Ontem o Maria Frô publicou a tradução e comentários da primeira série de documentos liberados pelo wikileaks para a blogosfera brasileira, veja aqui.
Particularmente, acho que a blogosfera tem de ficar muito atenta à análise que Israel Shamir faz no CounterPunch sobre o modo como a grande imprensa publica os telegramas vazados pelos Wikileaks, veja aqui.
Hoje, não poderei traduzir os telegramas que discutem Anistia, ditadura militar no Brasil e os debates em torno da Comissão da Verdade e PNDH3, pois tenho de entregar dois volumes completamente revisados.
Sinteticamente, o primeiro telegrama da embaixada estadunidense no Brasil, analisa como os 40 anos de golpe militar foram tratados pela imprensa brasileira. Como no caso do grampo no grupo de telegramas já publicados, podemos perceber que há juízos de valor nesta análise. Interessante ver como a embaixada estadunidense trata o envolvimento dos EUA no golpe e durante a ditadura militar.
O segundo telegrama faz referência ao caso Herzog e os problemas que teremos de enfrentar ao lidar com os arquivos do período da ditadura militar. O telegrama fala com simpatia sobre as decisões do governo Lula em não enfrentar diretamente os militares.
O terceiro e quarto telegramas tratam do embate recente sobre a revisão da Lei da Anistia, a discussão sobre julgamento dos torturadores durante o período da Ditadura Militar e a aprovação do PNDH3. Tarso Genro ainda era Ministro da Justiça. Sobel percebe claramente que apesar dos esforços do governo brasileiro em apoiar Jobim, passando por cima do ministro dos Direitos Humanos, à época – Paulo Vannucchi -, e ter colocado a polêmica sobre o julgamento de crimes de tortura no Brasil embaixo do tapete não resolveu a questão. Quem acompanhou de perto as eleições de 2010 sabe bem disso.
Vou postar os documentos em inglês, se algum voluntário/a quiser traduzir, à vontade.
Gostaria que considerassem a importância para a blogosfera brasileira ter acesso a estes documentos na medida que, no Brasil, até ontem, apenas Folha, Estadão, o Globo e Carta Capital, por meio de Natália Viana, podiam publicá-los.
Se não repercutirmos e analisarmos os documentos, o que adianta termos acesso aos telegramas?
Atualização: O Futepoca que também recebe os telegramas fez post a respeito aqui e aqui.
|15587||4/1/2004 13:14||04BRASILIA784||Embassy Brasilia||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY|
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000784 SIPDIS SENSITIVE E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PGOV, PINR, PREL, SOCI, BR, Domestic Politics
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF MILITARY COUP REF: BUENOS AIRES 961
1. (SBU) Introduction and Summary. Unlike the civil-military contretemps surrounding the 28th anniversary of Argentina’s military coup (reftel), Brazil has marked the 40th anniversary (March 31) of its coup in a more circumspect fashion. The monumental transition to full democracy during the last two decades seems almost taken for granted in much of the coverage, as the Brazilian media has focused on unresolved human rights cases, rehashed the conditions that led to the military action, and opined on other long-term effects of the military’s nineteen-year regime. While steadily receding, the military regime era still casts some shadows on Brazil-U.S. relations. End introduction and summary.
Forty Years Ago
2. (SBU) Mainstream Brazilian news outlets have detailed the circumstances and legacy of the 1964 military coup that ousted President Goulart and ushered in two decades of “General-Presidents.” While bemoaning the military’s human and civil rights violations, misguided pharaonic projects in the Amazon, and ultimately failed economic policies, some pundits credit the military presidents for modernizing Brazil, and occasionally standing up to the United States. This “on the other hand” praise recalls comments by then-candidate Lula da Silva in 2002, who credited the same military government that jailed him with pursuing strategic planning that benefited the country. Other legacies of that era have received less media attention. These include the unwieldy, novel-sized 1988 Constitution — an over-reaction to the dictatorship that hobbled effective governance by minutely detailing a vast range of states’ and citizens’ rights — and the inordinate influence of the regime-endorsed opposition party, the PMDB, which evolved into a patronage machine that still frustrates presidents today.
