Posted by Hilary Marie Johnson
The National Truth Commission also announced at the beginning of this month that both national and international companies that collaborated with the military dictatorship would be called upon to clarify the nature of their associations. Dozens of companies are known to have helped the regime denouncing their workers’ participation in resistance efforts and reporting their actions. Of the nearly two dozen companies implicated, only Volkswagen has released an official statement, indicating a desire to treat the matter with the same level of seriousness that its company has treated all prior investigations. While it is still unclear as to the extent to which companies will be held responsible, the item will be in the Commission’s final report, set to be discussed in December, when the group of investigators will have finished their work.
National Truth Commission coordinator Pedro Dallari affirmed that former Army General José Antonio Nogueira Belham was involved in the death of former Congressman Rubens Paiva. Belham, who was the commander of DOI-CODI in Rio de Janeiro during the military dictatorship, claimed that he was on vacation when Paiva was arrested and killed, but documents show that he received payment for a secret mission in January of 1971, right around the time of the murder. In a hearing closed to the media, Belham opted to stay quiet instead of contesting the accusations. Belham’s role was discovered accidentally when documents that tied him to Paiva were recovered at a Colonel’s house in Porto Alegre. The Federal Courts in Rio de Janeiro have recently deemed that crimes committed during the military dictatorship are to be tried as crimes against humanity, and those involved in the death and disappearance of Rubens Paiva will not to be protected under the Amnesty Law.
Brazil’s Socialist Party (PSB) presidential candidate Marina Silva claimed that the military helped in the nation’s transition from dictatorship into democracy. Silva attempted to draw a comparison between the relative unimportance of prosecuting those responsible for crimes committed during the military dictatorship with the fact that the names of those who imprisoned former South African President Nelson Mandela’s for 25 years are not widely known. The Brazilian Military Club endorsed Silva’s presidential campaign last week, but withdrew the endorsement shortly thereafter and proclaimed support for presidential hopeful Aécio Neves, deemed a “lesser of two evils”.