New Research Paper Shows VW Brazil’s Terrible Deeds From ’64-’85 – Drive Safe and Fast

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Published on December 15th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair

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New Research Paper Shows VW Brazil’s Terrible Deeds From ’64-’85

Volkswagen presents today the study over the period of the military regime in Brazil, carried out by Professor Dr. Christopher Kopper, Bielefeld University. The distinguished historian was commissioned by the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG in 2016 to examine the company’s role from 1964 till 1985. Volkswagen is the first automotive enterprise in the country examining its history during that time.

Here are some very interesting excerpts from the study. Remember, this research paper can be found directly from Volkswagen AG’s website.

  1. In June 1969, the Brazilian Army, the Police of São Paulo
    state (Polícia Estadual) and the Federal Police (Polícia Federal) formed a special unit
    (Operaçao Bandeirante – OBAN) to combat armed and unarmed left-wing activists
    in Brazil’s largest city São Paulo.From the time of its founding, the OBAN used vehicles from VW
    do Brasil and Ford to carry its officers on their missions and to transport arrested
    persons to its interrogation centre at Rua Tomas Carvahal 1030 in a prosperous
    district of São Paulo. Many of those arrested were also tortured in the course of
    their interrogation…  it seems likely that VW do Brasil did provide material
    assistance to the OBAN either directly (through the supply of vehicles) or indirectly
    (through its FIESP membership fees).
  2. “It was in 1972 that I was imprisoned. In 1972 I was arrested on the VW site. I was
    working, and two guys came up to me with a machine pistol, which they pushed in
    my back, and immediately place me in handcuffs. That was about 11 o’clock at night.
    The torture started as soon as I entered the Volkswagen Works Security room: I was
    beaten straight away; slapped and hit with fists,” VW tool-maker Lucio Bellentani,
    member of the Brazilian Communist Party.
  3. … Lucio Bellentani also incriminates the VW Works Security department. While Works
    Security could not have prevented an arrest on the plant premises, it could have
    forbidden the abuse that occurred in its offices by exercising domiciliary rights.
    Bellentani even stated in an interview in 2014 that VW Security chief Ademar Rudge
    had been present at his arrest, and had obviously been notified of it in advance by
    the Political Police.
  4. The [VW of Brazil] Works Security department itself informed the Police of individual cases of
    criticism against the military regime. When Works Security staff found a handwritten
    poem mocking the Justice Minister Armando Ribeiro Severo Falcão in the
    IT materials store in March 1978, the department identified the suspects’ names
    by cross-checking them against the payroll. The not inconsiderable amount of
    time spent identifying the suspects is astounding: The satirical poem had not
    been reproduced, and was not intended for public distribution. It had never left the
    room where it was written.
  5. In 1981, the VW Foreign Investments department expressed the suspicion that VW do Brasil
    was not complying with occupational health and safety and emissions laws…
    VW do Brasil failed to make any greater investment in humanising its working conditions
    than it was able to finance from its own resources.

In light of the scientific evaluation of the available sources, Professor Kopper concludes in his independent scientific study that “there was cooperation between individuals of site security at Volkswagen do Brasil and the former military regime. But there is also no clear evidence found, that the cooperation was institutionalized by the company.” Kopper also states that corporate and cultural change came in 1979 and the early 1980s when Volkswagen do Brasil became a pioneer of co-determination in Brazil by setting up a Works Council.


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