The Military Today
3. (SBU) Not surprisingly, the Brazilian military is perhaps the single Brazilian institution most changed since the dictatorship era. The military’s experience in governance was in large measure controversial and frustrating, and today’s soldiers want no part in politics. The Brazilian armed forces are now securely under civilian authority, and willingly play a diminished role in national decisionmaking. Although Brazil’s constitution gives the military an internal order role in crises, officers no longer see themselves as the nation’s bulwark against incompetent politicians. Instead, they are keenly focused on professionalism, seeking to protect national borders, prepare for peacekeeping missions and provide assistance to remote populations. The change is widely perceived and public opinion polls consistently show the military among the country’s most trusted institutions, even though its funding has plummeted through the years.
4. (SBU) There remains some negative residue. There is a feeling among some older and retired officers that the steps the military took to move the country back toward democracy are not appreciated today. And there remains a subtle degree of rancor toward the USG, owing to a sense among some older officers that the U.S. switched abruptly from supporting the military government to condemning it for human rights violations. In addition, the Brazilian military’s reluctance to take on some counterdrug and crime control missions which could involve violent engagement with civilians is reinforced by lingering questions about unresolved 1970s counterinsurgency-related disappearances.
5. SBU) The most trumpeted positive aspect of the dictatorship was its supposed “economic miracle,” commonly attributed to the direction of state industrial development by skilled teams of non-ideological technocrats. Brazil’s GDP growth was said to be the world’s highest from the late 1960s until halted by the world oil crisis in the 1970s. The dictatorship completed monster energy and infrastructure projects. The generals also nurtured and protected (with rigid market reserves) some key heavy industries (e.g. automobiles) and “strategic” production, most notably informatics. (Ironically, it was in part the emphasis on protected heavy industries that made the labor movement’s strikes in the 1970s such effective platforms for the growing democratic opposition.)
6. (SBU) At the same time, it eventually became recognized that the “miracle” did little to lessen Brazil’s historic curse of poverty and income disparities — wealth accrued mostly to the elite and a slowly broadening middle class in the south and also brought benefits to industrial workers, but the country’s poor grew poorer. Even the statistics upon which the regime based its claims of overall growth transpired toward the end to be debatable. In the context of official economic policies and attitudes, Brazil’s dictatorship left few discernible marks. Everyone in both public and the private sectors here acknowledges that the state can never again dispose of the resources to launch a broad-based development design.
Some Lingering Repercussions for U.S. Interests
7. (SBU) Some journalists and academics portray the U.S. as directly encouraging the coup plotters, or at least having foreknowledge of the planning. Some of the more sensationalist publications draw labored parallels between 1964 and the level of U.S. influence in Brazil today. But other Brazilian reporters note that the USG has provided greater access to documents and tape recordings of official conversations from that era than are available in Brazilian archives, and “O Estado de Sao Paulo’s” 31 March edition featured an essay by former U.S. Ambassador Lincoln Gordon (1961-65) debunking accusations of USG collusion with the coup makers. Most informed observers have concluded that the Brazilian civilian political leadership of that era bears a significant measure of responsibility, and that the generals and admirals who mounted the coup were prepared to move regardless of U.S. signals.
8. (SBU) Weekly newsmagazine VEJA has pointed out that an important legacy of the military regime is the state of Brazil’s nuclear program. The dictatorship’s failed attempts to fabricate a nuclear weapon and its cooperation with Iraq and others still color Brazilian policy decisions. The militarization of that program contributed to Brazil’s not signing the NPT until 1998 and for a time slowed Brazil’s evolution into a regional non-proliferation success story.
