Brazil’s leading daily Folha de Sao Paulo celebrating its 90th anniversary openly admitted on its Monday edition that in 1964 it supported the military coup that ousted constitutional president Joao Goulart imposing a dictatorship that extended until 1985.
Goulart lived in exile in Uruguay until his death in 1976 in one of his farms in Argentina.
The newspaper made the point in a long article where it collects the history of the daily with the largest circulation and one of the most influential of Brazil.
“In 1976 the newspaper which supported the military coup in 1964, opened its pages to opponents of the dictatorship and became one of the main catalysers of the political opening”, wrote Folha de Sao Paulo.
However in 2009 human rights organizations protested before the daily in the heart of Sao Paulo because in an editorial the newspaper described the Brazilian military regime as a “soft dictatorship” (dictablanda) as compared to “hard dictatorships” (dictaduras) in the rest of the continent from the sixties to the eighties.
The expressions were coined in the eighties by Jeanne Kirkpatrick, President Ronald Reagan’s foreign polity advisor and US ambassador at the UN.
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, political prisoner and torture victim of the dictatorship is attending Monday’s 90th anniversary celebrations in the Sao Paulo auditorium, the city’s largest open space for classical music.
On 19 February 1921, Folha da Noite and targeted to urban workers was started by journalists Olival Costa and Pedro Cunha who had abandoned the hegemonic O Estado de Sao Paulo.
On March first 1960, the three newspapers under the same company: Folha de Manha, Folha de Tarde and Folha da Noite, were consolidated under the only edition Folha de Sao Paulo.
In 1962 the influential Frias family under command of Octavio Frias de Oliveira (who died in 2007) took full control of the company.
Folha de Sao Paulo argues that in the same way it supported the military coup in 1964, it also backed the popular campaigns for “Direct elections NOW” that were launched between 1983 and 1984 still under the authoritarian regime.
This focus together with a critical, non partisan and pluralist editorial project transformed Folha into “the daily with the largest circulation, a position it has occupied undisputed for the last 25 years”.
Folha is currently managed by Octavio Frias son and is also the strongest in internet contents. With another large media group O’Globo, Folha publishes Valor Economico which is considered Brazil’s most serious source of financial information.