BRAZIL: Golpe Deferred

A placid, two-ton rhinoceros escaped briefly from a circus in Rio one evening last week, jamming traffic on busy Avenida Atlantica. Amid the tangle of stalled automobiles, the word darted around as erratically as a horsefly in a stable: "O Golpe! The coup!" In jittery Rio, something as commonplace as a traffic snarl could touch off rumors that the army was taking over, and the exclamation Golpe! really meant "This is it!"

Brazilians were inordinately coup-conscious last week because General Canrobert Pereira da Costa, the respected chairman of the joint chiefs of staff,...

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