Leandro Fortes of CartaCapital magazine (Brazil) presents excerpts from an August 7 protest at the Clube Military in Rio de Janeiro over statements by government officials suggesting that it is time for Brazil to heed international calls for it to overturn its 1979 amnesty law and open the books on state-sponsored terrorism under the generalissimos who ruled the country from 1964-1985.
Brazil is the only nation on the continent that has not overturned its amnesty law and engaged in the sort of truth and reconciliation process we have seen in Chile and Argentina (and more recently, in the Fujimori case, in Peru.)
General Figueiredo is a leading light of an NGO called “Terrorism Never Again” (Ternuma), set up as a response to the “Torture Never Again” organization, which has been working actively for decades to demand accountability for criminal acts committed by agents of the semipermanent state of exception.
Reading the Ternuma Web site is fascinating experience, especially if you have recently finished reading Michael Mann’s Fascists, as I have. These people are basically fascists, of an intriguing tropical variety, and their general attitude very plainly recalls the remarks of a Romanian fascist leader cited by Mann, to the effect that acts of corruption, extreme inhumanity, common criminality and sadistic violence, when committed by true patriots in the service of the Fatherland, are not crimes at all.
(I am still trying to remember where I left that book, this is a really useful quote, I want to cite it verbatim.)
The most interesting example of exorbitant rhetoric on display here is the lawyer who elaborates on a claim made by the opposition presidential candidate in the 2006 elections: That the Lula government conspired with the FARC and the PCC narcotrafficking syndicate of São Paulo to murder state military police in May 2006, in order to undermine that candidate’s chances of being elected. See
These people will say anything.
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? Rob Allyn’s 2000 “John McCain is Insane” campaign? This year’s “Barack Obama is a member of al-Qaeda” book?
Paragons of responsible, well-founded, public-spirited criticism compared to this gibbering nonsense — which often gets channeled through Brazil’s leading newsweekly, by the way. See, for example,
This gentleman suggests that the IRA and ETA, not just the FARC and the PCC, also had a hand in the plot:
“It was ETA that coordinated the guerrilla and the terrorism, the only terrorist group with expertise in urban guerrilla operations; it was the IRA that blew up the headquarters of the Public Ministry, with their knowledge of military engineering using nitroglycerine; and it was the FARC that carried out the executions, the concentrated fire from automatic weapons is evidence of combat experience. The radical revolutionary Left cannot accept being challenged in any way, and has launched a new wave of terrorism.” (Ribas Paiva, correcting official information according to which in May 2006, it was the federal governmnt, and not the PCC criminal faction, that coordinated the attacks on the city of São Paulo).
This is an astonishing piece of hysterical, gabbling disinformation, without a shred of credibility, although rhetorically and epistemologically, it dovetails rather neatly with the tenor of a recent campaign by Jose Maria “ETA Did 11-M” Aznar to disseminate the values of Western Civilization throughout Latin America. See
Leandro Fortes reports; I translate rapidly, draft-quality, as always.