Brazil’s Truth Commission – A Roundup

Yesterday, on International Human Rights Day, Brazil’s National Truth Commission (Comissão Nacional da Verdade) concluded and submitted its report after over two years of work across 14 work groups and thousands upon thousands of hours of interviews, fact-finding, document-collecting, and site visits. The report is of remarkable significance, in part because it marks the Brazilian state finally beginning to fully account for the actions, atrocities, and human rights violations that the military regime of 1964-1985 and its supporters committed; in part, because it provides an even greater level of detail and of the systematic use of torture than we previously had; and in part because it has forced the most enduring and most public discussion on a military regime that Brazilians had tended to ignore and leave in the past in an effort to “move forward” without critically looking at the context and legacies of the regime.

There’s a lot to be said on the Commission, but there are a large number of reports in both English and Portuguese that cover the Commission’s findings and its context. There are a lot of different angles to consider: the report’s findings themselves; the question of possibly revoking the 1979 general amnesty that pardoned torturers and perhaps moving toward prosecution; the question of collective memory as survivors relive the events of the past; and even the gendered portrayal of a crying Dilma Rousseff when she received the report. Below is a list of some excellent pieces related to the Report. [Some are in Portuguese, but Google Translate can do a passable job in many instances.]

“Brazil Releases Report on Past Rights Abuses” (New York Times)

“Brazil president weeps as she unveils report on military dictatorship’s abuses -Dilma Rousseff was herself tortured; 191 people killed, 243 ‘disappeared’ – US and UK trained interrogators in torture during 1964-1985 military rule” (The Guardian)

“The Truth Commission: Know the report’s 29 recommendations” (BBC Brasil)

“Report will motivate new actions in the Justice system” (Folha de São Paulo)

“Truth Commission ended any nostalgia for the dictatorship’ says [Commission president] Pedro Dallari” (Carta Capital)

“Truth Commission’s report is ‘illegal,’ ‘partial,’ and ‘revanchist,’ says president of the Naval Club” (BBC Brasil)

“Dilma receives report, cries, and tries to appease military members’ animosity” (BBC Brasil)

“Dilma cries upon receiving the final report of the National Truth Commission” (Carta Capital)

“Brazil truth commission: Abuse ‘rife’ under military rule” (BBC)

“Ex-military try to bar the Truth Commission report in the Justice system” (BBC Brasil)

“Truth Commission report proposes changes in police, laws, and prisons” (BBC Brasil)

“Brazil releases truth commission report” (Memory in Latin America)

“Moment of Truth for Brazil’s military past” (BBC)

“For families of the disappeared, Truth Commission report has to be a ‘starting point'” (BBC Brasil)

“Truth Commission reopens discussion on the punishment of the military” (BBC Brasil)

“Final Report of the Truth Commission asks for partial revocation of the Amnesty Law and holds ex-presidents responsible” (O Globo)

“LGBTs suffered more aggressive tortures, cays Truth Commission” (BBC Brasil)

“Public Note: For the punishment of the torturers of the Military Dictatorship” (Carta Capital)

“Brazil Truth Commission: Victims Revisit Torture Cells” (BBC)

“Ex-militants visit women’s cells in DOPS where they were imprisoned” (BBC Brasil)

“‘Delivering the mortal remains to the family of a desaparecido [“disappeared”] was emotional,’ says Truth Commission chief” (BBC Brasil)

“Truth Commission confirms that Folha [de São Paulo] lent cars to the dictatorship” (Carta Capital)

“Argentina an ally in Brazilian state’s repression” (Buenos Aires Herald)

“In Rio, the ex-headquarters of DOPS has a dark past and doubtful future” (BBC Brasil)

“Truth Commission: What happens after the final report?” (BBC Brasil)

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About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
This entry was posted in Brazil, Brazil's Military Dictatorship, Human Rights Issues, Latin American History, Latin American Militaries, Latin American Politics, Memory Struggles, Military Dictatorships, Truth Commissions. Bookmark the permalink.