General Mourão continues to deny the crimes of the dictatorship

Dora Longo Bahia, Unknown I, 1996 Oil on canvas 68 x 54 cm.


The newly released STM audios reveal with unexpected clarity the crimes of the dictatorship for the young generations

General Mourão remains the same, the one who was exonerated from the Southern Military Command by President Dilma Rousseff, in 2015, for commemorating the 1964 coup that installed the dictatorship in Brazil. Until he tried to differentiate himself from his president, but he couldn't. Just now, asked about an investigation into torture, he replied: “Find out what? The guys are already dead, man. [laughter]. Will you bring the guys from the grave back?

Regrettably, senior officers in the Brazilian armed forces, with a few notable exceptions, are on the same wavelength as the vice president. It is enough to remember the deplorable joint statement by the current Minister of Defense and the three military commanders who led the military dictatorship – with a bunch of unpunished violations and crimes against humanity – as a “historic milestone of political evolution” in Brazil.

Instead of this dissimulating and sweetened vision of the dictatorship, after the project Brasil: Nunca Mais (1985), created under the commitment of the much-missed Cardinal Dom Paulo and Pastor Jaime Wright, and of all the struggle of the relatives of the politically disappeared, there was no longer any doubt nothing about the culpability of the dictatorship for those violations. In the same direction, the law on political disappearances and reparations to their families, in 1995, at the beginning of the Fernando Henrique government, stated that common crimes committed by government agents during the dictatorship, such as disappearances, were the responsibility of the Brazilian State and , therefore, subject to reparations to the families of the victims.

Despite this recognition, the scope of the Amnesty Law for cases of torture and common crimes committed by civilians and State agents during the military dictatorship (1964-1985) remains valid. Despite the decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights having considered the amnesty in Brazil null, as it was a self-amnesty for agents of the dictatorship, enshrining their impunity.

In 2014, the National Truth Commission (CNV) report demonstrated that torture and other crimes were not abuses committed by an autonomous “tigrada”. But they referred to the chain of command that started from the generals, presidents and military ministers, reaching the operators of torture. Colonel Ustra, one of the chief torturers, celebrated by the current President of the Republic, sat in the Army Minister's office like many of his colleagues. After the coup government of Michel Temer, and in the present government, the CNV report and its recommendations were thrown in the trash.

For all these reasons, the research carried out by professor and historian Carlos Fico, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, who, thanks to the Federal Supreme Court, has access to 10 hours of audio recordings of trials between 1975 and 1985 is remarkable. , at the Superior Miliary Court (STM). Contrary to General Mourão's joke, it is vital to hear the voices of those members of the STM, such as Admiral Julio de Sá Bierrenbach and Generals Rodrigo Otávio Jordão Ramos and Augusto Fragoso, who believed in the allegations of torture against political prisoners during the dictatorship.

These audios reveal with unexpected clarity the crimes of the dictatorship for the young generations, allow investigations to be reopened and condemn the regrettable celebration of torture by the head of the Brazilian nation.

*Paulo Sergio Pinheiro he is a retired professor of political science at USP; former Minister of Human Rights; UN Special Rapporteur on Syria and member of the Arns Commission. Author, among other books, of Strategies of illusion: the world revolution and Brazil, 1922-1935 (Company of Letters).


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