Remember how I was talking about the show I saw on National Geographic the other day? Well, the guys who were telling their stories said the had gone to Carandiru — an extinct Brazilian penitentiary that used to be located in the city of São Paulo, in which a major human rights violation took place after a riot among the prisoners in pavilion 9.
Yesterday was the the 20th anniversary of the Carandiru massacre. A total of 111 prisoners died on October 2nd, 1992 — 102 of which were killed by the police (the other nine died in a fight that took place prior to, but later developed into the riot that ended with the police invasion and the 102 murders).
None of the persons being accused for the massacre have been judged so far. Colonel Ubiratan Guimarães, the commanding officer of the operation, did receive a sentence, but it was later voided by Brazilian courts, based on the argument that he was “strictly following orders”. I heard about it on the news at the time (the sentence was voided in 2006), but I didn’t really understand it then. I was studying to be accepted in an University by then, so I might have given it little attention, and I guess I was also too young when the massacre occured, so I didn’t really acknowledge its importance. If it were today, I would have felt outraged. In fact, that’s how I feel right now, even after Colonel Ubiratan was murdered in that same year of 2006. What a crazy sentence. And now it can’t even be reformed, since the guy is no longer here to be judged.
The fact that none of the other persons involved in the massacre have been judged so far may be the most outraging one for me, though. Crazy. I hate this culture we have of absolutely ignoring crimes committed by the police and the military in general. Their judgment is set to take place in 2013, but still: 21 years after the damn massacre!
Oh, and did I mention that no technical inspection was made to the guns used by the officials being accused of participating in the massacre, which could lead to an aquittal based on lack of evidence?…
And that one year after he was sentenced by a popular juri to serve 632 years in prison, Colonel Ubiratan (who posted bail and appealed from the sentence in liberty) had the guts to run for State Deputy?
And guess what? He won!
Yeah, that’s right, people actually voted for that man, even though he was involved in one of Brazil’s most famous human rights violations in History!
I think I’ll just stop writing here, before I get sick to my stomach.