In ‘Suffocated Memory’, Ustra and his cronies make fun of us again

On display in cinemas since March 30, the eve of the anniversary of the 1964 coup, the documentary “Memória Suffocada”, by Gabriel Di Giacomo, brings together scenes that are as perverse as they are pedagogical for anyone who is committed to democracy. If they don’t torture those who watch them, some lines are painful and can act as a trigger for many, many survivors.

In one of the scenes, we see Colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, commander of São Paulo’s DOI-Codi in the first half of the 1970s, denying that oppositionists were killed in the most inhuman torture center of those years.

In the version propagated by Ustra, who is nicknamed the “branch of hell” given to the agency of repression, only two people died on the agency’s premises, both by suicide: journalist Vladimir Herzog, in 1975, and worker Manoel Fiel Filho, in 1976. The other victims, according to him, were shot in confrontation with Army or police troops, on the street, enemies in a hypothetical war sponsored by the State, and not executed with electric discharges, drowning and blows with a truncheon, as indeed they were.

Hero of Jair Bolsonaro and Hamilton Mourão, author of a proto-fascist libel entitled “The Suffocated Truth”, cited several times as a bedside book by the genocidal ex-president (it was not me who gave him such nickname, but the Permanent Peoples’ Court in the year past), Ustra is, to date, the only torturer convicted by the Brazilian Judiciary, in a declaratory action, of a civil nature, which did not fit to demand imprisonment, electronic ankle bracelet, fine, community service or any other penalty beyond the simple declaration, now official , that he is indeed a torturer. By extension, such exclusivity makes him the only torturer that we can call a torturer without running the risk of being prosecuted for slander, libel or defamation.

Sad the country that is not ashamed to condemn for defamation those who denounce the violence of the State, the imprescriptible crimes and crimes against humanity systematically practiced by these people, while for more than 50 years it has been passing the cloth to arbitrariness and barbarism.

But, returning to the cold cow of the documentary, in another scene, a second deponent who attended the torture sessions at DOI-Codi, notorious torturer and rapist of political prisoners, calmly repeats into the microphone that he never even entered a torture room. If not calmly, at least with the tranquility of someone who is used to pats on the back, knowing smiles and the certainty of impunity. As Ustra makes a point of mentioning, there was never any punishment, retaliation or warning over the years in which he fulfilled the mission conferred on him by the bloodthirsty State.

What was not lacking — and still is not lacking, to this day, in the barracks and in various sectors of the Armed Forces — were praise and decorations. It is enough for Ustra, the torturer, to pound the table, raise his voice and proudly indicate his lapel, which bears the peacemaker’s commendation, the highest honor bestowed by the Army.

All these statements were made in the hearings held by the National Truth Commission (CNV) between 2012 and 2014. And now they reach the big screen, nine years after the delivery of the CNV’s final report, 59 years after the coup, by the hands of Gabriel Di Giacomo.

In the documentary, the reports made by Ustra and other terror heroes are accompanied by the testimony of former political prisoners such as Amelinha Teles, Adriano Diogo, Gilberto Natalini and Darci Miyaki, owner of one of the most moving and forceful reports in the film, also collected in the CNV hearings and hearings.

As a narrative structure, the director chose to walk an unusual path. With each new concept presented, with each name mentioned, with each historical moment demarcated, an image of an internet browser and a Google search field appears on the screen. The word or phrase is typed in, a new page is opened, a video is located.

In practice, what the creators of the film tell us is that almost everything is available for anyone who wants to look for it, both the factual truths and the lies of Ustra and his cronies, both the records of a time that should never have happened and the misinformation, the fake news, the legend that there was no corruption or inflation in the lead years, the ridiculous thesis that Jango was about to implement a communist government in Brazil or the abject chant that repression only pursued terrorists — 8,000 indigenous people killed , 1,800 peasants, more than 10,000 exiled Brazilians and 20,000 tortured in two decades.

Journalist Matheus Pichonelli, right here at UOL, spoke with director Gabriel Di Giacomo and analyzed the documentary at length in a report published last week. What is most surprising there is the repercussion of the article, the comments made on the page or on social networks, as well as the repercussion of the film or the repercussion that this text of mine may have. The amount of nonsense that comes out is always demeaning and frightening. Undoubtedly an effect of the way in which the theme has been concealed since redemocratization.

Under the argument of national conciliation, of “turning the page”, the same fib that has been told for more than a century about miscegenation and the myth of racial democracy to suffocate the memory of the slavery holocaust to which we were subjected for centuries with the blessing of the churches, the Justice system, the elite and good men, we have missed, until now, the many opportunities to treat with due respect the crimes committed by the dictatorship and condemn those who need to be condemned — and which was never even mentioned in inquiry.

The greatest sequel inherited from impunity is the safe conduct for torture to continue to eat loose in police stations, for students to continue to be shot by State agents, for Amarildos to continue to disappear, for CPFs like Marielle Franco’s to continue to be cancelled. and so that scammers carrying weapons and CBF T-shirts feel safe blocking roads, camping in front of barracks, promoting terrorism and vandalizing public property and the Constitution itself.

As the Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzón, the judge who issued an arrest warrant against the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and got him arrested in 1998, says, before turning the page you must read what is written on the page. And learn from her.

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