Mass murders during military dictatorship in Brazil

This video by John Pilger is called War on democracy – Countries attacked in Latin America.

Is George Bush Restarting Latin America’s ‘Dirty Wars‘? See here.

The ghost of Pinochet, by John Pilger: see here.

From Al Jazeera:

Brazil reveals military killings

The Brazilian president has called for a deadline to be set to uncover the fate of hundreds of people who disappeared during the country’s military government.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made the demand following the publication of a book detailing the repression of hundreds of dissidents now missing, presumably killed, from 1964 to 1985.

The book cites 475 cases of people who were killed or disappeared during military rule, including seven Argentines.

Silva said the murder, rape and torture of alleged subversives remained an open wound for Brazil and Brazilians had “the just and sacred right” to bury their loved ones.

The president is a former union leader who was arrested and jailed in the 1980s by military rulers for leading an illegal labour strike.

He warned Brazilians not to expect prosecution of members of the military government as they are protected by a 1979 amnesty.

He also did not promise to open the era’s secret military archives, which families of victims believe could reveal the location of the remains of 140 “disappeared” opponents of the government, according to the National Human Rights Secretariat.

Demanding answers

“[I want] to bury my son, to know what happened to him”

Elzita Santa Cruz, mother of victim

The government’s 500-page book, “The Right to Memory and the Truth,” took 11 years to prepare and was released on the 28th anniversary of the 1979 Amnesty Law, which pardoned all Brazilians – civilian and military – for alleged crimes committed under army rule.

See also here.

Brazil this week marks the 50th anniversary of the April 1, 1964, military coup that subjected Latin America’s largest country to 21 years of brutal dictatorship: here.

Disapperances during dictatorship in Argentina: here.

Prisons in Argentina: here.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Brazil’s attorney general has filed criminal charges against a notoriously misogynistic congressman who taunted a fellow lawmaker with the words: “I wouldn’t rape you. You’re not worth it.”

It was the second time Jair Bolsonaro, a representative from Rio de Janeiro, had used the slur in Congress, which is supposed to be the country’s highest forum for debate – but frequently descends into a source of national shame.

Bolsonaro – a rightwing apologist for the 1964-85 military dictatorship – directed his comments at representative Maria do Rosário, a former human rights minister, after she praised a report by the country’s Truth Commission on the murder, rape and torture carried out by the government of that era.

As she left the podium last Tuesday, he yelled, “Stay here, Maria do Rosário. Stay! A while ago, you called me a rapist in the Green Room and I said: ‘I won’t rape you because you’re not worth it.’ Stay here. Listen!”

He was referring to an incident in the parliamentary Green Room in 2003, when he also shoved Rosário, described her as a slut and then jeered her with the words: “Go cry!”

On that occasion, there was no punishment for Bolsonaro, but this time his insults have stirred up an international storm of public revulsion.

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37 thoughts on “Mass murders during military dictatorship in Brazil

  1. Raúl Zibechi
    (from: La Jornada, in Rebelion)

    Brazil as a problem

    In recent days, two prestigious left wing
    economists coincided in pointing the finger at
    the government of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for
    its responsibility in holding up the launch of
    Bancosur (Bank of the South). In doing so they
    uncovered the fact that, behind all the
    declarations in favour of regional integration,
    interests linked to multinationals that are
    blocking the best intentions of Venezuela and
    Ecuador supported by most of South America, play
    an important role.

    In his article “Brazil versus Bancosur” Peru’s
    Oscar Ugarteche very clearly indicated that the
    only thing lacking is political will since all
    the technical problems are resolved and the bank
    already has its statutes : “The Brazilian
    government’s main resistance to the regional
    architecture is that it wanted Bancosur to fund
    the South American Regional Infrastructure
    Initiative (IIRSA)”. Lula’s government has put
    that series of infrastructure works, which are
    aimed at fomenting inter-oceanic trade between
    the Pacific and the Atlantic, at the centre of
    its regional policy so as to place natural
    resources in first world markets more cheaply and
    more quickly.

    Really Brazil has no need of a regional bank that
    works as a development agency since it already
    has its own bank, the National Social and
    Economic Development Bank that has more
    resources to invest in the region than the
    Inter-American Development Bank and the World
    Bank. For that reason, as Ugarteche points out,
    Brazil dug in its heels to slow down the launch
    of Bancosur, scheduled for July in Venezuela. In
    the end, according to this economist, “opposing a
    South American financial architecture serves the
    status quo, the United States Treasury and
    Washington’s weakened, discredited financial

    The Belgian Eric Toussaint, president of the
    Committee for the Annulment of Third World Debt,
    argued in an interview, “Brazil does not support
    the Bancosur initiative because it has no need of
    it for its economically powerful projects.”
    However, Lula’s government does participate
    formally in the initiative, “since, if this bank
    is set up, Brazil cannot be left out because it
    could lose some of its dominance.” Toussaint
    concludes that while the governments of Hugo
    Chavez, Rafael Correa and Evo Morales want to
    accelerate the setting up of Bancosur, “Brazil
    tries to slow it down”.