9. (SBU) The coup also indirectly built up the prestige Fidel Castro still holds among Brazil’s left. Goulart’s flirtation with Castro and Che had rankled the Brazilian military even before the coup. Castro’s support for the failed Brazilian insurgents of the early 1970s and opposition political and union movements still endear him to key members of the current government, some of whom sought refuge in Cuba during the military era, including Presidential Chief of Staff Jose Dirceu.
Water Under the Bridge
10. (SBU) Comment. Two of Brasilia’s three bridges are named after military presidents. The third and newest commemorates a popular civilian president who lost his political rights under the military regime and whose death some blame on the dictatorship. Brazil’s culture, economy, and political life still contain many such ironies (e.g., Brazil’s privately-owned aviation giant EMBRAER began as a parastatal sinecure for ex-Air Force officers in 1969, and Foreign Minister Amorim and his left-leaning Deputy Minister worked for a film parastatal during the dictatorship.). The harsher aspects of the dictatorship and the long return to democracy are not forgotten. However, 40 years since the coup and 19 years since the return to civilian rule, the military era is of less and less relevance to a forward-looking society in which a third of the population was born after the restoration of democracy. Brazil’s civil and political institutions are now fully democratic, the military is a respected (if underfunded) professional force, and some of the opposition figures of the military era are now running the country. HRINAK
|22082||10/27/2004 13:16||04BRASILIA2684||Embassy Brasilia||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY|
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BRASILIA 002684 SIPDIS SENSITIVE E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PHUM, PGOV, SOCI, PINR, BR, Domestic Politics
SUBJECT: HERZOG CASE REOPENS WOUNDS FROM BRAZIL’S DICTATORSHIP
1. (SBU) SUMMARY. In 1975, during Brazil’s military dictatorship, leftist journalist Vladimir Herzog died under suspicious circumstances in a government facility in Sao Paulo. The regime classified his death as a suicide, but most believed he had been murdered, and Herzog became a case study for regime abuses. Two weeks ago, Brasilia’s daily paper “Correio Brasiliense” ran a story highlighted by leaked photos that apparently show a humiliated Herzog in his cell shortly before his death. If accurate, the photos of his abuse would support the theory that he was murdered. Shockingly, the Brazilian Army responded with a statement legitimizing the measures of the dictatorship and dismissing the press coverage as a “little attempt at revenge”. President Lula was outraged and the Army Chief quickly issued a better statement expressing remorse for Herzog’s death. In another twist, it then emerged that the man in at least two of the three photos was not Herzog at all, but a Canadian priest who ran afoul of the regime and was briefly detained in 1975. The legacy of the Herzog case will be a broader discussion about how to handle the military archives from the dictatorship period, which are currently sealed for fifty years. President Lula, mindful of the need for smooth relations with the military and the importance of moving forward with his policy agenda, is in no hurry to open the dictatorship’s files. He will leave the next steps to the Congress, courts, and public opinion. END SUMMARY.
HERZOG’S DEATH AND THE FORGOTTEN FILES
2. (U) When he was detained by the military regime on 24 October 1975, Vladimir Herzog was a member of the Brazilian Communist Party and Director of Journalism at “TV Cultura”. He was taken for interrogation at a notorious regime facility in Sao Paulo, becoming one of about 3,000 political prisoners held at the time. The next day, photos of his body were released –he had been hanged from his cell’s window (the window is so low to the ground that Herzog’s knees nearly touch the floor, generating immediate doubts about the hanging scenario). Although the regime insisted Herzog had committed suicide, he was widely believed to have been tortured and murdered. The Sao Paulo rabbi who presided over his funeral refused to bury Herzog in the cemetery’s suicide section.
