Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff trusts a Truth Commission can be set up and working before the end of the year to investigate crimes and human rights abuses committed during the military dictatorship which extended from 1964 to 1985.
Among the many victims of the military regime is Ms Rousseff who as a student and alleged guerrilla supporter in the early seventies was tortured and jailed for two years.
The announcement was done by Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo who added that “it will be a victory not for the government but for the people” to have a bill passed by Congress creating a commission on the years of the dictatorship, never accomplished before in Brazil”.
“I think we have the right climate for the Truth Commission bill to be approved this year. The truth does not mean vengeance. Truth is truth. It’s something that happened and needs to be rescued for all to see. Whoever thinks the truth is vengeance has much to hide”, said the minister in direct reference to military officers who oppose the initiative.
Last Thursday, March 31st, was the 47th anniversary of the military coup that ousted constitutional president Joao Goulart and for the first time the Army ordered its generals to avoid any mention or statements celebrating the date which was erased from the official Brazilian Armed Forces calendar of commemorations.
The administration of President Dilma Rousseff also announced it will organize a seminar on the Truth Commission to promote information, admissions and accounts of the experiences in South Africa and Germany.
Contrary to all other South American and Mercosur member countries, the Brazilian political establishment never looked back into the events from 1964 to 1985 and strictly respected a self promulgated military regime bill dating back to 1979 which established a general amnesty for all crimes and human rights violations committed during those years.
Not so long ago former president Lula da Silva, the most popular Brazilian leader in over half a century attempted to review some events of the past regarding human rights abuses, but he back stepped when Defence minister Nelson Jobim (who continues under President Rousseff) and the Chiefs of Staff from the three forces put their resignations on the president’s desk.
Furthermore President Lula da Silva extended for another thirty years the secrecy clamp on government and official documents from the time.
President Goulart exiled in neighbouring Uruguay where he was involved in farming. However in very strange circumstances, a very healthy Goulart died of food intoxication during a visit to an Argentine province in 1976. There was no autopsy and it is believed that he was poisoned in a joint action of Brazilian and Argentine intelligence services.