“I Choose This Means to Be With You Always”: Getúlio Vargas’s Carta Testamento
“To the wrath of my enemies I leave the legacy of my death.” So began a note written in the hand of President Getúlio Vargas and found by one of his aides a week before Vargas took his own life on August 24, 1954, and permanently altered the twentieth-century history of Brazil. While the legacy he referred to has never been fully defined, one result of his death was a renovated cult of Vargas’s personality and a political setback for his adversaries. Using another document as his tool, Vargas tried and arguably succeeded in giving direction to the legacy of his death. This longer and more famous letter was found near Vargas’s body after he killed himself. Quickly acquiring a title, this Carta Testamento has been subject to persistent dispute, challenge, interpretation, and glorification. Opponents of getulismo obstinately dispute the letter’s authenticity while each anniversary of the president’s death finds political devotees offering homage to the text.1
KeywordsMilitary Coup Ministerial Meeting Suicide Note Documentary History Political Maneuver
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