3. (U) In 1997, twelve years after the return to civilian rule. An intelligence officer who, even as late as 1995, was spying on leftist political parties, had a crisis of conscience. He gathered up a stack of files from the military intelligence center and delivered them to the Human Rights Committee of the federal Chamber of Deputies, where they gathered dust until this month. The Human Rights Committee is now reorganizing its archives, and the files resurfaced. On 17 October 2004, in a splashy six-page spread, Brasilia’s daily newspaper “Correio Brasiliense” ran three photos leaked by the committee that apparently show a nude and humiliated Vladimir Herzog, head in hands, sitting in his jail cell.
MILITARY’S SHOCKING FIRST RESPONSE
4. (U) The response by the military to the articles was nothing short of shocking in its defense of the military dictatorship: “From the mid-1960s through the early 1970s”, reads the statement issued by the Army’s Communications Center, “there was a subversive movement in Brazil acting on orders from well-known centers of the International Communist Movement, planning to topple by force the legally constituted Brazilian government. At the time the Brazilian Army, responding to popular demand, put together, along with the other armed forces and police forces, a pacification force that returned Brazil to normality. The measures taken by the Legal Forces were a legitimate response to the violence of those who refused dialogue and opted for radicalism. … The Movement of 1964 (i.e., the military coup), fruit of popular demand, created the conditions for building a new Brazil in an environment of peace and security.”
5. (U) “The Ministry of Defense has insistently emphasized that there are no historical documents proving that deaths occurred during these operations –considering that the records of the intelligence activities from that time were destroyed in accordance with legal rulings. … Media statements based on third parties who kept personal files are not the responsibility of the Armed Forces. … With no change in our position or our conviction about what happened in that period, (we) consider this action (i.e. the “Correio” articles) a little attempt at revenge or to stimulate sterile discussions about past events, that lead to nothing.”
AND THE SECOND STATEMENT SOON AFTER
6. (SBU) The press, public, and President Lula –who was briefly jailed during the dictatorship– were outraged by the Army’s statement. Lula called in DefMin Viegas, who explained that the statement had been released without his clearance. Viegas called in Army Chief Gen. Francisco Albuquerque who quickly issued a second statement reading, “The Brazilian Army laments the death of journalist Vladimir Herzog. … I understand that the way in which this was handled was not appropriate, and that only the absence of a deeper internal discussion could allow the Army’s Communication Center to issue a statement so out of touch with the current historical moment.” Viegas pronounced the case closed. One rumor that was privately confirmed for us by DefMin Viegas’s deputy, Fernando Abreu, was that the first statement was a boilerplate that the Army had used for years without incident or review. Abreu labeled it “stupidity”.
WHO IS THE MAN IN THE PHOTOS?
7. (U) The strange twists in the story did not stop. A few days later, the press and GoB officials examining the three photos revealed that at least two of them were not of Herzog, but of Canadian priest Leopold D’Astous, now retired in Canada, who lived in Brazil at the time and was briefly arrested for working with youth groups. Herzog’s widow admitted that she may have been hasty in confirming the identity in the photos, but she believes the third photo may yet be of her husband.
COMMENT – WHAT TO DO WITH THE FILES?
8. (SBU) The legacy of the Herzog case is a discussion that is now getting underway over the fate of the military archives from the dictatorship period. Most of the official files were sealed for fifty years by a decree of President Cardoso. The official records specifically relating to the “Battle of Araguaia” (the bloody suppression of a communist movement in the interior of Para state) have, by all accounts, been completely destroyed, although bootleg copies made by Army officers involved in the operation have reportedly surfaced. But many other files, including those relating to the treatment of political prisoners, still exist. President Lula is in no hurry to open them, telling the service chiefs on October 24 that he supports keeping them sealed and urging the officers to cooperate with the Human Rights Committee should it hold hearings. Lula is keenly aware that unsealing the archives would not only strain his relations with the military, it would also be a huge distraction from his policy agenda (“This issue is now with the Human Rights Committee, the administration ought to concern itself with creating jobs and developing the country”, Lula told the officers). The Chairman of the Chamber’s Human Rights Committee, Mario Heringer (PDT-MG), has ordered the Committee’s archives to be reviewed to see if there are any more explosive revelations, and he has called the intelligence officer who gave the files to the committee in 1997 to testify. Meanwhile, press and pundits are offering a variety of opinions on how best to handle the archives in the longer-term.
