Recovered Documents Show Murder and Torture of Indigenous Groups during Dictatorship

Posted by David McCoy

One of the most significant documents produced during the military regime has been recovered 45 years after its creation and after supposedly having been destroyed in a fire during the dictatorship. The 7,000 page document known as the “Relatório Figueiredo” provides evidence of the murder of entire indigenous tribes, descriptions of methods of torture, and scenarios in which people were killed by dynamite thrown from planes and poison mixed into sugar water. The violence was committed across Brazil by employees of the now defunct Indian Protection Service [Serviço de Proteção ao Índio] as well as wealthy landowners. The document represents an important new area of investigation for the National Truth Commission and has been cited in the past as a highly important, albeit lost, document.

The report is the result of an investigation carried out in 1968 by Jader Figueiredo Correia, an attorney who wanted to investigate large-scale state and private violence against indigenous groups. It was produced under the authority of the Minister of the Interior of the time Albuquerque Lima, who recommended the termination of 33 people and the suspension of 17 more based on the report’s findings. However, many of those charges were dropped. Information on the original document can be found in English in a newspaper article from 1968, which describes the atrocities and references the supposed fire that probably served as a cover-up to hide the report’s findings.

The report was found by the vice president of the group Tortura Nunca Mais of São Paulo, Marcelo Zelic, in the Museo do Índio [Indian Museum] in Rio de Janeiro and was almost completely intact, with 29 of the 30 volumes present. For more information in Portuguese, click here and here.

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