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December 05, 1971 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-12-05

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a,
special
feature

the

Sunday

daily

by
the committee
on brazil

Number 54 Night Editor: Pat Bauer

Sunday, December 5, 1971

Persecution

and

repression

in

Medici's

rB AEMNINk
azil

The University Committee on Brazil is a group of
individuals who have researched conditions in Brazil.
They are planning a forum this week to coincide with
a visit by the head of Brazil's military govdrnnment to
Washington on Tuesday.
Brazil is huge
Brazil's three million square miles cover sixty
per cent of South America and include most of
the vast, undeveloped Amazon River basin. The
nation's area is so huke that Brazil exceeds the
size of the continental United States and bor-
ders on every South American country except
Chile and Ecuador.
The topography of the nation, contrary to
most North American stereotypes, is in the south
very mountainous and in the northeast very arid.
Brazil is large in other ways. Its population
approximates 100 million, almost half the total
population of South America. And, again con-
trary to most stereotypes of Latin American na-
tions, this large population has a high degree of
geographical mobility. By 1970, 55 per cent of
the population had become urban - and urban-
ization is continuing at the rate of five per cent
to six per cent annually.
Brazil is rich ..
The agricultural sector of Brazil is one of the
most important in the world. Brazil is the
world's largest producer of coffee And one of
the five leading sugar producers. In addition,
large volumes of cotton are raised yearly and
the world's second largest spread of cattle grazes
within Brazilian borders.
Besides its agricultural wealth, Brazil is rich
in natural resources. It is estimated that 15 per
cent of the world's petroleum reserves and al-
most 75 per cent of its iron ore reserves lie In
Brazil virtually untapped. Also there are de-
posits of bauxite, manganese, and rare gems.
Industry is also booming in Brazil. The na-
tion's GNP is increasing at a phenomenal rate
of nine per cent annually and has been increas-
ing at about that rate for over two decades. The
industrial triangle between the cities of Rio de
Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Belo Horizonte is the
richest area per square mile in all of; Latin
America.

.. *but the people are
The vast majority in Brazil live in excruciat-
ing poverty. The per capita income of 60 per
cent of the population'is below $100 annually.
Of the Brazilian people 40 per, cent are illiterate
and only two per cent have college educations.
In the Brazilian Northeast, an arid region per-
iodically devastated by drought, the illiteracy
rate is 71 per cent and life expectancy is an
appalling 35.
And the situation is getting worse. For ex-
ample, in wealthy Rio de Janeiro between 1958
and 1964 the number of slum dwellers increased
from 8.5 per cent to 16 per cent of the city's
total population. Now more than two million
live in Rio's "favelas," urban squatter-settle-
ments for the poor.
These two million-plus, like many of their
fellow Brazilians, consume much less than 1000
calories per day - they are starving in the
most literal sense. Yet food crop production in
Brazil deci'eased during the past decade.
Foreign companies
dominate the economy
Abstract statistics alone show the foreign dom-
ination of the Brazilian economy. Foreign com-
panies control:
Twenty per cent of mining interests
Thirty-five per cent of food industries
Forty-eight per cent of aluminum production
Forty-eight per cent of chemicals industries
Fifty-nine per cent of the critical machinery
production sector
Sixty-two per cent of the equally critical ex-
portation sector
Eighty-six per cent of the drugs laboratories
One hundred per cent of automotive produc-
tion, Latin America's largest.
(Source: B. V. Schmidt in unpublished M.A.
thesis; Belo Horizonte 1969).
Eighty-five per cent of business in Brazil is
controlled by foreigners, and U.S. investors are
number' one. Private business interests from the
United States have invested $1.8 billion in Brazil
which amounts to 38 per cent of total foreign
investment.

A

Stifling a
IN 1964 tanks and troops rolled into Rio
de Janeiro and ended the liberal-pop-
ulist administration of President Joao
Goulart. From the very beginning of the
coup, the Brazilian military took power
to keep power. Since 1964 the military
leaders of the Brazilian government have
increasingly exhibited the "linha dura,"
the hard line.
They have dismantled the Brazilian
party system, closed and reopened Con-
gress twice, taken away the office and
political rights of duly elected public of-
ficials, closed labor unions, persecuted stu-
dents with riots and arrests, eliminated
"troublesome" arrest procedures, exiled
thousands of Brazilians, censored the
press, transferred political trials to mili-
tary courts, killed who-knows-how-many,
and imprisoned - often tortured - over
12,000 individuals without trial.
Dictatorship is too kind a label for the
brutality of Brazil's military regime; neo-

people wil
fascism is more appropriate. (The expan-
sion of capitalism is accompanied by the
inevitable problems of imperialism where,
as Veblen's famous theory portrays it, the
capitalists in their expansion use the same
methods as strong fascist regimes, but dis-
guise it under the flag of nationalism and
economic development.)
On Tuesday, the president of Brazil,
General Emilio Garrastazu Medici, will
visit President Nixon in Washington. Me-
dici's visit is only the latest example of
the myriad links between the Brazilian
military dictatorship and the United
States government.
It is a fact that the United States en-
couraged, if it did not cause, the military
coup. For example, the military attache of
the U.S. embassy in 1964, Lincoln Gor-
don, was a close friend of the leader of the
military revolt, General Castello Branco.
The North American Gordon on a num-
ber of occasions before -the coup, both

