Documents released by Brazilian authorities show that military officials kept track of Pele during the country’s dictatorship era.
The files unveiled by the Sao Paulo state government on Monday show officials investigated Pele in the 1970s, keeping record of his activities and probing incidents involving the football star, including alleged attacks to his home in the coastal city of Santos.
The military dictatorship ruled Brazil from 1964-85, with officials constantly trying to identify possible opponents to the regime and vehemently acting to reprimand radical leftists.
Secret documents dating from Brazil’s 1964-1985 military government reveal that the junta gave loans amounting to $115 million to the regime of Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper said Tuesday.
The files indicate that the money was lent to Pinochet’s government on “especially” favorable terms and was destined for the purchase of military equipment, the daily said.
An Oct. 26, 1976, report marked “Secret” says that Brazil provided “important aid” to the Pinochet regime.
Brazil’s Truth Commission, which is investigating human rights abuses committed during the nation’s military dictatorship, said Wednesday it’s looking into the death of former President Juscelino Kubitschek, who died in a 1976 car accident.
Over the years, some prominent Brazilian officials have said they suspect that the death of Kubitschek, who oversaw the creation of his nation’s new capital city, Brasilia, in the early 1960s, was a set-up ordered by the military regime.
A Truth Commission official said by telephone the investigation into Kubitschek’s death began late last year after the bar association of Minas Gerais state delivered a report saying his death was ordered by Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime.
Brazil helped supply Soviet weapons to Argentina, in deal negotiated by Cuba and supported by Libya, during the Falkland Islands War of 1982, according to a report by the Brazilian newspaper O Globo.
The scheme, first reported by the Rio de Janeiro daily, marks an unusual twist for Cold War-era politics as both the Argentine and Brazilian governments of the time were ruled by fervently anti-Communist military dictatorships.
The Argentine military junta, installed in 1976, had unleashed an internal war against Marxist and leftist political dissidents that eventually resulted in the deaths or disappearances of some 30,000 people, according to human rights groups.
Since Brazil’s right-wing military dictatorship ended in 1985, the country has enjoyed a string of democratically elected and increasingly progressive administrations. But while neighbors like Chile and Argentina have long since brought to justice many of the worst leaders and henchmen of their own brutal regimes from that era, Brazil has so far declined to seriously investigate the crimes of what many call the “years of lead.”
Now, however, more than a quarter-century later, many see hope that the victims of Brazil’s 21-year-long tyranny, and the victims’ families, might finally be heard. President Dilma Rousseff, the former guerrilla operative who was elected last year, only took office on Jan. 1, but there are early indications that she’s prepared to reignite the controversial debate over Brazil’s failure to take a deeper — and, many insist, cathartic — look at its sinister past. Rousseff has made pointed references to the years she spent in jail, and she has backed the formation of a truth commission to hear evidence of the abuses, including murder, torture and forced exile, committed by the military government. (See Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff in the top 10 female leaders.)
Rousseff was emboldened two weeks before her inauguration when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights declared Brazil’s amnesty law invalid — and called on the Brazilian government to properly investigate the cases of at least 62 people who disappeared during the country’s hapless, short-lived guerrilla war in the early 1970s, something previous governments have refused to do. “The [court] decision challenged the legitimacy and legality of Brazil’s amnesty legislation, and that was a very important and historical decision for Brazil,” says José Miguel Vivanco, executive director for the Americas at Human Rights Watch. Rousseff “is showing interest and support for the issue of human rights, domestically as well as internationally,” adds Vivanco, who feels her popular predecessor, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, too often shied away from the subject. “I have been positively surprised so far.”
Lucia Bird and Ellen Jones – The Santiago Times, 11/11/2010
In different ways Brazil, Argentina and Chile deal with their human rights legacies
The election of Dilma Rousseff as Brazil’s first female president has prompted the reopening of human rights cases against military junta members who tortured her and others during Brazil’s military dictatorship of the 1970s.
Rousseff was involved with radical leftist urban guerrilla groups during the junta’s rule, though she denies being part of any of the violence ascribed to them. Rousseff, daughter of an upper middle-class Bulgarian lawyer, joined the guerrilla group following the 1964 coup d’état. She was captured and tortured between 1970 and 1972. One prison guard dubbed her “Joan of Arc,” in light of the frequent beatings and electric shocks she endured.
Following a dispute within the Democratic Labor Party, which she co-founded, Rousseff joined the Workers Party in 2000. She became energy minister in 2002, following President Lula da Silva’s election victory. In 2005, she quickly rose to become the first female chief of staff following the forced resignation of Jose Dirceu after a corruption crisis.