MANIFESTO AGAINST THE APOLOGY TO THE CRIME OF TORTURE IN BRAZIL

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In 1964, Brazil experienced a serious coup d’édat lead by the military.  The military coup was supported by right wing groups of society as well as the mainstream media,  especially Globo Television, which is owned by the Marinho family.

The military dictatorship lasted twenty one years and left deep scars in the Brazilian collective consciousness.  During that dark period of Brazilian history, torture was institutionalized and carried out with no reservations by generals and police alike.  Assassinations of political activists who opposed the regime and their subsequent cover up were common practice. Such atrocities took place inside police stations, barracks and private homes. As it has become public recently, this powerful death machine did not spare even babies and children.

The redemocratization of the country will never be complete before each family receives official information about the fate of their missing relatives, even though we know they are unfortunately all dead. Our democracy will not be complete until the “amnesty law,” which protects the state and its agents from any criminal prosecution through a false reconciliation between opponents, is abolished. International human rights organizations have expressed their opposition to this meaningless privilege.

The consequences of the brutal methods employed during the civil-military dictatorship are also visible in the violent behavior of the military police in each of the states of the Federation, especially against the poor and black populations.

One of the most violent torturers of the regime was Colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, who directed the DOI-CODI (Information Operations – Internal Defense Operations Center) between 1970 and 1974.  During this period about two thousand prisoners passed through DOI-CODI’s headquarters in the city of São Paulo. Among them was the current President Dilma Rousseff.

On Sunday, April 17 of 2016, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, a congressman for the extreme right PSC (Christian Social Party), known for his homophobic and misogynist positions, and extreme religious conservatism, honored Ustra’s memory in declaring his vote for the impeachment of Rousseff. He said: “(…) to the memory of Colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, the dread of Dilma Rousseff; to the army of Caxias … [a reference in conservative sectors of the armed forces to his patron, the Duke of Caxias].”

We understand this demonstration as an attack not only to the person of Dilma Rousseff and her position as the commander in chief having been legitimately elected and who is now undergoing an impeachment process without having committed any crime.  We see this demonstration primarily as an attack on all individual and collective constitutional guarantees on which our democratic state of law is based upon, including the declaration of human rights, and the memory of relatives of victims of the dictatorship in Brazil.

We denounce publicly and vehemently this act of apology to the crime of torture carried out in the House of Representatives.

It is perfectly clear what are the forces lined up to drive again a new blow against the Brazilian democracy.

Coletivo Conexões em Luta (São Paulo) / MD18 –Movimento Democrático 18 de Março (Paris) / Coletivo Desbordar (San Francisco)

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