By on September 10, 2014

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João Paulo de Oliveira found it hard to find another job after he was fired by Rapistan, a Michigan-based conveyor belt maker, in 1980. He was detained or arrested another five times until the Brazilian military dictatorship, that had successfully realized a coup d’état in 1964, and returned power to civilians in 1985. Oliveira claims that no other company would hire him after he lost his job, and hge was constantly threatened by police. His crime? Being a union member at a time the military considered strikes as subversive communist movements.

Oliveira declares that he and many other union members suspected that private companies, including many auto makers collaborated with the state’s repressive forces. Apparently, his suspicions have been borne out.

Last Monday, September 8th, the Truth Commission, an organization installed by the federal government as an attempt to investigate human rights violations during those dark years, called the press to clarify and give their position on the rumors and news that have been circulating for days about companies collaborating with the State in its repression of labor movements.

According to the Commission, recently unearthed documents confirm that almost 70 Brazilian and multinational companies acted as “information sources” on union members and workers who were suspected of leading strike movements and of belonging to left-wing organizations. These documents contain name and addresses of the suspects as well as the names of companies that monitored their workers “in order to collaborate with the censorship and repression system during the last years of the civil-military dictatorship” in Brazil.

Sebastião Neto, executive secretary of the work group in charge of investigating collaboration between civilians, companies and military claims that, “Volkswagen, according to the documents, functioned as a sort of intelligence central of that group”. That group included other companies like Brazilian Petrobras, Engesa, Confab and multinationals like Ford and Ericson. They collaborated by keeping tabs on who showed up at union meetings, and exchanged information on worker movements and their plans for strikes and demands on working conditions.

Perhaps the most damning document as it hurt people on a personal level, was one found in the public archive of the state of São Paulo, dated 1981. In it are the names and addresses of some 450 workers and union members and the names of at least 67 companies that gave the information.  Among the auto sector companies charged with giving names are Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Chrysler, Scania, Westinghouse, Rolls Royce, Toyota and Toshiba, among other Brazilian corporations.

Lawyer Rosa Cardoso, coordinator of the Commission affirms that, “what happened in Brazil were selective arrests based on information given by companies. Almost 40 percent of those who were dead and disappeared at the time were workers.” According to her, even though the companies were not directly involved in the disappearances, these companies may be accused of crimes against humanity. “Arbitrary and illegal arrests and in places where torture happened are also considered torture in international law”. Such was the case as these illegally detained workers didn’t even have arrest warrants expedited against them.

The lawyer affirms the Commission will present in its final report by December 16. It will include two chapters reporting the persecution of workers and the unions, and the relations between companies and the dictatorship. To help clarify this aspect, Cardoso promises a public hearing where representatives of the companies mentioned in the documents will be called upon to present their testimony.

Being accused as a sort of coordinator of the collaboration between military and companies, Volkswagen has declared that they will conduct their own investigation. According to them, Volkswagen is the only large-scale company in Brazil that, so far, has made a public commitment to “investigate any and all traces” of collaboration between its employees and the military regime. According to a release given to the press, Volkswagen claims they are, “internationally recognized as a company that treats seriously its corporate history”. In Brazil, Volkswagen claims, “the company will deal with this matter in the same way”.

Other companies so far have not commented or have downplayed their responsibility. According to this article, dated Friday, September 5, Mercedes Benz claims that the company “does not confirm” the alleged collaboration and is “non-partisan and zeals for the confidentiality of employees’ data”.  Ford has refused to comment. Toyota and Fiat, who now owns Chrysler through FCA, stated they have no registers of the “possible abuse” that occurred back in that time. Toyota, thorough its local Public Relations department wrote, “We would like to remind others that we are discussing something that happened over 30 years ago”.

