In the News…

Posted by David McCoy

The National Truth Commission has made available the testimonies of Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, a convicted torturer in the Doi-Codi facility in São Paulo; Gilberto Natalini, a senator from São Paulo who was tortured by Ustra; and Marival Chaves, who worked as an agent in Doi-Codi but denies having tortured anyone. Chaves spoke first and described some of what he witnessed in Doi-Codi, such as dead bodies of torture victims being stacked up like trophies on multiple occasions. Natalini spoke second and talked about his personal experience being tortured by Ustra. Ustra spoke last but declined to answer the majority of the questions asked by the Commission. To see the video click here or here.

The National Truth Commission, The Federal Public Minister of Rio Grande do Sul (MPF-RS), and the Secretary of Human Rights of the Presidency of the Republic (SDH) have announced the exhumation of the body of former president João “Jango” Goulart. Goulart died in exile in Argentina in 1976 and was hastily buried in Rio Grande do Sul. The military regime forbade an autopsy at the time, and more recent testimonies have revealed that the military was monitoring Goulart in addition to formulating a plan known as Operation Scorpion, which proposed assassinating Goulart by tampering with the medication he took for his heart. The exhumation will be conducted by an international, inter-disciplinary panel of experts and has the blessing of the Goulart family. For more information, see the Commission press release.

The National Truth Commission (CNV) recently presented a summary and self-assessment of the first year of its mandate in Brasília. In addition to the public presentation, the CNV made public a seven-page document summarizing the first year of action, in addition to some partial results of investigative research conducted by Heloísa Starling, an advisor to the CNV and coordinator of Projeto República. For more information, click here. For a summary in English of news articles discussing the CNV’s progress, click here.

Earlier this month, a prominent university in the capital of São Paulo,  Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP), announced the creation of a campus truth commission. The commission will consist of seven professors and one lawyer and will report its results to the  National Truth Commission. For more information, visit PUC-SP’s site.

The mayor of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad, has sanctioned a law that allows the re-naming of streets that are currently named for public officials who have committed human rights violations, such as crimes of torture during the military regime. One proposed change is a street named for Doutor Sérgio Fleury, who has been accused of participating in acts of torture during his time with the Department of Political and Social Order (DOPS). If the change is enacted, the street will be renamed for Frei Tito, a Catholic friar who was tortured by Fleury. For more information, click here.

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