9. (SBU) While Lula and DefMin Viegas appeared satisfied by the second official statement issued by Army Chief Albuquerque, the contretemps over the statements suggests that there are still some pockets of “old think” in the officer corps –but there is no reason to view this as an institutional threat to democratic authority over the military. Viegas’ relations with the service chiefs, already strained, have only worsened with the Herzog case. And even beforehand, rumors had Viegas losing his job in Lula’s next cabinet shuffle. While the Army got a black eye from this affair, Lula seems ready to move on to other issues and leave the sweeping-up to others. DANILOVICH
|166577||8/19/2008 15:15||08BRASILIA1120||Embassy Brasilia||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY|
UNCLAS BRASILIA 001120 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: BR, MARR, PGOV, PHUM
SUBJECT: CONTROVERSY OVER BRAZIL,S AMNESTY LAW INFLAMES OLD TENSIONS
1. (U) On August 31, Brazilian Justice Mininster Tarso Genro called for prosecution of members of the Brazilian military involved with violations of human rights, including torture, during Brazil,s 1964-85 military government. This would call for a revision of the 1979 law on amnesty which halted prosecutions of “crimes of state.” Tarso received strong support form Brazil,s human rights and academic communities which cite international conventions defining torture as a crime against humanity. As such, argue those favoring revision of the law, it would fall outside the definition of crimes of state covered by the amnesty law.
2. (U) Minister Tarso,s statement has elicited a strong response from Brazil,s military community. Several high ranking officers, including the President of the Military Club General Gilberto Figueiredo, have called for the Justice Ministry to focus on other matters, including possible prosecutions for anti-government violence during the period of military rule. Groups perpetrating such violence gave a start in politics to several prominent members of the Lula government, including the President,s Chief of Staff, Dilma Rouseff. Defense Minister Jobim, former head of the Supreme Court, urged a reasonable approach saying that the question of crimes under military rule was a matter for the judiciary, not the administration. On August 12, President Lula gave his support to Jobim,s view and declared that the matter was “closed.” Despite the President,s statement, several members of Lula,s Workers, Party and other human rights advocates have publicly committed to pursuing revision of the amnesty law.
3. (SBU) Comment: While efforts to seek justice (or political retribution, depending on one,s politics) for actions of the military government are not new in Brazil, this year,s controversy has provoked stronger reactions than in the past. With the military beginning to emerge from over two decades of unpopularity and neglect, its leaders wish to avoid reopening old wounds. One Brazilian air force officer cornered a DAO member and spent forty minutes telling him how counterproductive changing amnesty would be. At the same time, former opponents to military rule, some of whom occupy key government posts, may see the final two years of the Lula government as their last best chance to seek convictions of former military members. The choice of human rights groups to highlight accusations of torture, a clear violation of international human rights standards, gives them a legal basis to attack the amnesty. The courts, however, are taking a careful approach. Supreme Court President Mendes cautioned that cases regarding military governments have been a source “of much long term instability” in other countries. With President Lula supporting Jobim,s view that “the past is past,” the amnesty controversy has disappeared from the headlines for now, but the strong feelings the period of military rule evokes on both sides remain. The issue may well flare up again. SOBEL
|245790||1/27/2010 14:42||10BRASILIA86||Embassy Brasilia||UNCLASSIFIED|
UNCLAS BRASILIA 000086 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PHUM, PGOV, ECON, EAGR, MCAP, SOCI, BR
SUBJECT: Controversy Over New Human Rights Program Subsides, for Now REF: 08 BRASILIA 1120
1. Summary: President Lula was caught off guard by the surge of controversy, including within his own government, which followed the GOB’s public release of the Third National Program of Human Rights in a December 21 presidential decree. The program in fact is far-reaching, calling for, among other things: establishment of a National Truth Commission to examine human rights violations committed during the period of military rule, 1964-1985; mediation between landowners and those who invade their land before the police forcibly remove the invaders; and creation of a national ranking of media according to their adherence to human rights standards, along with penalties for media that violate human rights. There are a total of 521 “programmatic actions” recommended by the government, most requiring Congressional action or action by the judiciary, public ministry or states. Even Minister of Human Rights Paulo Vannuchi, the principal proponent of the program, admitted that implementation “can take years.” Meantime, however, the press reported that Minister of Defense Nelson Jobim and the commanders of the Armed Forces, claiming that the Truth Commission was “revanchist,” threatened to resign. President Lula ordered Jobim and Vannuchi to iron out their differences, which they did on January 13, agreeing to change the language creating the Truth Commission but maintaining its essential powers. End summary.
