In The News…

Posted by Robyn Smith 

The Amnesty Commission, part of the Ministry of Justice, announced a new initiative to create clinics  designed to help torture survivors from the dictatorship era. The project, called  “Clínicas do Testemunho” or Clinics of Testimony, aims to treat the psychological and emotional damage caused to the survivors as a way of reparation.  Paulo Abrão, president of the Amnesty Commission, is organizing the project with a  proposed budget of $3 million reais (approximately $1.5 million US dollars). Similar clinics were used in the past by Tortura Nunca Mais Rio and it is hoped that a wide spread implementation by the government will improve the service.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to aid the National Truth Commission in its investigation of Operation CONDOR during a meeting on the 10th between Minister Antonio Patriota and the National Truth Commission. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has opened all of their documents, including those from consulates in other countries, to the commission to aid in the investigation of human rights violations from 1946-1988. This could potentially be the key to identify the role that other countries played in the implementation and duration of the dictatorship. The same day, the National Commission also met with Adriano Digo, head of the São Paulo Truth Commission, in an effort to bring cohesion between the two commissions.

The unsolved death of 7-year old Ana Lídia Braga in 1973 has been brought to the Truth Commission’s attention. The young girl’s body, found in  Brasília on September 24th, 1973, showed signs of sexual torture with the Minister of Justice’s son as the prime subject. The military police believed that Braga’s brother had given her to Alfredo Buzaid Júnior, the son of Miniser Alfredo Buzaid, as a way to pay off drug debts but the witness of a Buzaid family servant was used to clear the sons name. The case went on for several months, with a collection of mixed witness testimonies and falsified documents, and then went cold with the military police citing the case against Buzaid as a “subversive action” of the left. Buzaid Jr. died in 1975 in an alleged car accident. The National Truth Commission came across the case when examining files in the National Archives that made reference to the event. Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Patriota has agreed to cooperate in the re-investigation.

Former President Jimmy Carter’s op-ed article written for the New York Times last month has caused a stir on a global scale. Carter claims that the United States is no longer the leader for Human Rights and that not it has a long history of human rights violations. Brazilian activists hope this critic will be extended to the United State’s role in the dictatorship era as well.

An incident occurring at the former location of the DIO-CODI in Rio has human rights activists alarmed after a group of soldiers allegedly cheered about a Skull Squad at a protest against the former dictatorship. The coronal of the group has agreed to investigate. The same day Tortura Nunca Mais Rio, an activist group for investigating the dictatorship, received threats that the director believes have spawned from the Truth Commissions activities in the area.

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