Reviewing all the information available a cynic might think the Truth Commission is only interested in reparations. A more generous person might believe that people are interested in revisiting the past to point out mistakes and not repeat them in future. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle and it seems evident that at the time there was a struggle in Brazil between those who wanted to keep the status quo and those who would subvert it. Workers and unions probably helped the re-democratization of the country along, while many in the military and civil society believed such actions were fundamental in thwarting a Communist takeover. Companies may have helped the military out of fear or ideology. It is terrible that people got killed or hurt. In the end, relations between civil society, labor movements and government will be better understood because of the efforts of the Commission and hopefully mistakes, on both parts, will be avoided going forward.

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81 Comments on “Brazilian Truth Commission May Sue Auto Makers For Crimes Against Humanity...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Imagine that. Large, for profit companies would conspire with the government to keep wages low.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Which is why not to let the government have too much power or to be apathetic about cronyism.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Bingo, when the pendulum swings too far in either direction bad things tend to happen for the people at large.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        If the govt lacks power, who will check corporate behavior, given that corporations are amoral entities with a single guiding motivation to make as much profit as possible?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          We saw that in the turn of the Century when the pendulum swung too far in one direction. Today we are at or near the opposite end of the spectrum.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laissez-faire

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            Really, a return to laissez-faire? With the elimination of labor laws, food supply inspections and other such govt intrusions on corporate actions?

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            I would say there isn’t anyone in any camp that thinks that we have too many food inspections. OTOH, we likely have too many regulations to ever possibly enforce, ever. There is likely no one in the country in the food supply chain that if inspected for compliance with every regulation, and then given the minimum recommended punishment, would still be in business the next day.

            That’s the problem with the big government argument. There are never enough rules because there will always be problems and there is not any real downside to having more rules for the people who write them. We should evaluate every rule for lack of enforcement over the last ten years and then just strike most of them from the books as extraneous. Then, we should fire the people responsible if they put too many of them in there themselves.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            I agree that there are too many regs that work at cross purposes, and would heartily support an effort to streamline them, but I can think of no other way to moderate corp behavior than regs and oversight. Civil suits can only effect behavior after the fact, and all too often yield inadequate compensation for those adversely impacted due to clever use of multi-layered incorporation to move corp profits out of reach of plaintiffs.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            We are at or near the opposite end of the spectrum from laissez-faire at present. A return to laissez-faire would be no more beneficial to the people at large then the current environment as both are or near extremes of each other.

          • 0 avatar

            28, respectfully, I think that if by we you mean the US you are far, vary far, from the opposite of laissez faire. But I agree with you, almost any extreme is not interesting to the population at large, whatever extreme is picked.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “We are at or near the opposite end of the spectrum from laissez-faire at present.”

            LOL. Right now, large business interests can effectively disregard whatever laws they want to unless the result brings:

            1) death or serious injury
            2) to people who are in the First World and are not poor
            3) through a chain of causation short and obvious enough to be stated in 50 words or less by a cable news anchor.

            The news media, not the government, is the principal source of accountability for large business.

            You might not think we are in a laissez-faire world if you read the Code of Federal Regulations, but the reality is very different.

            Landcrusher has a point that too many laws and regulations go unenforced and become dead letters. But the solution is not to preemptively chuck them all, it’s to actually enforce them and then reform those that are, when enforced, actually unworkable.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Clutch,
            The clever corporate layering is mostly a response to ridiculous tort cases, but besides that, the tort system is no less effective by being after the fact. All rules are always after the fact. Period.

            Are you under the impression that LF means no rules? It doesn’t. That is just some big government propaganda spread by elites who are happy to spread it around until called on it, but then get wishy washy and know it all when the technical meaning starts getting discussed.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Interesting that I said not to let the government have too much power and you came back with, “If the govt lacks power,”

          How much government do you want? How much power? And, what checks do you want on corporate behavior that the government would be powerless to check?

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            I took your phrase “not to let the government have too much power” and took that to mean you believe govt has more power than needed. Hence my question about how a govt lacking power can act as a check on corp action.

