Several intelligence documents from the United States, Chile and Brazil highlight the role of the Brazilian regime in undermining democracy and supporting the coup d’état perpetrated by Augusto Pinochet, on September 11, 1973 in Chile.
One of the outstanding documents is the memorandum of a meeting in December 1971 between the then President of the United States, Richard Nixon, and the leader of the Brazilian dictatorship at the time, General Emílio Garrastazu Médici, at the White House, where they discussed efforts to overthrow Allende, who came to power after the September 1970 elections.
Médici told Nixon that Allende would be deposed “for the same reason that (President João) Goulart was deposed in Brazil”. Goulart was overthrown by a military coup in 1964 – which turns 57 this Wednesday – which established a dictatorship that lasted until 1985.
During this period, there were at least 434 deaths and disappearances in Brazil, according to a 2014 report by the National Truth Commission (CNV, an official body), which, however, does not include the hundreds of militia victims hired to suppress agrarian conflicts, nor the massacres of indigenous people.
Another CIA Intelligence document, quoted by the National Security Archive about a meeting between senior Brazilian officials, notes that one of them believed that “the United States obviously wants Brazil to ‘do the dirty work’ in South America.”
The center also cited the work of Brazilian researcher Roberto Simon, who in his book “Brazil against democracy: dictatorship, coup in Chile and the Cold War in South America” asked about the topic.
According to Simon, “Brazil provided direct support and a model for the Pinochet dictatorship” and the image of the Brazilian military regime as a “‘Washington puppet’ fully aligned with the regional superpower is a myth and relegates Brazil to a mere role. subsidiary in the region “.
For Simon, “the Brazilian dictatorship had its own motivations, strategic, ideological, economic and other, to intervene in Chile”.
– An incomplete historical puzzle –
The researcher pointed out that the Brazilian military established communication channels with Chilean officials opposed to Allende and that agents sent by Brasília had ties to the extreme right-wing Chilean paramilitary group Patria y Libertad.
He also pointed out that Brazil obtained intelligence information on the first indications that a coup was planned and that in the days after September 11, 1973, the Foreign Ministry helped the Chilean military junta in its efforts to present the uprising in a more positive light.
In addition, he indicated that Brazil sent intelligence agents to Santiago to participate in the interrogation of prisoners at the National Stadium, which was transformed into a massive detention camp, where torture and executions took place.
In the 17 years of the Chilean dictatorship, more than 3,000 people died and disappeared and 38,000 people were tortured, according to official figures.
For the American historian Peter Kornbluh, “these documents show that Brazil was an independent interventionist actor in the Southern Cone” and that the Brazilian military dictatorship tried to protect its future, eliminating the model of a peaceful path to socialism proposed by Allende to help install in its place a repressive “military regime” that was his ally.
“What is important about this new information is that it adds important historical information to the puzzles of external actors in the Chilean tragedy,” Kornbluh, who directs the National Security Archive’s documentation project on Chile and is the author of the book, told AFP. Pinochet: the Secret Archives “.
The American expert pointed out that while the CIA was forced to suspend the confidentiality of documents, the Brazilian military and intelligence services did not.
“There is still much that remains secret and we will not be able to have a complete historical puzzle until the military and intelligence archives are accessible to the Brazilian people and the world community”, concluded Kornbluh.
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