More than influencing the Government during the 1964 coup d’état in Brazil and the dictatorship, the United States followed all details in the military basements during the worst years of repression in the 1960s and 1970s. They promoted interventions in cases that involved their direct interests. Especially if the opponent had US citizenship. This is what the document of December 1973 reveals, pointing out that the Popular Action Marxist Leninist (APML) activist Paulo Stuart Angel, who has since disappeared, “was arrested in late September in São Paulo and removed to Cenimar (Information Center of the Navy) in Rio ”. It is the first time that an official document points out the possible fate of Stuart Wright.
The document was written by the US vice consul in Rio de Janeiro, Daniel Anton Strasser, for the US ambassador to Brasília, John Crimmins. It also reveals the concern of Brazilians and US diplomats about a possible death under torture by Paulo Stuart Wright inside Cenimar in Rio de Janeiro. Strasser wrote that during a conversation with then-deputy Lysaneas Maciel, Wright’s case came up, and everyone was concerned about his fate. “… [Ele ] he was arrested in São Paulo at the end of September and removed to Cenimar in Rio ”, shows the document sent to the consul general in Brasília by the embassy in Rio de Janeiro.
Furthermore, the text, which was disqualified by the United States Government only in November 2015, but which still has excerpts under censorship, consults if “the US Government could ‘express interest’ in the case and perhaps’ save it from some hours of torture ”.
At Cenimar’s headquarters in Rio, inspector Solemar de Moura Carneiro worked, using the codename Dr. Cláudio. He specialized in interrogating APML militants. Paulo had his life monitored by the media, according to Cenimar’s documentation of May 26, 1972.
Diplomat Strasser continues to consult his superior, and at the same time points out that the embassy already knew everything that was happening to Paulo and that his case had already been discussed internally in the US representation in Brazil: “Because I am not an American citizen, I have doubts that something can be done. I discussed the case as Minister Boonstra ”. Clarecce A. Boonstra was the US consul general in Brazil and headed the United States government’s South American affairs office.
Paulo Stuart Wright was the son of two American missionaries, born in the interior of Santa Catarina and brother of the Rev. James Wright, a member of the project Brazil: Never again―The most complete survey on the political repression of the dictatorship established in 1964, which in the 1980s denounced cases of torture and political disappearances during the Brazilian dictatorship. He lived in Santa Catarina, where he was elected state deputy. His mandate was revoked after the military coup of 1964. When he lost his mandate, he went to Mexico, exiled, returning to Brazil in 1965, where he began political militancy to combat the dictatorial regime.
According to the final report of the National Truth Commission (CNV) he was a militant of the Marxist-Leninist Popular Action (APML), he was kidnapped in São Paulo in early September 1973 and initially taken to DOI-CODI (Detachment of Information Operations – Center Defense Operations), the main body of repression and intelligence in the city of São Paulo.
During his search for his brother, at the time, James even quoted the story of an unidentified woman who had reported seeing Paulo in a São Paulo DOI-CODI room on September 5, 1973. But between September 10 and 17, Paulo was taken to an unknown place. DOI chief Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra would also have shown the title of voter of Paul to a seminarian of the Methodist Church, who was looking for Paul in early September.
All information about Paulo’s whereabouts was uncertain or disconnected. Testimony by Osvaldo Rocha, an APML activist, registered by CNV, points out that he and Paulo were on a train that left the city of São Paulo for the ABC region, where there were cells of the political group. Rocha was arrested and taken to DOI-CODI, where he recognized a shirt that Paulo wore when they were together before being arrested on the train. This piece of clothing was lying on the DOI-CODI floor.
The CNV report also cites a document of December 21, 1973 from the central agency of the National Information Service (SNI), which created a version of Paulo’s passage through Recife where he was reportedly killed and whose body was buried with other victims of the repression. . This version was created to cover up Paulo’s disappearance or suggest his passage through Recife, according to the commission’s final document.
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In the 1970s, Paulo’s family hired then-lawyer José Carlos Dias, current president of the Arns Commission, to monitor democracy and human rights, to investigate the case. Dias concluded that Paulo died between October and November 1973, in an unknown location, victim of torture by state agents. Today, upon hearing the document from the United States Department of State, the lawyer and former Minister of Justice affirms that the text raises a good chance to identify Paulo’s whereabouts.
“I had the information that he was at DOI-CODI in São Paulo. I asked the STM (Superior Military Court) for the commander of the 2nd Army to clarify about Paulo’s whereabouts. The answer was that he was not at DOI-CODI. That he had been transferred to Rio or Recife. This was completely unclear. This document [da embaixada dos EUA] it is a new hypothesis about what may have happened ”, analyzes José Carlos Dias.
The Military Justice Council of São Paulo condemned Paulo “in absentia” for “subversive activities” and was included in a list of 14 members of the “Marxist-Leninist Action Popular” movement.
A niece of Paul’s, Delora Jan Wright, James’ daughter, wrote the book Colonel has a secret, Paulo Wright is not in Cuba. She stated in a statement to the court that the arrest and disappearance took place in São Paulo possibly on September 2, 3 or 4, 1973, when he was on a train bound for the municipality of Mauá.
Dentist Marlene Soccas, with whom Paulo had a relationship for several years, says that several political prisoners who passed through Cenimar’s facilities in Rio even saw Paulo’s picture in a picture inside the Navy facilities. Marlene herself was arrested at Cenimar in 1970.
“The photo indicates that the law enforcement agencies had been monitoring Paulo for a long time before he disappeared,” says Marlene, who met Paulo in May 1964, in the city of Criciúma. The dentist was arrested in April 1970, when returning from Santa Catarina, to engage in the working class movement. She was taken to São Paulo where she was tortured on the premises of the Department of Political and Social Order (DOPS), one of the main surveillance bodies of the dictatorship, and of OBAN, Operation Bandeirantes, a military-business organization of repression. “The one who tortured me was Chief Lourival Gaeta,” he says. When she lived in Rio, she was trapped in Cenimar. The Brazilian Government ordered the drafting of Paulo’s death certificate on January 23, 1996, where the cause of death appears as “unknown”. Records the date of death on September 1, 1973 at an unknown time and place.
The case of Paulo’s arbitrary arrest was communicated to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS) on October 30, 1973. However, the lack of information that should have been provided by the Brazilian Government led the international body to interrupt of Case No. 1,789, in May 1975.
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