            I’m not sure how to parse your very last question, but I want enough govt to ensure that no corp can lie or mislead the public, and that a baseline exists for public/worker safety and fairness. We can argue about where to set the baseline, but an amoral corp has no motivation to do anything that reduces profits unless it is forced to by our govt.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Clutch, that’s just not true.

            Corps have lots of motivations to do things other than maximize profits because they are run by people. Those people are not any more or less amoral on average than people in government or charity work.

            If we are talking about the US government, yes, it is presently too powerful and it is abusing it. If we are talking about the Brazilian military government, then by definition a military dictatorship has too much power.

            The reality is that most corporate abuses can be handled by a healthy market place.Many more can be handled by a fair tort system. Then, the rest are usually cases of corporate-government collusion which is best fixed by reducing government power.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “The reality is that most corporate abuses can be handled by a healthy market place.”

            This is true up to a point, but laissez-faire policy does not bring you a healthy market place. That has been proven time and time again. It brings you either monopolists or cartels, who have unchecked power over everyone else.

            You need certain types of regulation (antitrust, consumer and trade enforcement, good corporate law, securities regulation), designed well and enforced consistently, to have any hope of a functional marketplace.

          • 0 avatar

            Totally agree dal20402. You stated that very well and succinctly. I will use it in future.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            “Corps have lots of motivations to do things other than maximize profits because they are run by people. Those people are not any more or less amoral on average than people in government or charity work.”

            Very true, but when one’s job is on the line, one’s morality may well take a back seat. A CEO who sacrifices profits for personal morality will not hold the position long, and the line worker told to cut corners in order to keep the plant profitable is all too likely to choose his job.

            “The reality is that most corporate abuses can be handled by a healthy market place”

            A healthy market place is predicated on a reasonable equality of knowledge between the parties. Without govt regs/oversight, one side of the market place has a near monopoly on knowledge.

            “Many more can be handled by a fair tort system”

            Consider the Iroquois Theatre or SS Eastland disasters. While historic cases, they illustrate how corp wrongdoers could pay no price for misdeeds in the name of profits without govt regs that were violated.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Dal,
            LF has never really been tried except by default. I will agree you need regulation, and it must be good regulation, but you show me an example of these terrible problems with LF and I will simply point out the government involvement with and for the corporations messing up the party. It happens every time you try LF and every time you get any failure. Government just seems to always be a key part in any big failure, and not because they weren’t involved at all.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Clutch,
            Totally agree that pressure and environment influence people to do bad things, but this has NEVER been limited to corporations. Do you want your burger poisoned by a cook afraid to be fired or one afraid to be jailed? Im thinking the one getting fired can quit and call the government, what happens when he works for the government? (this is a trick question because I know the answer and its not pretty).

            I think the modern world has solved much of the knowledge issues, but I don’t agree that’s a key ingredient except at extremes. Most consumers are always at a disadvantage. They don’t need protection so much on prices as on real fraud which is always outlawed anyway.

            Your examples are ancient and really don’t make a case for the modern regulatory deluge at all. The Eastland sank in part because of regulation and was, after recovery, put back into service by the navy. The theater fire happened not in an LF regime, but in a corrupt and poor regulation regime which required a Fire Marshall. They had one.

            For more education, please look into regulations on light aircraft certification, maintenance and operation. Ignore the airline stuff, that stuff fills rooms. OTOH, it only takes a few hundred pounds of paper to govern the building, sale, and operation of a two seat airplane to be flown on a cloudy day. You can ignore much of it by building your own plane, but if you do any of it wrong, you can actually be thrown in jail. Scofflaws are usually not thrown in jail, but the industry has shrunk because you have to have lots of burnable cash or be scofflaw to play anymore. Unless of course, you are a GOVERNMENT entity which lets you IGNORE very many of the RULES REQUIRED FOR SAFE OPERATION.

            I am not kidding.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You can’t have LF without heavy government collusion with the monopolists/cartels, because under LF the monopolists/cartels amass enough power to control the government along with everyone else.

