Two Truth Commissions, Two Truths

Posted by Hilary Marie Johnson

There has been much controversy surrounding the true cause of death of former president Juscelino Kubitschek (JK), especially after two separate Truth Commissions came to two entirely different conclusions. The Municipal Truth Commission of São Paulo ruled that JK’s car accident was in fact an organized hit, carried out by the military regime. The National Truth Commission concluded that JK’s death was actually an accident, albeit one that the military dictatorship was likely pleased with.

The National Truth Commission submitted a 139-page report signed by five renowned experts detailing the accidental events that resulted in JK’s death. The report analyzes the location of the accident, the onset, and the immediate aftermath of the collision. It also addresses and seeks to disprove elements referenced in the report submitted by the Municipal Truth Commission of São Paulo, including the possibility of the following factors: involvement of another vehicle, the presence of a bomb, the firing of a fatal shot into the head of the driver, Geraldo Ribeiro, and the small metal object found in Ribeiro’s head. The group responsible for the compilation of the report insists that the accident occurred “in circumstances that couldn’t simply materialize”.

The presence of two “truths” that directly contradict each other implies that one of these “truths” is inevitability untrue. In order to identify which “truth” is actually the truth, it has been suggested that Brazil follow Italy’s new government’s example of declassifying all documents related to a series of attacks between 1969 and 1984. According to many commentators, it is only through the uncovering of all relevant documents of the era that Brazil can hope to finally unearth the truth regarding JK’s death.

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