Brazil on Thursday paid homage to Joao Goulart, ousted as Brazilian president ahead of the 1964-85 military dictatorship, after his remains were exhumed to determine if he was poisoned. The exhumation took place at the Sao Borja cemetery near the Uruguayan and Argentine border, and flown to the capital Brasilia.
This is a day where Brazil confronts its history ... this ceremony is an affirmation of our democracy, tweeted current President Dilma Rousseff, a former student leader who was jailed and tortured under the dictatorship.
Rousseff attended a brief ceremony of remembrance alongside Goulart's emotional widow Tereza Goulart. Also present were former presidents Jose Sarney, Fernando Collor de Mello and Dilma's predecessor Lula da Silva.
Goulart's remains were brought in a coffin draped in the national flag by military jet to Brasilia and received full military honors.
Following the exhumation, 18 hours of tests were undertaken and samples collected for careful analysis.
The return of President Joao Goulart to Brasilia is a triumph for legality, democracy and the Brazilian people, the Commission for Truth investigating crimes committed under the dictatorship said.
The Commission is backing the investigation into the cause of death of Goulart, who took office in 1961 and was one of the young leaders boosted by one of Brazil's greatest modern presidents Getulio Vargas.
He is suspected of having been poisoned in 1976 by agents from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay acting under orders of the three Latin American military regimes of the time.
Goulart, nicknamed Jango, was ousted in a 1964 coup and officially died of a heart attack in Argentina in 1976. An autopsy was never carried out on his body and he was buried without state honors.
It is a duty of the Brazilian state to shed light on the circumstances into the death of President Joao Goulart, said Minister for Human Rights Maria do Rosario.
A team of experts will now assess the samples taken from the remains to determine whether the poisoning theory stands up to scrutiny.
The investigation is being conducted by a Truth Commission set up by Rousseff, the first Brazilian president since the return of democracy in 1985 to look into abuses during the dictatorship.