THE AMERICAS: Vargas' Buffers

If President Franklin Roosevelt suddenly seized parts of Maine, Vermont, North Dakota, California and Texas and sent Federal officers to take control from the states' Governors, that would be roughly equivalent to what happened in Brazil last week. "In the interests of national defense" (and possibly for other reasons), Brazil's President Getulio Vargas seized direct control of some 200,000 sq. mi. along the country's borders.

He had legal authority for it. The new Brazilian Constitution which Vargas proclaimed in 1937 authorized him, for purposes of defense, to "dismember" Brazilian states and convert them into Federal...

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