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  • The Brazilian military dictatorship lasted from 1964 - 1985, now it is known they too were part of the regional Operation Condor.

    The Brazilian military dictatorship lasted from 1964 - 1985, now it is known they too were part of the regional Operation Condor. | Photo: Brazil's Senate

Published 28 April 2019

An agreement was signed in 1976 between Argentina and Brazil’s dictatorships to "to hunt down and eliminate” dissidents who tried to flee from one country to the other.

Declassified documents from the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), opened to the public on April 12, show that Brazil made an aggressive bid to lead Operation Condor in the region but only failed to because of opposition from other countries such as Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia.

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CIA Declassified Info: Europe Wanted Own 'Operation Condor'

After failing to take over the leadership of the regional program, Brazilian security services then decided to remain "on the periphery". An agreement was signed in 1976 between Argentina and Brazil’s dictatorships to "to hunt down and eliminate” dissidents who tried to flee from one country to the other. As well as co-working with Argentina in Operation Theseus, which was a program to the murder of opponents in Europe.

The document reports that the operations center was in Buenos Aires. While each country agreed to provide agents (at least four) to the intelligence teams, who would gather information on the targets and locate them, and the operations teams that would execute them. The targets would be presented by the member countries and the priority of execution would be decided by a vote.

Through its Intelligence Center (CIE), the Brazilian army would coordinate such directed killings, especially against leftists dissidents and party leaders. 

The information is detailed in 47,000 pages of CIA, FBI, National Security Council, Department of Defense and State Department documents, part of the “largest” government-to-government transfer of declassified documentation. This is the third and last transfer within the framework of the U.S.’s Argentina Declassification Project, where the role of the Brazilian military during the bloody Operation is clearly identified.

Operation Condor, or Plan Condor, was a carried out by the military dictatorships in South America’s southern cone in the 1970s and ‘80s in a concerted violent effort to rid the region of anyone the militaries perceived as a threat to their power and neoliberal policies, mainly, real or supposed communists and socialist.

An estimated 60,000 people were killed by the Latin American states in the clandestine operation, 30,000 in Argentina alone. Another 30,000 were disappeared and 400,000 imprisoned during the Plan. However, as more information is disclosed by the CIA and investigated independently these numbers are expected to grow.

On April 2019,  Brazil’s government ordered the closure of two working groups responsible for finding and identifying the bodies of people forcibly disappeared during the country’s military dictatorship. By order of Decree 9,759, President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration shut down the work of Perus Working Group (PWG), responsible for identifying over a thousand bones found in a mass, clandestine grave in Perus, west of São Paulo. The remains had been buried during the military dictatorship (1964-1985).

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