The defence minister, Celso Amorim, signaled on Monday, May 4 that he will act to open the information centres of the armed forces for the national truth commission, which is to investigate crimes committed by state agents from 1946 to 1988. "The law says we all have a duty to cooperate," he said. "Overall, everything is open."
He was speaking at a news conference after meeting with members of the TC. The information centres of the air force (CISA), army (CIEX) and navy (Cenimar) keep the memories of political repression, especially the period of military rule (1964-1985) - popularly called "secret files of the dictatorship." These were the centres in which in 1993, three lists were found with some information about PCdoB guerrillas in Araguaia who died in the early 1970s.
Since 1985, the beginning of the civil government of José Sarney, the military has maintained the line that there are no official records. The military, however, never allowed the entry of representatives of civilian areas of government or the justiciary into the information centres. The CIEX, formerly CIE, in particular, organized the policy of extermination of opponents of the dictatorship during the governments of Medici (1969-1974) and Geisel (1974-1979). Human rights groups hope the opening of the centres will clarify how political activists were killed.
At first, Celso Amorim dodged when asked about the opening of the information centres. Asked about the possibility of opening the centres, he even said that there was no talk "about it," at the committee meeting. Then he admitted that "everything had been discussed", without specifying the question of the centres. Eventually, however, the minister indicated that the "heart" of the official memory of repression could be opened. He, however, did not say when this might occur and under what conditions.
In the interview, Amorim said the TC is the "last chapter in the history of the democratic opening in Brazil." "We will provide all the information requested that might help the commission," he said. "We reiterate the willingness of the Ministry of Defence to cooperate and collaborate with members of the committee."
This sounds good, but as the article notes, there's still no commitment to a timeframe or exact conditions.
Thanks to Transitional Justice in Brazil for pointing me to the article.