Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira

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Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira
Term of office: January 31, 1956January 31, 1961
Predecessor: Nereu Ramos
Successor: Jânio Quadros
Vice-President: João Goulart
Date of birth: September 12, 1902
Place of birth: Diamantina, Minas Gerais
Date of death: August 22, 1976
Place of death: Resende, Rio de Janeiro
Party: Social Democratic Party - PSD

Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira (JK) (September 12, 1902-August 22, 1976) was a prominent Brazilian politician who was President of Brazil from 1956 to 1961. He was born in Diamantina, Minas Gerais.

Although trained as a doctor, he was elected to the House of Representatives in Minas Gerais state in 1934. However, with the advent of Getúlio Dornelles Vargas "fascist" Estado Novo in 1937, he was forced to go back to practicing medicine.

Even so, he was appointed mayor of Belo Horizonte in 1940.

He was again elected to Minas Gerais' House of Representatives in 1945, and became governor of the state in 1950. In 1955, he ran for president with the slogan "Fifty years of progress in five", and won.

He was sworn in on January 31, 1956 as President of what was then known as the Republic of the United States of Brazil.

His five year tenure resulted in Brazil progressing by leaps and bounds. Among many projects he managed to complete was Brasília, the new capital of Brazil, located in the heart of the country. On October 2, 1956, during his first visit to the place chosen for the construction of the new city—a desert highland located at the central part of Brazil—he made, enthusiastically, a prophecy as follows: "From this central highland, from this lonely place which very soon will be the headoffice of the main national decisions, I sight the future of my country and I can foresee, faithfully, a new dawn for my homeland relying on its destiny". He also completed major road construction, as well as founding Brazil's automotive industry.

The economy boomed, but at some cost. Much of the investment in industry was funded by printing money. His opponents alleged that he had brought "fifty years of inflation in five". Like many other Latin American currencies, the cruzeiro was repeated devalued. The country also went further into debt, trying to pay for various ambitious projects.

Kubitschek was succeeded by Jânio Quadros in 1961. When the military troops took the power in 1964, he had his political rights suspended. He went into self-imposed exile, and stayed in numerous US and European cities.

He did come back to Brazil, but was unfortunately killed in a car crash in 1976, near the city of Resende in the state of Rio de Janeiro. 350,000 grieving people were present at his burial in Brasília. He is now buried in JK's Memorial.

Preceded by:
João Café Filho
President of Brazil Succeeded by:
Jânio Quadros
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