Culmination of a 7-year process
2. Since President Lula decreed the Third National Program of Human Rights on December 21, controversy has swelled in the media, in the military and amongst his own ministers. The plan consists of a total of 521 “programmatic actions” recommended by the federal government but often requiring action on the part of Congress (e.g., passing a law) or the judiciary, public ministry (prosecutors) or states before they can be implemented. It is the third such program, the first two having been devised and adopted by the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso in 1996 and 2002, each program superseding the last.
3. Perly Cipriano, National Under Secretary for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, told poloff on January 15 that the plan was the culmination of a process begun in 2003. It involved over 50 national-level thematic conferences (on subjects like racial equality, women’s rights, food security, etc.) and 137 municipal and regional meetings in which a total of 14,000 people participated. The program that Lula finally decreed was derived from a number of resolutions passed by participants of the Eleventh National Conference of Human Rights in December 2008. During the last year, Cipriano and his colleagues in the Special Secretariat of Human Rights, under the direction of Minister Paulo Vanucchi, reorganized the resolutions and used them to craft the Third National Program of Human Rights. The program not only specifies actions to be taken, but names those organs of government that are responsible.
Truth Commission controversy
4. According to Cipriano, 30 ministries have committed to working to fulfill the terms of the program. Significantly, however, it appears that the Ministry of Defense did not participate actively in the elaboration of the plan and, unlike most ministers, Minister of Defense Jobim did not put his signature on the presidential decree. In the weeks following issuance of the decree, Jobim was the highest profile and most powerful of the program’s critics, reportedly threatening to resign along with the three commanders of the Armed Forces if the provision to establish a National Truth Commission was not changed.
5. The Truth Commission, according to the terms of the December 21 decree, would “promote the verification and public explanation of human rights violations committed in the context of political repression” by the military regime of 1964-1985. The measure called for a bill creating the commission to be submitted to Congress by April 2010. Vannuchi has noted that truth commissions have worked well in Latin American countries like Chile and Argentina and outside Latin America in South Africa. He wrote in an op-ed piece in the December 21 “Correio Braziliense” that the commission would undertake “historical, political, ethical and – if the judicial power so decides – also criminal proceedings with respect to all episodes of torture, assassination and disappearances of political dissidents.” He added that the purpose was “not to open wounds of the past, but to guarantee necessary healing in the spirit of reconciliation.”
6. Particularly troubling to the military and Defense Minister Jobim was the suggestion of criminal prosecutions of the military and members of the 1964-1985 military regime, which they call “revanchist.” To them the measure effectively overturned the 1979 Amnesty Law, which provides broad protections against prosecution for crimes committed during the military era, whether by the military or by left-wing guerrilla groups. They also pointed out that the measure in the Human Rights Program was one-sided, in that it called for investigation only of abuses committed by the regime, and not those committed by their left-wing enemies (some of whom are in government today).
