In the News…

Posted by Allison Fisher

On the 30th of October, the Christian Science Monitor published an article challenging the new “culture of accountability” that Brazil has begun to take on. The author, Joe Bateman, references current cases that are taking Brazil in the right direction including the Mensalão scandal and the recent conviction of two police officers for the massacre of 19 activists. Bateman critiques however that the culture of impunity runs deep in Brazil, and until those who committed human rights violations during the dictatorship era are tried in court, Brazil will have not made the appropriate steps forward toward an accountable justice system. He argues that the protection of “ongoing crimes” under the Amnesty Law of 1979 for instance, is one of the many current faults the justice system is continuing to make today.

On November 6th, the National Truth Commission and the Truth Commission of the University of Brasília will discuss and analyze the circumstances of death of one of the University of Brasília’s founders, Anísio Teixeira. His body was found in March of 1971 in the bottom of the elevator of his friend’s building. The official documents say his death was the consequence of an “accident” as has been the case with others. His two children will be in attendance at the hearing, and the daughter, Babi Teixeira, will present an archive documenting exactly what happened to her father according to relatives and friends.

In an article recently published by The World, the Truth Commission is once again criticized for being a “sham.” The article documents a case of torture in which Cecilia Coimbra, who provided a safe house for guerrillas during the dictatorship, was tortured with electric wire shocks and even with the placement of a small crocodile on her body. Coimbra, like many others, is not satisfied with the Truth Commission but does not necessarily believe closure requires taking punitive measures. She believes that it was “designed to polish Brazil’s image abroad” but said that she would be satisfied with public recognition on behalf of the torturers. Navy admiral Ricardo Veiga countered criticism of Brazil’s slow transitional justice process by saying that the fact that a former guerrilla is now president shows how far the country has come.

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