Getúlio Vargas

Getúlio Dornelles Vargas (; 19 April 1882 – 24 August 1954) was a Brazilian lawyer and politician, who served as president during two periods: the first was from 1930 to 1945, when he served as interim president from 1930 to 1934, constitutional president from 1934 to 1937, and dictator from 1937 to 1945. After resigning in 1945, Vargas returned to power as the democratically elected president in 1951, serving until his suicide in 1954. Vargas led Brazil for 18 years, the longest of any president, and second in Brazilian history only to Emperor Pedro II among heads of state. He favored nationalism, industrialization, centralization, social welfare and populism – for the latter, Vargas won the nickname, "the father of the poor". Vargas is one of a number of populists who arose during the 1930s in Latin America, including Lázaro Cárdenas and Juan Perón, who promoted nationalism and pursued social reform. He was a proponent of workers' rights as well as a staunch anti-communist.

Vargas was brought to power by political outsiders and the rank-and-file of the Armed Forces in the Revolution of 1930; this was a reaction to his loss in the presidential election earlier that year. His ascent marked the end of the Brazilian Old Republic and the São Paulo-Minas alliance-dominated coffee-with-milk politics. He successfully influenced the outcome of the Brazilian presidential election of 1934, and used fears of a Communist uprising to institute an authoritarian corporatist regime in 1937 known as the New State, modeled on Mussolini's Italy, Salazar's Portugal and Franco’s Spain. Vargas went on to appease and eventually dominate his supporters, and pushed his political agenda as he built a propaganda machine around his figure.

Vargas sought to transform Brazil from a plantation-based economy into an industrialized powerhouse, using government intervention. His embrace of developmentalism was expressed not only in strong rhetoric, but also by lending protection to domestic industries and by devoting much state funding to investment aimed at kick-starting "strategic" sectors and setting up the necessary infrastructure. Vargas created state monopolies for oil (Petrobras), mining (Vale), steelmaking (National Siderurgy Company), alkalis (National Alkalis Company) and automobiles (National Motors Factory). His policies shaped the Brazilian economic debate for decades, from the governments of Juscelino Kubitschek and leftist João Goulart to the right-wing military dictatorship of 1964 to 1985. The protectionist trend was reversed by the 1990s with the liberal reforms of Fernando Collor de Mello and Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

With the global rise of democracy in the aftermath of World War II, Vargas was forced to step down in 1945 and was succeeded by José Linhares the same year. Nevertheless, the economic growth that occurred under his administration made him a popular figure in Brazilian politics even after his resignation. His popularity awarded him a late presidential term in 1951, but growing political strife over his views and methods led to his suicide in 1954. He was the first president in the country to draw widespread support from the masses and is regarded as the most influential Brazilian politician of the twentieth century. He had also been a lawyer and landowner who occupied the 37th chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters from 1943 until his death. Provided by Wikipedia
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