7. The controversy was fully aired in the press with Vannuchi reportedly threatening to quit the government if the Truth Commission were dropped from the Human Rights Program. President Lula ordered Vannuchi and Jobim to work out their differences. In a meeting on January 13, lasting only 50 minutes, Vannuchi and Jobim arrived at a compromise: the words “promote the verification and public explanation of human rights violations” were changed to “examine human rights violations” and the words, “in the context of political repression” were deleted; the essential powers of the Truth Commission and the timeline for submitting a bill to Congress remain unchanged. While Jobim has expressed satisfaction with the compromise, the military leadership has not. As noted in reftel, any change to the Amnesty Law provisions will meet with strong military opposition.
Boost to the Landless Movement
8. Also dividing the government, though not nearly as severely as the Truth Commission, was a measure in the Human Rights Program that requires mediation between landowners and those who invade their land before the police forcibly remove the invaders. Such mediation would take place in the presence of the public ministry (prosecutors), local officials, “specialized governmental organs,” and the Military (that is, uniformed) Police.
9. Opposition Senator Katia Abreu, who is also president of the National Confederation of Agriculture, told the press that the measure, by complicating and delaying evictions, will encourage and strengthen organizations like the Landless Movement which seize farmland illegally. Appearing to echo Abreu’s sentiments, Minister of Agriculture Reinhold Stephanes said that the measure will “increase insecurity in the countryside.” Stephanes was then publicly contradicted by Minister of Agrarian Development Guilherme Cassel who noted that Stephanes, along with all other ministers, had four months to ponder the draft Human Rights Program and raise any objections they might have had. Cassel said that mediation, “especially for rural questions, is correct because it leads to negotiated solutions.”
Media to be monitored by government
10. The Human Rights Program calls for creation of “a national ranking of vehicles of communication that promote human rights principles, as well as those that commit violations.” Radio and television broadcasters would be subject to “administrative penalties such as warning, fine, suspension of programming and cancellation, in accordance with the seriousness of the violations committed.” Presumably, the media will be measured against “a national system of human rights indicators,” which is called for in a section of the plan on “mechanisms of social control.”
11. The Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters, National Association of Magazine Editors and National Association of Newspapers issued a joint note to the press on January 8 calling the GOB’s proposal “a threat to freedom of expression.” They said that “mechanisms for control of information” are “flagrantly unconstitutional.” Brazil’s newspaper of record, “O Estado de S. Paulo,” went even further in a January 19 editorial, seeing the plan in the context of a broader effort on the part of the Lula Government “to liquidate the rule of law and install in Brazil an authoritarian regime.” Abortion, civil unions, religious symbols
12. Other controversial proposals in the Human Rights Program are to decriminalize abortion, support civil unions of same-sex couples and ban the display of religious symbols on all federal government buildings – all actions opposed the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops of the Catholic Church. Lula has indicated that he may backtrack on the decriminalization of abortion issue but has not publicly commented on civil unions or religious symbols on public buildings. Comment
13. The Human Rights Program is a statement of government policy and a plan of action; by itself it changes nothing. Cipriano, a former member of the Brazilian Communist Party and a political prisoner from 1970 to 1979, called the plan “an orientation.” The GOB must now begin the long and arduous task of persuading allies and, if possible, some opponents of the wisdom of such an orientation. Even in the estimation of Vannuchi, the plan’s main proponent, implementation “can take years.” Because the plan is vast, divisible and controversial, and was announced in the last year of the Lula government, much of it may never be implemented. Nonetheless, the plan has already exposed several unresolved fissures in Brazilian society: between the military and civilians with regard to abuses that occurred during the military regime, between landholders and a still potentially troublesome landless movement, between those who champion freedom of the press and those who see the media as often irresponsible in the exercise of that freedom, and between Brazil’s traditional conservative morals and its principled support for tolerance and human rights. Whether or not the plan is taken up by the new Brazilian government that takes office January 1, 2011, these fissures are are unlikely to end with significant disruptions in Brazilian society or politics, but will remain a source of friction, and occasional headlines, for years to come. KUBISKE