In The News…

Posted by Robyn Smith

Frente de Esculacho Popular staged another esculacho on the weekend of October 20th outside of the home of retired lieutenant colonel Homero Cesar Machado. Esculachos are protests that take place outside the homes of known former torturers. In a testimony in 2003, Dilma Rouseff pointed to Machado as the man in charge of the torture she underwent during military rule. Machado now lives near Avenida Paulista in São Paulo, and about 80 protesters came to his neighborhood to picket his house and pass out pamphlets to passers by about his past. Signs were posted, and speeches were given in protest of Machado’s civil freedom. Last year, the Public Minister requested that Machado and three other military personnel be declared responsible but a federal court upheld their impunity based on the 1979 Amnesty Law. The story was picked up by Folha de Sao Paulo and EBC.

The 36th Annual Meeting of the National Association of Graduate Studies and Research in Social Sciences meet earlier this week to discuss and defend the use of multiple truth commissions. Those in attendance included a variety of former Human Rights Secretaries and Justice Ministers. The experts discussed the ability of individual committees, representing universities and individual states, to better address the complexities of truth. This consensus on how to approach a truth commission has been supported by the variety of truth commissions that have formed following the National Truth Commission.

On October 17th the National Truth Commission, officiated by Attorney Rosa Maria Cardoso da Cunha, and the state truth commission for São Paulo, represented by Adriano Diogo (PT-SP), passed their first joint action to request that the University of São Paulo (USP) further investigate the termination of employment of Ana Rosa Kucinski in 1975. Kucinski disappeared on the night of her anniversary and it is suspected that she was tortured and incinerated at the House of Death in Rio de Janiero. Kucinski’s termination from USP came as a result of “job abandonment” and the state and national commission would like USP to revisit this from the perspective that she was murdered. The remarkable push to have records rectified shows a changing tide in Brazilian government to fully compensate victims. Kucinski was a professor in the chemistry department and a member of the National Liberation Action resistance movement. Kucinski also worked as an informant to the Israeli and American governments on Brazilian relations.

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