    The issue is of some importance and depends on
    long term strategies rather than on personal
    wills. Brazil wants to be South America’s global
    power and for that it needs to secure regional
    leadership. IIRSA is one of the tools, since the
    principal regional beneficiary will be the Sao
    Paulo bourgeoisie, in two ways : it will assure
    rapid transit of traded goods north and also the
    bulk of the construction companies for these
    gigantic works will be Brazilian. However IIRSA
    is not Lula’s creation but that of the previous
    government under Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Lula
    restricts himelf to continuing it and deepening

    So it is necessary then to understand Brazil’s
    strategy. In a recent book (1), Samuel Pinheiro
    Guimaraes, Brazil’s Foreign Ministry number two
    explains his country’s long term objectives.,
    “Brazil’s ascent to great power status should not
    be thought of as utopian, but rather as a
    necessary national objective. Not to realize it
    would mean failure to confront the challenges
    ahead and therefore accelerate entry into a
    period of great instability (and eventual
    internal conflict).” One of the principal
    challenges is related to distribution of wealth,
    since Brazil is regarded as the “world champion
    of inequality”. He adds that South America “is
    the key region and base for Brazil’s world

    The diplomat’s clarity makes it possible to
    understand the type of integration Brazil is
    looking for. The Brazilian bourgeoisie is
    operating in the same way it did at the dawn of
    imperialism : so as not to be forced to
    redistribute wealth, it had to expand into the
    poorest regions where it could obtain
    supplementary profits. Is that not what the
    Brazilian elites are doing now when their
    companies already dominate important parts of the
    productive capacity and natural resources of
    Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador and Argentina?

    It is the case, as Ugarteche says, that now is
    Brazil’s opportunity, when the government of
    George W. Bush is weak and unable to oppose an
    autonomous South American integration in the
    dollar zone. It would not be the first time a
    nation in this continent has played along with
    the super-power. But it would be the first time
    that a government describing itself as “left
    wing” will have contributed to consolidating the
    ties of dependency. For that reason open debate
    is a priority. The region’s governments, for
    elementary diplomatic reasons, cannot point the
    finger at the leaders of other countries. But the
    rest of us cannot and should not dissemble the
    existence of two opposed and contradictory paths.

    Certainly the situation of Brazil is very
    difficult, above all for the movements that are
    really the only left in existence. The ethanol
    option taken on by Lula when he received Bush
    last March is equivalent to clearing the path for
    multinationals to advance on the Amazon and on
    family based agriculture. For that reason it is
    interesting that European intellectuals like Toni
    Negri, on a tour of various countries in the
    region, maintain the surprising argument that all
    the progressive governments are heading in the
    same direction since they all strnegthen
    multilateralism. That’s true, but it presupposes
    a eurocentric gaze. Right now in this continent
    real multilateralism is to be reached by
    promoting an integration able to challenge United
    States hegemony, not reinforcing it.

    translation copyleft Tortilla con Sal

    1. “Desafios brasileiros na era dos gigantes”, Contraponto, 2006


  2. Abuses to be investigated

    Brazil: Secretary of State for Human Rights Paulo Vannuchi has revealed that prosecutors will finally begin to investigate abuses carried out during the 1964-85 military dictatorship.

    Mr Vannuchi said at the weekend that President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva had authorised the creation of a National Truth Commission to investigate the arrest, torture and disappearance of more than 400 activists from peasant worker and union organisations under the regime.

    President Lula has vowed to press ahead with the commission despite threats to resign from military commanders and even his own defence minister.


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  7. 75 years ago: Right-wing Brazilian dictator foils fascist coup
    Getúlio Dornelles Vargas

    On March 11, 1938, the anti-communist Brazilian dictator Getulo Dornelles Vargas suppressed the country’s indigenous “Integralist” fascist movement after learning of their plans to depose and kill him and his cabinet. Most leading members of the fascist Acoa Integralista Brasileira (AIB) were quickly located and arrested. In the sweep the authorities discovered evidence of a conspiracy, including a target list and an arsenal of weapons.

    The fascist paramilitary Greenshirts of the AIB movement had aided Vargas’s dictatorial rise and their growth had been encouraged by his presidency. But just prior to the discovery of plans for a coup against Vargas, the fascists had been campaigning against state measures to forcibly assimilate German, Italian and Japanese migrants into Brazilian society. When the German ambassador to Brazil requested that the cultural activities of the Nazi Party in Brazil be allowed exemption from such measures, Vargas refused the request.

    The AIB was not satisfied that Vargas’s regime, which borrowed many of its policies from the Portuguese dictatorship of Salazar, was sufficiently right-wing. Integralist leader Plinio Salgado had established the Brazilian fascist movement after a visit to Italy where he met Mussolini, and subsequently both the fascist regimes in Rome and Berlin helped finance their South American surrogate.

    When the Brazilian police raided Salgado’s house they discovered all manner of firearms, 3,000 daggers embossed with fascist insignia and large amounts of Brazilian currency. Holed up in the Japanese embassy, Salgado denied any knowledge of the plot and told the press there was an ideological schism within the party and his leadership had been usurped by those elements who wished to foment a fascist coup.

    Vargas responded by passing a decree whereby all imports and exports to Germany would be inspected. All immigrants were forbidden from hosting any form of potentially political organization, displaying political insignia, organizing demonstrations or maintaining print publications.


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  13. BRAZIL: The country’s National Truth Commission delivered its final report today, documenting acts of torture, disappearances and killings committed during the 1964-85 military dictatorship.

    Commission members presented the findings of the three-year investigation to President Dilma Rousseff.

    It documents 434 killings and disappearances under the dictatorship.

    The commission called for changing the 1979 amnesty law that still shields military personnel from possible prosecution.


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