By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Foreign Ministry in Brazil announced that it will ask the United States to release documents produced by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) related to the torture and assassination of opponents to Brazil’s military regime in the 1960s and 1970s.

Brazil,Then Presidents Ernesto Geisel and Jimmy Carter at White House dinner in 1978
Then Presidents Ernesto Geisel and Jimmy Carter at White House dinner in 1978, photo by White House/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

The request comes after the son of Vladimir Herzog journalist found dead in a military prison cell in 1975, wrote a letter to Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes last week.

“The Herzog Family comes to you to petition the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to request from the North American Government the release of the complete records made by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), documenting the participation of agents of the Brazilian State in operations in the torture or murder of Brazilian citizens,” says the letter written by Ivo Herzog to Minister Nunes.

Herzog was found hanging in his cell on October 25, 1975 after hours of interrogation by military agents in São Paulo. At the time the death was labelled as a suicide by Brazil’s military dictatorship.

“You, sir, like our family, know what the terror and violence promoted by the Brazilian dictatorship was like,” adds the letter. “A nation must know its history officially to have public policies that prevent the mistakes of the past from being repeated,” concludes Herzog.

Aloysio Nunes in the 1960’s was a student linked to radical left-wing groups trying to bring down the country’s military leadership. He is said to have participated in a few robberies and several protests against the dictatorship during his years as a law student in São Paulo.

The discussion of atrocities committed during Brazil’s dictatorship was revived last week after the disclosure of a memorandum written by CIA operatives that report that military general Ernesto Geisel, who ruled Brazil from 1974-1979, not only knew of the torture and assassination of opponents but that he personally approved of such operations.

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