Exclusive: Volkswagen spied on Lula, other Brazilian workers in 1980s

September 5, 2014

Brian Winter – Reuters, 9/5/2014

Volkswagen AG spied on Brazilian union activists in the 1980s and passed sensitive information about wage demands and other private discussions to the country’s military dictatorship, according to newly uncovered documents seen by Reuters.

The company covertly monitored its own workers as well as prominent union leaders of the era. One of VW’s targets was Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who went on to become Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010 and remains one of its most influential politicians.

The documents were recently discovered in government archives by a special “truth commission” that, at the request of Brazil’s current president, Dilma Rousseff, is investigating abuses that occurred during the 1964-1985 regime.

Read more…


Brazil’s military to cooperate in dirty war investigation

April 3, 2014

Vincent Bevins – The Los Angeles Times, 4/2/2014

Brazil’s military has agreed to open investigations of use  torture at bases it operated during two decades of dictatorship from 1964 to 1985.

The announcement Tuesday, the 50th anniversary of the coup that toppled a democratically elected government, marked the first time the country’s armed forces have pledged to cooperate in examining human rights crimes for which no one has ever been tried. An amnesty law was passed by the military government in 1979.

The military government is accused of killing and “disappearing” more than 450 people and torturing and exiling thousands. The military on Tuesday finally accepted a request from the country’s Truth Commission, a public, non-military organ investigating abuses in the period, five decades after the day President Joao Goulart was deposed.

http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-brazil-military-dirty-war-20140402,0,290916.story#ixzz2xrVtVKuu



Breaking the silence in Brazil

July 2, 2013

Emma Sokoloff-Rubin – Foreign Affairs, 07/01/2013

In 1983, almost 30 years before Brazil inaugurated a truth commission to investigate the crimes of a brutal military dictatorship, seven college students put their lives on stage. The dictatorship was on the verge of collapse, but military rule was all this group had ever known.

Júlio Conte and his friends were studying theater in Porto Alegre, a city in southern Brazil. They had learned to be careful about what they said aloud. In their lifetime, nearly 500 Brazilians had been killed and 20,000 tortured by the government. Conte was tired of waiting for democracy. “Being censored makes you fight to speak,” his friend Flávio Bicca Rocha said in a recent interview.

The students captured the uncertainty and hope in Brazil at that moment by telling their own stories in a play, Bailei na Curva. The title, which means “I danced in the curve,” is slang for someone who has gotten hurt or lost his way. One of Bailei’s main characters, whose father is abducted by the military police, meets the same fate later in the play. Other characters try to make sense of their parents’ collaboration with the military, and all of them struggle with the gap between what they hear on the radio and the reality they see.

Read more…


Brazil’s Truth Commission to investigate the role of the church during dictatorship

November 7, 2012

Associated Press/The Washington Post, 11/07/2012

The Truth Commission investigating human rights abuses committed by Brazil’s former dictatorship will also look into the role Catholic and evangelical churches played during the 1964-1985 military government.

Established last year by President Dilma Rousseff, the commission will investigate whether pro-dictatorship clergy committed human rights abuses or supported members of the military responsible for such abuses.

Rousseff herself is a former leftist guerrilla who was imprisoned for more than three years and tortured during the dictatorship. She signed the law establishing the commission, which was given two years to conclude its investigation into the torture, murder and forced disappearances of people opposed to the dictatorship.

Read more…


Brazil grapples with repressive past

April 26, 2012

César Chelala – Epoch Times, 04/26/2012

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff signed into a law a Truth Commission to investigate crimes by a former military regime. She is pictured outside Alvorada Palace in Brasilia on April 19. (Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images)

The creation in Brazil of a Truth Commission to investigate crimes committed from 1946 to 1988 opens the possibility of learning what happened to hundreds of forcibly “disappeared” persons during the country’s recent past.

The findings of the commission, which are to be released two years from now, will allow their families not only to know the fate of their loved ones but also to bring closure to their lives.

Even though the commission’s mandate is to investigate crimes committed by military regimes during their rule from 1964 to 1985, it also includes an investigation of the crimes perpetrated before and after the military dictatorship. It is estimated that between 1964 and 1985, 475 people were forcibly disappeared, 50,000 imprisoned, and 20,000 tortured.

Read more…


Brazil finally ready to confront abuses in past dictatorship

January 6, 2012

Vincent Bevins – LA Times, 01/05/2012

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, shown at the presidential palace in Brasilia last year, was part of a leftist guerrilla group in the 1960s and '70s that opposed the military dictatorship. (Fernando Bizerra Jr. / European Pressphoto Agency / December 16, 2011)

Vera Paiva has spent four decades trying to find out what happened to her father after he was arrested in 1971 during Brazil’s military dictatorship.

Rubens Paiva, a former congressman, is one of the country’s most famous desaparecidos, or “disappeared ones,” whose cases finally will be investigated by the government.

“The last time we heard of anyone seeing him, he was inside the jail and had been barbarically tortured,” Vera Paiva said, sitting in her house in Sao Paulo and going through details she has told journalists and officials hundreds of times.

Read more…


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,808 other followers

%d bloggers like this: