacity to increase the department's actions, including in the interior of the state.55 55 RG 286: 250-65-6-02, box 2. NARA II. To illustrate the text various photographs were annexed, showing especially radio patrol cars, firing ranges and police dog training. All the images are in dialogue with the concept of modernization and their function is to serve to confirm this idea.
One of the photographs, however, appears surprising to us because it mobilizes paradoxical meanings (Figure 4). Since the underlying aim was to emphasize the modern traits of the Minas police, someone had the idea to appeal to one of the symbols of modern Belo Horizonte, Pampulha Church. The project which was ordered from Oscar Niemeyer in the 1940s generated a great stir in conservative opinion, both because of its daring lines and because there were two communist intellectuals at the front of the project (in addition to the architect Niemeyer, Candido Portinari did the designs used in the decoration of the church). For this reason ecclesiastic authorities took several years to accept the building as a religious temple. And there in the DOPS photograph is Pampulha Church, alongside the dog trained to maintain order. Two modern signs side by side, the dog, which was a new resource of DOPS to repress demonstrations, and Niemeyer's church. A disturbing and contradictory image, in which two distinct concepts of 'modern' are presented alongside each other. The appeal of the modern image was so attractive that the authors of the photo did not perceive the paradox of connecting DOPS to the communist church...
However, this technically modernized police, and which at times said it was modern in regard to other aspects, was the same that tortured and killed. Modernizing here did not have social implications, much less concerns with individual rights: it simply meant increasing technical efficiency. The modern here entered in shock with modernity, since one of the attributes of the latter is the recognition of the individual and his or her fundamental rights, such as freedom of thought, expression and of assembly...
Returning to the question of the US presence, it is important to highlight that the concern here is not to absolve the United State from blame for events, in this case the violent actions committed by the Brazilian police in defense of order. Rather it involves trying to understand the process from a more wide-ranging perspective, capable of seeing the Brazilian police forces as actors and not just as passive subjects. Brazilian authorities obtained from the US government what they wanted, the modernization of their repressive apparatus and the political support of a great power, notwithstanding the fact that they had been obliged to negotiate and make concessions to their ally. Nevertheless, this does not reduce at all the responsibility of US governments, since they supported, armed and helped maintain a violent and murderous dictatorship. The fact that this dictatorship was not the original plan of the Democratic strategists at the time of Kennedy, and that the US government had been against the radicalization implied in AI5, does not alter things much, though it does point to the limits of the capacities of great powers to manage the destinies of peripheral nations.
This leads us to reflect on the general result of the Usaid police program in Brazil from the US point of view. Did the American authorities achieve their objectives? If the rhetoric of the Alliance for Progress was worth anything, as well as the concept that modernization and nation-building processes should construct democratic nations, with stable institutions and with police that behaved humanely, capable of using force with restraint, the reply is obviously negative. And if we consider the relations of the US government with the military regime in a broad form, the conclusion would be that the US strategy was not crowned with success, since the authoritarian radicalization was not in its plans, nor the statist development option that turned out to be at the heart of economic policies during most of this period. Thus, the breaking of the military agreement with the United States as the result of a unilateral decision taken by the Geisel government in 1977 is an evident symptom of how the Brazilian military got out of control.
Nevertheless, if we pay attention to the fact that the key to US foreign policy for Latin America in the 1960-70s was to defeat the revolution and prevent the increase of Soviet and Cuban influence, maintaining a secure environment for business and investment, the response to the previous question is affirmative, in other words the principal objective of the US was achieved.
We will close by citing Theodore Brown, the last head of OPS-Usaid in Brazil. With his bags ready for Saigon, where he would head the similar police program, Brown prepared a final report about his actions in Brazil. Hanging in the air was the shadow of the defeat that the early closure of the project represented, but Brown concluded the text in an optimistic tone, as if he were saying that the efforts had not been in vain:
My contacts with the many police officers that returned from training in the US, gives me confidence that the development of tendencies that could change its pro-Western and pro-US orientation will be avoided in Brazil - unlike what happened in Cuba and Chile - and this is a sufficient justification for the US resources spent on the project.
57 57 RG 286: 250-66-3-23, box 18, file 3. NARA II.
Article submitted in September 2009.
Approved in January 2010.
- 2 Sobre a atuação da Usaid no Brasil, sobretudo através do programa Aliança Para o Progresso, ver RIBEIRO, Ricardo A. A Aliança Para o Progresso e as relações Brasil-Estados Unidos. Tese (Doutorado em Ciência Política) - Unicamp. Campinas (SP), 2006.
- 3 Vale destacar, em meio aos escassos estudos dedicados ao tema, o importante e pioneiro trabalho de Martha Huggins, cuja pesquisa foi responsável pela desclassificação de muitos dos documentos utilizados neste texto. Entretanto, a autora fez análise geral para a América Latina, sem aprofundar suficientemente o estudo sobre o caso do Brasil. Além disso, há aqui uma perspectiva diferente em relação à da autora, que enfatiza demasiadamente a influência dos Estados Unidos, sem dar-se conta de que grupos locais tinham interesses próprios e aliavam-se ao governo norte-americano para defender também pautas locais. HUGGINS, Martha K. Polícia e política: relações Estados Unidos/América Latina. São Paulo: Cortez, 1998.
- 5 Sobre a atuação da Usaid no ensino básico ver PAIVA, Edil V.; PAIXÃO, Lea P. PABAEE (1955-1964): a americanização do ensino elementar no Brasil. Niterói (RJ): Eduff, 2002.
- 6 Cf. LEACOCK, Ruth. Requiem for revolution: the United States and Brazil, 1961-1969. Kent: The Kent State University Press, 1990;
- e RABE, Stephen G. The most dangerous area in the world: John F. Kennedy confronts communist revolution in Latin America. Chapell Hill: The University of Carolina Press, 1999.
- Para um painel geral da atuação da Usaid no Brasil ver RIBEIRO, 2006.
- 9 Cf. MOTTA, Rodrigo Patto Sá. O ofício das sombras, Revista do Arquivo Público Mineiro, Belo Horizonte: APM, ano XLII, n.1, jan.-jun. 2006, p.52-67.
- 19 A informação sobre Mitrione ensinando tortura no Brasil foi registrada no livro Brasil nunca mais (20.ed. Petrópolis: Vozes, 1987, p.32),
- enquanto opiniões que põem em dúvida tal versão podem ser encontradas em LANGGUTH, A. J. A face oculta do terror Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1979.
- 42 Cf. MOTTA, Rodrigo Patto Sá. Professor de repressão, Revista de História da Biblioteca Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, n.34, jul. 2008, p.54-58.
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26 May 2011
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