            Checks and balances work as well for structuring a whole society as they do for a government. Everyone needs to be accountable to someone else. Corporate management needs to be accountable to shareholders. Corporate shareholders need to be accountable to government and the people in the communities where their corporations operate. Government needs to be accountable to voters and those it regulates. Individuals need to be accountable to their fellows and, when they infringe the specific rights of others or harm the general welfare, the government.

            Constructing and operating a regulatory regime to keep all these forces in balance is extraordinarily difficult, and if they are all left to their own devices either government, which has a monopoly on the use of force, or corporations, which are inherently and uniquely difficult to hold accountable, will accumulate enough power so that no one is holding them accountable anymore. You are sensitive to the problems with an over-powerful government, but over-powerful corporations bring their own troubles — not least among them control of the government.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Dal,
            It takes two to tango. If government colludes with businesses, why give them more power? It was both their responsibility to not collude as well as to prosecute the attempt of collusion.

            The proper balance should be achieved by taking away government power for cases of collusion. Shouldn’t it?

            So, no. I do not accept that LF leads to collusion. I only accept that the traditional reaction to collusion – reform by adding more power to government – needs to be resisted. Otherwise, you just enter a revolution cycle don’t you?

            I am sure you would agree that too much market power in too few hands has to be prevented. I accept that this is a necessary job of government. You have to have free markets to have free markets and monopolies and and oligopolies (usually aided by well intentioned government) by definition destroy free markets.

        • 0 avatar
          AlexMcD

          You might read the article again.
          The government was driving the bus that ran those people over.

          This example is exactly why our country was built by men that had seen what happens when too much power is concentrated in one element.

          When the power granted to government is used as a partisan weapon, the net change is loss of balance. The same thing is happening here.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    And the fearful right wing nutball truth deniers will begin in 3 , 2, 1

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar

      Seems like some of the type of comments you mention have started. It took a while, but it was unavoidable.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Okay you two, let’s have examples. Seriously. You are being extremely rude. Do you not realize that?

        Using a broad brush is much worse than naming names and citing examples. Call out the offenders (as I am doing) or keep it to yourself. It’s not constructive to through out a big net at all the people you think are out of line without getting specific.

        • 0 avatar

          I was thinking of CJ’s comment. I don’t particularly agree with you, but your statements are defensible. Equating your President (I presume) with Fascism or Communism, even Socialism is quite a stretch though.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            I don’t think he necessarily did equate. He cited one example of a bad act that fit the definition discussed. I can’t know his intentions, but I find it much more likely he does not see President Obama as a fascist, but rather as one with too many socialist tendencies.

            Besides that, Nate did not say there would be extreme comments. He said extreme people would comment. He insulted people, not the comments. It’s a vulgar dodge for people unwilling to make a solid case.

  • avatar

    A CIA supported military dictatorship not killing Commies would be a surprise to me.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Unfortunately this happened all over South America in this time-frame as the continent became a proxy battleground with Moscow:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Condor

    • 0 avatar

      CIA involvement, especially in Brazil is overrated. There is evidence to suggest that the CIA participated in some of the initial articulations between civilians and military, but as time passed and the military took over most of the government, the CIA and civilians were basically pushed out. The military of the time developed a very nationalistic and xenophobic view and strove to compete with the US in many areas and the CIA would have hindered. Look at the development of a military-industrial complex, nuclear power, creation and leadership of the non-aligned movement in diplomacy, institution of import substitution policies,ethanol cars and industries etc. can be interpreted as outpourings of those sentiments. They basically kicked out the Peace Corps in the 60s and countless missionaries and others.

      It seems pretty safe to say that the coup and later actions were devised and carried out by Brazilians all by their lonesome. Even the extent of the Condor Operation is debated here and it’d seem Brazil rejected most of what was on offer. In other Latin American countries, American involvement did rum much deeper though.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks for the clarifications and local knowledge, and good luck to your country with the hard work ahead seeking justice for past actions.

