In his article,Vincent Bevins recalls Brazil’s deeply flawed past, referencing the notoriety that stained its era of military dictatorship and helped create one of Latin America’s most repressive societies starting in 1964. Today, as an increasingly formidable economic power, Brazil has achieved a good deal of self-confidence as signified by its growing willingness to investigate the human rights violations committed under military rule. Responding to the insistence of its citizenry, the government has chosen for the first time to tackle underlying issues in the hope to foster a “healthier public.” There is no denying that many Brazilians have been haunted by their country’s grisly past that plunged it into a “moral underworld.” According to many high-minded Brazilians, the only feasible way for relieving the Latin American giant of the moral burden it now must bear, is a truth commission that can thoroughly delve into the military’s post-1964 all out war against the civilian population.
Bevins reflects on the role of the United States during these years and he acknowledges bitter memories over distrust of Washington’s conspiratorial silence at the time. Many Brazilians question the legitimacy of what transpired during the period of what was trumpeted at the time as Brazil’s economic miracle and its cold war role. Growing militarization of the Brazilian government made the attainment of democracy all but impossible. Dissidents, concerned with sustaining their personal rights and freedoms routinely were being thrown into jail and even tortured. For many partriots, liberating Brazilians from their country’s dark past will only come about through acknowledging the military’s tawdry record of that time and being prepared to investigate the atrocities committed by the armed forces. The truth commission formula may be the most effective way of putting to rest a chapter of illicit rule by Brazil’s military.