Lula reinstates commission to investigate crimes during dictatorship in Brazil


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04 julio 2024 – 19:19

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has ordered the reinstatement of a special commission into crimes committed during the military dictatorship (1964-1985), which had been abolished by his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

The presidential decree, published this Thursday in the Official Gazette of the Union, renders “void” the resolution that terminated the work of the Special Commission on Political Deaths and Disappearances and declares “the continuity of the activities.”

The commission, created in 1995 to investigate political repression during the dictatorship and provide reparations to victims, was eliminated by Bolsonaro, a former army captain and fervent defender of the military regime, two days before the end of his term on December 30, 2022.

According to official figures, political repression left at least 434 people dead or missing in Brazil between 1946 and 1988, turbulent decades that included the dictatorship.

The number of victims is considerably lower than that left by de facto governments in other Latin American countries such as Chile (3,200) or Argentina (30,000, according to human rights organizations).

But this balance does not include hundreds of victims of militias created to suppress agrarian conflicts or the massacres of indigenous people in the advance of the occupation of the territory by the State.

Unlike neighboring Argentina, which tried high-ranking officials and other state agents accused of committing crimes during the dictatorship (1976-1983), in Brazil the chapter was settled with an Amnesty Law of 1979.

Brazilian Human Rights Minister Silvio Almeida praised Lula’s initiative as “an important step to guarantee memory, truth and justice.”

With its reconstruction, “the work illegally interrupted by the previous search and identification of the dead and missing will continue,” he added in a statement.

Human rights groups were clamoring to reinstate the commission’s work.

The leftist president was criticized by these organizations for suspending official events on March 31, the 60th anniversary of the military coup that overthrew constitutional president Joao Goulart (1961-1964) and established an authoritarian regime.

Lula, a former trade unionist who led a historic strike against the de facto government, justified the decision by arguing that the 1964 coup “is already part of history” and said he was “more concerned about the coup of January 8, 2023.”

That day, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters invaded the headquarters of the three powers in Brasilia, calling on the military to depose Lula, a week after his inauguration.

Bolsonaro and several of his ministers are under investigation for participating in an alleged “coup plan” to stay in power after his defeat in the 2022 elections.


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