Posted by Vanessa Castañeda
In the wake of Defense Minister Celso Amorim’s formal recognition of State responsibility for human rights crimes during the dictatorship and the ensuing criticism of the statement as insufficient by the National Truth Commission and other groups, the newspaper O Globo published on the 25th of September, an editorial defending Amorim and the armed forces. The editorial not only absolves the military of the need to make an official apology—something the militaries of Argentina and Chile have already done for dictatorships in their countries—it also attacks the Ministry of Justice and the Federal Public Ministry for working to overturn the 1979 Amnesty Law. Repeating the same tired rhetoric of the last thirty years, O Globo calls for Brazil to face its dictatorial past, but “without revanchismos [vindictiveness], in the spirit of the Amnesty Law.” [RJA]
Additionally, the active officials of the Military reserve have not disguised their discomfort with Amorim’s statement either. General Augusto Heleno Pereira stated that the Armed Forces will not formally admit or recognize the Armed Force’s responsibility in human rights crimes during the dictatorship. General Heleno claims that it “was not the Armed Forces that recognized human rights crimes, but the Defense minister, therefore, obviously the Armed Forces will not be apologizing”. He has even gone so far as to criticize the reparations that have been paid to victims of torture. The CNV has solicited a meeting with Defense Minister Celso Amorim and military commanders to dialogue and hopefully obtain formal recognition of human rights crimes during the dictatorship from the Armed Forces. Although Amorim’s statement is a step in the right direction, it is not enough.
On the 23rd of September 2014 Pedro Dallari, President of the National Truth Commission (CNV) disclosed that thirty three prisoners of the DOI-Codi intelligence and repression agency in Rio remain disappeared and that fifteen died during the military dictatorship. Representatives from the National and State Truth Commissions as well as former prisoners visited the headquarters. João Ricardo Nornelles from the Rio de Janeiro State Truth Commission said, “This visit represents, first and foremost, the recovery of the memory of these people.”