        • 0 avatar

          Thank you for the well wishes, crazycarlarry, it is important to come to terms with the country’s history, but it is also vital not to forget to look head. Many, many challenges face us in they years ahead and there are some indications that the model implemented over the last 20 years and that has had great success is in need of tweaking. Thankfully, I think the Truth Commission comes at a time far enough removed from the original occurrences that people have kept a level head over its findings.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Marcelo,
    This is fascinating. Thank you for sharing in a well balanced manner.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Poli-Sci 101 moment: This is a classic example of what we refer to as “fascism”, in case you’ve ever been tempted to misuse the word to mean “someone I don’t like”.

    • 0 avatar
      Elorac

      +1

    • 0 avatar

      Didn’t Mussolini define Fascism as the merger of State and Corporate powers?
      I think that that definition would be applicable in this situation.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        So like the Obama regime and Monsanto corporation, for example?

        • 0 avatar

          One of many examples, going back a very long time.

        • 0 avatar
          ClutchCarGo

          Or Cheney/Halliburton.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          To be honest, that would be [Anyone]+Monsanto, or [Anyone]+ADM, or, frankly, anyone plus any Fortune 500 company. To believe that corporatism is somehow limited to the last seven years, or to either R’s or D’s is willful partisan blindness.

          The US has had fascist tendencies since the last liberal president (Nixon, believe it or not) left office. Admittedly, there’s a nasty populist streak that’s cropped up since Reagan, and there’s maybe two or three federal-level representatives who are truly left-of-centre (the rest are, at beast, milquetoast neo-liberals) to counter that.

          • 0 avatar
            wstarvingteacher

            I have a background in PS/PA and find your comments to be pretty accurate. Cannot, however, think of a criteria that allows me to brand Nixon as being the first liberal (or progressive or fascist). No conversation as to whether he was or not is going to be short enough to fit here. Just how was he the first.

            I spend a lot more time listening to the discussions here than being involved but couldn’t avoid this one.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “Cannot, however, think of a criteria that allows me to brand Nixon as being the first liberal (or progressive or fascist)”

            Last liberal, not first. Nixon’s administration passed most of the modern safety, environmental, civil-rights and labour laws we have today. Much of the administrations since (“D” or “R”) have stripped that back.

            Mind you, that may have been because his was the last administration that respected/feared the progressive side of society…

  • avatar
    blackbolt

    Unbelievable but believable. Wonder what kind of pressure the administration levied or was it self interest driven. Not a good look if proven true but time and money fixes everything. GM is gonna survive the ignition lock fiasco in the same way.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Excellent investigative journalism!

    Toyota’s comment is my favorite being essentially: “well this was thirty years ago…” which I suppose means it does not matter in their minds?

    Corporations have a funny history of doing business with whomever is in power right until the end, Libya for instance:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/world/africa/24qaddafi.html?pagewanted=all

    Of course the whole Gadaffi saga is much deeper than what we were shown on cable news:

    “Muammar Gaddafi’s interpreter has said Libya helped finance Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign in France – an allegation Mr Sarkozy denies.

    Moftah Missouri said Gaddafi had told him personally that $20m (£13m; 15m euros) were donated to the campaign”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-22993739

    “The convicted Lockerbie bomber has been flown home to Libya after being freed from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/south_of_scotland/8197370.stm

    “In September 2008, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Gaddafi and announced that US-Libya relations have entered a ‘new phase’.

    In February 2009, Gaddafi was selected to be chairman of the African Union for one year.[citation needed] The same year, the United Kingdom and Libya signed a prisoner-exchange agreement and then Libya requested the transfer of the convicted Lockerbie bomber, who finally returned home in August 2009

    Following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, Gaddafi decided to abandon his weapons of mass destruction programs and pay almost 3 billion euros in compensation to the families of Pan Am Flight 103 and UTA Flight 772.[31][32] The decision was welcomed by many western nations and was seen as an important step toward Libya rejoining the international community.[33] Since 2003 the country has made efforts to normalize its ties with the European Union and the United States and has even coined the catchphrase, ‘The Libya Model’, an example intended to show the world what can be achieved through negotiation, rather than force, when there is goodwill on both sides.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_relations_of_Libya_under_Muammar_Gaddafi

