Brazil’s minister of defense, General Silva e Luna, described the document on the period of military dictatorship in Brazil during Ernesto Geisel’s administration—released by the US government and made widely known last week—as an exhausted topic from the military’s perspective, and a subject for historians to study.
“For the Ministry of Defense, this matter ends in the Amnesty Law [which both overturned the punishment on those regarded as enemies of the regime, and granted amnesty to military agents accused of human rights violations]. From this point on, it’s a topic for historians, and, if necessary, for the court,” the minister declared.
A memorandum dated April 11, 1974, signed by then CIA Director Willian Colby, directed at Henry Kissinger, state secretary at the time, says that ex-President Geisel (1974–1979) gave permission for the Intelligence Center of the Army (CIE) to continue its policy on the summary execution of dissidents. According to the document, the former president ordered that the executions should be limited to the more “dangerous subversives.”
The Amnesty Law, enacted in 1979, grants absolution from all crimes committed under military rule, both by those opposing the dictatorship and state agents accused of crimes against dissidents—like torture, disappearances, and executions. In 2010, when questioned by a motion from Brazil’s Bar Association (OAB), the Supreme Court confirmed the law was constitutional.
On Sunday (13), Brazilian Chancellor Aloysio Nunes advised the Brazilian Embassy to request the US government to release the documents in full. Brazil’s Foreign Ministry said it now waits for a response on the matter.