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With leader ill, Brazil may feel more democracy

The incapacity of Brazilian President Joao Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo is bound to affect the growing trend toward liberalization in South America's biggest country.

Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell writes that General Figueiredo's illness could spur the current "abertura" (opening) toward democracy that he and some fellow military officers have been encouraging the past year.

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Vice-President Aureliano Chaves, who has temporarily assumed the presidency, is Brazil's first civilian head of government since 1964.