    …from the “Libya Model” to pariah in less than ten years…

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks 28! As an article for TTAC, this would necessarily have to be short. The subject has many aspects, many of them not mention here as that would go off in all sorts of directions. The article focuses on what happened in the late 70s early 80s, but the regime started back in the 60. There are many cultural, social, economic and political aspects not brushed on here. History of the period is being written as we speak.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I think it is important to shed light on the period, especially from a South American perspective, as I think most people in my country are unaware of what happened. The automotive connection angle makes it more relevant to this audience, since as you point out, there are many aspects to view.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The only “South American” (per most people’s thoughts) education we receive in school (even including undergraduate, assuming it’s not your focus) goes something like:

          “Brazil is the largest country in South America, and they speak Portugese. The Panama Canal is important too. Now, on to Mexico.”

          • 0 avatar

            Well, in Social Studies in my private school in Miami, late 70s early 80s, 4th grade I believe, we studied typical families the world over. I remember there was a Soviet family, a French one, of course an American family. Of course, the typical Soth American family shown was one in a lost Indian tribe somewhere in the Brazilian Amazon. Oh well, the typical African family was a Pygmy family.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            I’m pretty sure there was a brief mention of Simon Bolivar before we moved on to Mexico. And by Mexico I mean the Alamo.

          • 0 avatar

            Probably no mention though of how Panama was wrangled from Colombia or how Texas was formed. Oh well, history is too long, we must pick and choose!

            (happens all over the world, not a knock per se)

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            You would “maybe” learn about the “Brazil speaks Portuguese” thing in most US schools if you were in honors social studies classes. Otherwise, Latin America knowledge starts and ends with “Mexico is our neighbor to the south”.

            I remember being in a honors/IB global perspectives class in senior year in high school. They brought in speakers from 5 major religions (plus an atheist) for an hour presentation/QnA. At that age, that was an interesting insight into belief systems that you would never otherwise encounter. Individual permission slips were required. All the Mormons and some Christians opted out.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So how long did you live in the US, Marcelo? Had your family left Brazil to escape the regime?

            Those pretty racist stereotype teachings are sad, and expected.

          • 0 avatar

            Corey from 77 almost 78 to 83. I was 7 when we got there. No, no we were there because my father worked for a large Brazilian corporation with offices in the US. Thankfully none off my family, or even people I know, were persecuted. The military here, in spite of the abuse, was relatively benign. If you kept your opinions to yourself and worked no one bothered you. Far from ideal, of course, and many suffered, but you only have to compare the number of victims here, especially in light of the population, with the number of victims in our neighbors, and the situation becomes clearer.

            Having said that, on a factory floor, things probably didn’t look so good, especially for those who wanted better conditions.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks.

            At least it wasn’t as bad as other persecution-government style stuff. I am largely ignorant of the subject as I mentioned earlier today.

          • 0 avatar

            No, it wasn’t. I may be having selective memory here as I was born in 1971, left the country in 76 and only moved back in 86-87, but I remember that in a private setting, and among middle classes and better, no one was really afraid of talking their minds. There were no government spies infiltrated at that level as there were in other dictatorships, left or right. However, at factories, as we have seen in the article, universities and newspapers, among other places more directly affected, like political parties or social movements, people were watched.

  • avatar
    Victor

    Let’s not forget what was going on in 1970’s Brazil. If it wasn’t for the military, Brazil would have been subjected to a comunist dictatorship way back then.

    Now we have a leftist government that decided to investigate the past in this bizarre one-sided manner; president Dilma Roussef was once a terrorist and a bank robber, but what matters is that VW told on someone.

