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Remembering Vigário Geral

cemiterio1

Source: Agência Brasil

Vigil recalls the 20 year anniversary of the Massacre a Vigário Geral

Paulo Virgilio

Brasília – The 20-year anniversary of the Massacre at Vigário Geral is being remembered today  (August 29) with a vigil starting at 7:00 p.m. on the Leme beach, in Rio’s Southern Zone. The demonstation is the must recent initiative of the movement Rio de Paz — “Rio at Peace” — and consists in a “symbolic cemetery” dug in the sand, with 21 crosses and a coffin symbolizing each victim of the massacre.

Messages affixed to the crosses relate the profession of each victim and call attention to continued police violence in Rio, with the slogan “The city is still divided. Where is Amarildo?”.

The question refers to the case of bricklayer Amarildo de Souza, disappeared since July 14 from the community of Rocinha, after having been taken by police to the UPP — Police Pacification Unit — in that community.

The massacre took place on August 29, 1993, when nearly fifty hooded men, armed with submachine guns, shotguns, pistols and grenades granadas, invaded theVigário Geral shantytwo, in Rio’s Northern Zone. The men wrecked houses and fired indiscriminately at local residents. Twenty-one persons were executed — all of them with a fixed address and registered profession and none of them with a criminal record.

The killing was motivated by revenge. The previous day, four troopers from the 9th Military Police Batallion (BPM) had been assassinated in the Catolé Plaza, in Rocha, adjacent to Vigário Geral. The crime was attributed to drug dealers who operated in the community. The perpetrators of the massacres were PMs from group know as the “The Race Horse*,” on account of their operating methods. They would enter the target locale at a run, firing and terrorizing residents.

The Vigário Geral massacre is one is a series of other massacres in Rio de Janeiro. On July 23 of the same year, nearly 50 children and teens who were sleeping near the Candelara Church, in the downtown area, were targeted by police. In the ensuing  years, three survivors have died in confrontations with police.

The two cases, which took place during the state administration of Leonel Brizola (1991-1994), were reported worldwide and international human rights groups were mobilized.

Of the 52 PMs formally accused of the slaughter at Vigário Geral, only seven were convicted and only one remains in prison. Three were absolved on appeal, one died and two received probaation. Five defendants died before the trial began and two remain fugitives. The rest were either absolved or had their cases dismissed.

Amnesty devotes a note today demanding the criminal prosecutor of everyone involved in the massacre. The iNGO calls  on the Brazil State to do away with impunity,  “conducting investigations that are immediate, complete and impratial in all human rights cases in which law enforcement and segurity forces may be involved.”

In a statement titled Vigário Geral: 20 years of impunity, the note recalls that four of those absolved in Vigário were also involved in the execution of Ediméia da Silva Euzébio, … in 1993. The case is still open.

I cannot find a document with that title, just a note dated July 24 and titled,

Fince the 10th anniversary, AI had previously drawn attention on handlfjul of occasions to the case:   in 2005, and in 2006 (twice)

AI also calls attention to the fact that the judiciary denied family members and potential litigants access to documents relating to civil actions …

A debate by the Association of Family Members of the Victims of Vigário Geral will be held today in the chambers of the state high court. …