U.S.

aid

privately and publicly, pledged U.S. sup-
port of a military takeover in Brazil.
North American recognition of the mili-
tary government came within hours after
the insurrection.
Since 1964 Brazil under the military
has become a major target of North
American foreign aid. In fact, Brazil re-
ceived close to $2 billion between 1964
and 1970-the largest aid program ex-
tended to any country outside of Vietnam
and India.
Predictably, a large part of this U.S.
aid has gone to the military establish-
ment. The Brazilian dictatorship has re-
ceived $130 million for military training
and equipment. Through December 1969,
the Agency for International Develop-
ment's "Public Safety" project had as-
sisted in training locally over 100,000
federal and state police. An additional 641
higher officials have been trained at the
International Police Academy in the
United States.
WHY HAS the North American govern-
ment placed such importance upon a
military, neo-fascist dictatorship in Bra-
zil? On July 23, 1971, the newspaper
Marcha of Montevideo, Uruguay, pub-
lished the "National Security Plan" of
the SuperiorWar College of Brazil.
Among other things, this top-secret
document identified as "dangerous" to the
Brazilian dictatorship, the "Communist
pressures" from Chile and Uruguay and
the "strategic importance" of the bor-
ders with Guyana, Venezuela, and Bo-
livia. The plan included a 30-hour occu-
pation and "pacification" of Uruguay. On-
ly one month after the publication of the
lM1archa article, on August 19, 1971, the
left-wing government of Bolivia was over-
thrown by conservative - reactionary ele-
ments of the Bolivian army.
The Marcha article and the recent right-
wing coup in Bolivia make it clear that the
Brazilian military establishment wants to
play the imperialist role of the "appren-
tice world power of the West" in South
America. And the links between the U.S.
and Brazilian governments also make it
clear that the United States government
wants very badly to encourage that Bra-
zilian role.-
]NOW THAT South Vietnam has shown
Nixon the impossibility of direct North

A CROWD gathers in Republic Square in Rio de Janeiro (left) after President Joao Goulart announced his extensive land reform pro-
gram in March, 1964. Two weeks later Goulart's loyal tank forces (ri ght) are mobilized before his ouster by a spreadling military coup.
PreservinLg power with torture

THE NEO-FASCIST, military govern-
ment of Brazil "has refused to let the
Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights, an' organ of the Organization of
American States, enter the country to in-
vestigate charges that political prisoners
are being tortured there." The following
instances among many of torture and re-
pression in Brazil today perhaps explain
why.
In April, 1964, Gregorio Bezerra, then
over 60 years of age, a leader of the Bra-
zilian Communist Party in 1946, was beat-
en, then pulled half-naked through the
streets of Recife, while Col. Villoco Viana
of the IV Army tried to obtain his con-
fession of "treason."
In 1968, David Lerer, a member of the
Brazilian Congress, a young socialist from
Sao Paulo, was punched, kicked, and
whipped in the Army Minister's office in

government officials that Paiva was re-
leased within 24 hours after his arrest.
INSTANCES of torture in Brazil have in-
creased drastically with the advent of
President Medici. The repression has not
been restricted to members of revolution-
ary movements. Peasants and labor union
leaders and members have been attacked
by the military as well, as documented by
the American Committee for Information,
on Brazil in Terror in Brazil, published in
April, 1970.
Zilea Resnik, 22, was arrested on charges
of belonging to the revolutionary group
MR8, was held incommunicado for 45 days
- 35 days more than the military code
allows, and was beaten frequently.
Rosane Resnik, 20, was arrested on the
same charges as her sister, stripped naked
by her torturers, beaten, and subjected to
electrical shocks on various parts of her

Marcia Savaget Fiani was arrested with
Maryjane Lisboa and was subjected to the
ame treatment except that dowsing in
water intensified the electric shocks, re-
sulting in the partial paralyzation of . her
right' fingers.
Maria Elodia Alencar, 38, was arrested
in Rio. Strangling forced her to sign her
last will and testament. Her torturers kept
threatening to arrest and torture her 15-
year-old son.
Priscila Bredarial. Vania Esmanhoto, and
Victoria Pamplona were arrested, beaten,
and forced to listen to the cries of Pris-
eila's husband. Celso Bredariol, and of Vic-
toria's fiance, Geraldo Azevedo; Both were
being tortured next door at the offices of
the Naval Tnformation Center,
Dorma Tereza de Oliveira, 25, arrested
in Rio, got the usual beatings and electric
shocks, plus dowsing and strangling. Pin-

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