CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Samuel Huntington and '€œDecompression'€ in Brazil

January 15th, 2016
12:00 pm

100A Jones Hall, Greenleaf Conference Room

The Harvard political science professor Samuel P. Huntington (1927-2008) was a leading scholar of comparative politics and international relations and an influential foreign policy advisor. Huntington was interested in Brazil and made several visits there in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1974, during the presidency of General Geisel, he made a visit to Brazil in order to advise the government about ‘€œdecompression‘€, President Geisel‘€™s policy of liberalization. This period has often been interpreted as the beginning of democratization in Brazil. What did Huntington recommend to the government during his visit to Brazil? What impact did this advice have? And who in turn influenced Professor Huntington? This presentation, based on research in a hitherto inaccessible archive, attempts to answer those questions. It challenges the notion that ‘€œdecompression‘€, for Huntington and the Geisel administration, was intended to lead to democratization. It also describes the network of Brazilians who influenced Professor Huntington‘€™s view of Brazil. The presentation attempts to place an encounter between an American academic and his Brazilian hosts in the context of the liberalization of the Brazilian authoritarian regime, US-Brazilian relations, and the politics of the Cold War.

Anthony W. Pereira is a Professor and Director of the Brazil Institute at King‘€™s College London. He obtained his B.A. from Sussex University (U.K.) in 1982 and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1986 and 1991 respectively. He has held positions at the New School, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tulane University, and the University of East Anglia. In 2005 he was a visiting professor at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE). His books include Political (In)justice: Authoritarianism and the Rule of Law in Brazil, Chile and Argentina (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005); a Portuguese translation of the latter, entitled Ditadura e Repressão (Paz e Terra, 2010), and a volume edited with Lauro Mattei called The Brazilian Economy Today: Towards a New Socio-Economic Model? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Professor Pereira has recently published articles in Third World Quarterly, Latin American Perspectives, and the Bulletin of Latin American Research. Currently at work on a book about the Brazilian state, Professor Pereira is President of the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA). Dr. Pereira can be reached at

Anthony Pereira Lecture Announcement


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CIPR Fall Speaker Series

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Please join us Mondays at noon for our Fall speaker Series
Markets, the State, and Democracy in Latin America
October 14, October 21, November 11, and November 18.

In the 2019 fall series, Markets, the State, and Democracy in Latin America, speakers will discuss emerging issues that have surfaced as the result of the opportunities and challenges to democratic governance that markets have brought to the region. Latin America experienced a major influx of investment, particularly in the resource sector, over the past several decades. While this foreign investment helped hasten economic development, it also brought a backlash of resource nationalism and increased calls for redistribution. Moreover, Latin America is now a model in its own right, with other countries in the Global South adopting its state-sponsored development strategies in the resource sector. These presentations will also explore how Latin America is navigating a sea change in geopolitics, with China emerging as a challenger to the United States as the region’s main trade partner and ally.

For more information, check out our Fall Series Poster

Latin American Writers Series: Alberto Barrera Tyszka

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Ecuadorian writer and Tulane Visiting Scholar Gabriela Alemán interviews Venezuelan writer Alberto Barrera Tyszka about his life, interests, and influences. Their discussion will be followed by an open Q&A and an informal reception. This event will be held in Spanish.

About the Latin American Writers Series

This series brings together Latin America’s most representative creative voices and the editorial entrepreneurs that publish them. By way of interviews conducted by renowned Ecuadorian writer Gabriela Alemán and presentations of various editorial missions, the guests will shed light on a literary world shaped by the contemporary issues of the continent. Moving forward, their conversations will comprise the centerpiece of a digital archive that introduces their ideas to a global audience.

Este serie reúne a los autores más representativos de la escritura continental y los editores que los publican. A través de entrevistas con la reconocida escritora ecuatoriana Gabriela Alemán y presentaciones de proyectos editoriales, los invitados explorarán los vínculos entre el mundo literario y la realidad continental. Sus conversaciones se convertirán después en el eje de un archivo digital que busca llevar estas ideas a un público global.

About the Author

Born in Caracas, Alberto Barrera Tyszka has published over a dozen works of poetry, short story, chronicle, novel, and biography. His most recent publications include the novels Patria o Muerte (2015) and Rating (2011), the poetic anthology La inquietud (2013), the collection of chronicles Un país a la semana (2013), and the short story collection Crímenes (2009). In 2005, he collaborated with Cristina Marcano to write the definitive biography of Hugo Chávez, Hugo Chávez sin uniforme: una historia personal (2005). Patria o muerte won the 2015 Premio Tusquets de Novela, and his novel La enfermedad, translated into English as The Sickness (2010), received the 2006 Herralde Award. Barrera also writes for television and has scripted soap operas for Venezuelan, Mexican, Colombian, and Argentinian networks.