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The Age of Mass Politics, Vargasís Second Presidency

BNDES, Eletrobras, Getulio Vargas, state role, military coup

Meanwhile, Vargas won election to the Senate and began planning his return to power. With the support of the Brazilian Workers Party, Vargas defeated the candidates of the Social Democratic Party and National Democratic Union in 1950. Five years after a military coup ended his dictatorship, Getulio Vargas returned to the presidency with an electoral victory.

Despite his electoral victory, opposition parties, which controlled the Senate and House, fought Vargas at every turn. Vargas saw his election as a mandate to complete the unfinished work begun during his dictatorship. The state role in economic and social development was further expanded. Vargas created federally financed banks, corporations, and agencies, including the national bank of social and economic development (BNDES), the Brazilian petroleum corporation (Petrobras), and the Brazilian electric corporation (Eletrobras). At the same time, Vargas turned to the support of urban workers as a base for his political power. Business interests, multinational corporations, and foreign governments viewed Vargas's alliance with the lower classes with suspicion and came together to oppose him. Opponents of Vargas controlled almost all the major newspapers, magazines, and radio stations, and they attacked the president constantly.

By late 1954 the country had come to a political impasse, with Vargas and his opposition in a deadlock. A dramatic attempt to assassinate one of Vargasís bitter enemies broke the deadlock after investigations tied Vargasís personal bodyguard to the attempt. The army high command gave Vargas an ultimatum: resign or be overthrown. Facing the end of a long and brilliant political career, Vargas chose his most dramatic maneuver as his last: On the morning of August 24, 1954, he committed suicide in his bedroom at the presidential palace.

Article key phrases:

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