Another Tale of US Exceptionalism
We saw a wonderful film last night by Cao Hamburger titled The Year My Parents Went on Vacation about the upheavals in Sao Paulo in 1970. The story is woven between two events, the climax of the brutal military dictatorship with it's crackdown on leftists and Brazils play in it's third World Cup win that year. The young protaganist's parents are forced to flee their country ( leaving their son behind) after being identified as communist sympathizers, an all too familiar scenario that played out in those turbulent decades. Though we are constantly informed and reminded (especially during political campaigns!) that America has always been a beacon for democracy and freedom blah blah blah the facts prove that to the contrary, we played a much different role during the global "proxy" Cold Wars. And while the stories of Central American, Argentinan and Chilean dictatorships are fairly well known, Brazil does not seem to recieve the same attention generally.
The coup deposing Jao Goulart in 1964 was given tacit approval by that famous Texan commie fighter, Lyndon Johnson. US support for the successive military dictatorships ( aprox. 2000 people Dissapeared in 21 years) continued through Nixon/Ford as strongmen Branco, de Silva and Medici helped keep the continent safe for capitalism. At the same time , nationalistic fervor was maintained through the great Brazillian football team ( including Pele) which dominated with three World Cup wins. The film juxtaposes these cultural and political contradictions and gives a interesting view into the Jewish exile community living there post-Holocaust. These were years of booming economic growth, showing, (as has the Chinese example) that contrary to popular myth, capitalism, like bureacratic statism, thrives under authoritarian rule.
It is good people are making films to preserve memory, else we truly are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. Every exceptionalist, City on the Hill, apologist needs to be denounced and corrected. There is some great acting and a poignant story in this case of revisionism. I recommend it.