Lula Dismisses General Opposed to His Truth Commission

General Maynard Marques de Santa RosaBrazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, signed last night the dismissal of General Maynard Marques de Santa Rosa from his post as chief of Army’s General Staff Department after the general publicly and harshly criticized the creation of the Truth Commission.

The commission was devised by the government to investigate crimes against human rights committed during the military dictatorship (1964-1985).

The general had signed a statement, which was published in the Internet, where he stated that the Lula administration commission would be led by “fanatics” and would be more like a “slandering committee.”

Brazilian Army commander, General Enzo Martins Peri was the one who suggested that Santa Rosa be dismissed after confirming that he was responsible for the document.

Defense minister Nelson Jobim had sought Peri’s counsel on how to proceed with the case. The dismissal suggestion was taken to the president who ended up signing the dismissal letter, which will be published this Thursday in the Diário Oficial (Official Gazette).

Jobim confirmed the conversation he had with General Peri: “I asked him to take immediate action, in light of news that had circulated. First, the confirmation of the fact, and second, what action to take. Two hours later he called me saying he had confirmed the news and suggested the removal of general.”

In the letter, Santa Rosa cites the French philosopher René Descartes stating that the precipitation and aversion are the greatest enemies of truth.

“Trusting the pursuit of truth to fanatics is the same as handing the henhouse to the care of the fox,” he wrote.

The Truth Commission, Santa Rosa stated, would be “composed of the same fanatics who in the recent past, have adopted terrorism, kidnapping of innocents and bank robbery as a means of fighting the regime to gain power.”

The general’s dismissal is another chapter in the controversy caused after the release of the National Human Rights documents, which among other items creates a so-called Truth Commission.

The text of the program – drawn up in agreement with several ministries – initially included the term “political repression.” taken out when the military complained about it. Jobim and the commanders of the three forces threatened to resign if the wording was kept.

The controversy should continue now. On Wednesday the Senate’s Committee on Constitution and Justice called for chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, to talk about the National Human Rights in Congress.

Rousseff has 30 days to appear and cannot refuse to go, since as the senate made it clear it is not an invitation, but a summons.

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