Joao Figueiredo

João Figueiredo was a Brazillian military and political leader who was the last military ruler of Brazil from 1979 to the transition to democracy in 1985. He continued the democratization that Geisel started and decreed amnesty. Facing a severe economic crisis, Figueiredo became increasingly unpopular.

He suffered a heart attack in 1981. Since 1964, Brazilians had not been allowed to vote for president and by 1983 they began to demonstrate for the return of the democracy. Figueiredo opposed this and in 1984 the Congress rejected the return of direct elections. But the opposition, headed by Tancredo Neves, won the election for president in the Congress. At the end of his term Figueriredo retired and died in 1999 at the age of 81. The character Joao is named after him.