    This very same government is now bringing in castrists to Brazil’s countryside (http://www.defesanet.com.br/front/noticia/16753/-Movimentacao-cubana-no-Brasil-e-na-Venezuela-desperta-suspeitas/). Also, this administration is hunting down journalists and threatening media with censorship. While at it, they are manipulating economic data and bleeeding public companies to fund the party’s project of power.

    So, yes, companies disliked comunists back then. Can you blame them? I know I can’t.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    So, what’s that groovy little hatch with the big meats?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Unfortunately Nationalistic governments can be as appalling as a Socialist government.

    I do believe everyone has the right to do and be as they like.

    I will admit I’m probably not the biggest proponent of socialism/unionism. Socialism/unionism has a lot to answer for, but it seems extreme nationalism is far worse.

    Who has the right to purposely denigrate another human?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Here’s an interesting read. Not many would know that for several decades after WWII British union and Labour movement actually went to the USSR for training and assistance.

    Gulags, restrictive travel, reduce human rights, etc are all part of the socialist ideal in some cases like the USSR. This is as bad as a right wing nationalist. That was my point.

    I don’t know about the guys who wrote explaining all of the good the unions have done, but I would read up on some of the benevolent ideas that exist today. It wasn’t all ‘gained’ by the unions.

    Horses are nice too. I still like horses, but what use is a horse?? They have become recreational toys and put out to pasture, so to speak. Unions are in the same boat.

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    In the pages of the Kremlin’s secret diary, Pavel Stroilov discovers what Labour’s Soviet sympathisers said when they thought no one was listening

    It is almost 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall — and still the truth keeps trickling out of Moscow. The Soviets, like the Nazis, were meticulous note-keepers and there is decades worth of material still to be uncovered. At first, only those who went through the filing cabinets could compile the untold stories of the USSR. But now that these records are being digitised, scrutinising them becomes a lot easier. And this is how I came across the extraordinary diaries of Anatoly Chernyaev.

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/5504183/reaching-through-the-iron-curtain/

  • avatar
    George B

    Marcelo, why is the Brazilian Truth Commission considering suing auto makers in 2014, 30 or more years after the crimes occurred, as opposed to taking action 10 years ago? I would guess that anyone in a position of power in the early 80s would be retired, possibly dead, by now. Is the goal primarily to extract money from foreign corporations or to expose past misdeeds?

    • 0 avatar

      Hey George, sorry for the late response but only saw it today. A couple of factors are involved:
      – crimes against humanity don’t prescribe;
      – the current President was one of those arrested and tortured for her participation in a far-far-left, small, political organizations that carried out some actions that some, like the Brazilian poster above, would call terrorist actions so she pushed for this and there was support because being this a democracy she could have not done it by imperial fiat. In other words, though it does seem to be something that was personally sponsored, the President was not alone in her desire for this;
      – military and civilians who participated in pro and anti government activities, tortures or bombings, that can be construed as political received a general amnesty, under a law passed through regular congressional proceedings, for this kind of action, but civil lawsuits demanding reparations from the government for various reasons have been tried and won;
      – we are far enough removed from the occurrences that it does not affect the functioning of the country very much.

      10 years ago these conditions were not present. I would hardly call it extortion, it is a try to come to grips with a period of the past. Maybe a bit one-sided as the government indicated most members of the commission, but then again most in the military have chosen not to talk as is their right under the terms of the general amnesty.

      Pretty much fair and pretty balanced in spite of the obvious bent of the commission and done under rule of law. No problems with that. If sued, companies could fight it and many legal scholars here say the commission may be stretching it to classify these actions as crimes against humanity, but that will be eventually decided, by due process, in a court of law. This chapter is interesting to us as car enthusiasts and industry watchers. This part of the commission’s work is relatively small and they have investigated military and civilian abuse in much greater depth. Their failure is to not investigate deeply the actions of the far-left.

      If you read this, give me a heads-up!

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Marcello, I think there might be a word missing in this sentence:

    “He was detained or arrested another five times until the Brazilian military dictatorship, that had successfully realized a coup d’état in 1964, and returned power to civilians in 1985.”

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