In the News…

Posted by Allison Fisher

This past Saturday the National Truth Commission concluded that Rubens Paiva, a former congressman of São Paulo, was indeed killed under torture during the dictatorship in 1971. The official version of the story promulgated by the military at the time, that Paiva was kidnapped while he was in their custody, was falsified by national archives and documents delivered by the family of Colonel Julio Miguel Molinas Dias this past week. Rubens Paiva was a member of the Brazilian Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro, PTB) and investigated the activities of the Institute of Social Research and Studies (IPES) and the Brazilian Institute for Democratic Action (IBAD), two organizations that gave money to military officers to help finance the coup d’etat in 1964. For more information, see the Globo story here.

The search for bodies from the Araguaia massacre is facing some resistance from 33 families of the disappeared. The government initially set up the search in 2009 which is composed of members of the military, families of the disappeared, and researchers. The expeditions are generally around 135 people and are costly, as the searches from 2011 and 2012 amounted to R$ 3.9 million. The petitioning families say that too many military officials are working on the case and that too much money is being spent on an endeavor that has been largely fruitless to date. They explain that the most information found has been in the absence of military officials and that their large presence is scaring locals in the area. Many families of the disappeared continue to support these efforts, however, and believe that this is the best possible route.

The Truth Commission of the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo wants to revise the coat of arms of the military police of São Paulo. The coat of arms contains 18 stars that each pay tribute to different historical “successes” of the police, one of which is the “March revolution,” otherwise known as the military coup of 1964. There are some other controversial stars on the coat of arms as well including ones that commemorate the Paraguayan War and the revolt of Straws. The Truth Commission will call these stars into question as they represent rather repressive actions taken by the police.

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