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Protest in Brazil

To the Editors:

Mario Pedrosa, Brazil’s most distinguished art critic and historian, passed through New York on his way to India and gave me the following clipping from the Chilean newspaper La Segunda:

Wednesday, January 20, 1971: Six persons, among them a diplomat and two journalists, were accused yesterday before a military tribunal of having attempted to demoralize the military government of Brazil by denouncing the alleged tortures in the prisons of the country.

The military prosecutor Robert Galvao, of Rio Apa, accused the six of having passed information to England, the United States and Chile….

The accusation says that “since 1969 the six were united in a conspiracy whose principal objective was to demoralize the Government of Brazil through the foreign press.”

The accused are Miguel Darcy de Oliveira, a diplomat rumored to have contacts with French intellectuals who served as a member of the diplomatic corps in Geneva; Mario Pedrosa, journalist now in exile in Chile; and Maria Tereza Porciúncula de Moraes. Also the sociologist Arthur Cunha Neves, the lawyer Rosisca Darcy de Oliveira, wife of the diplomat, and the engineer Carlos Eduardo Senna Figuereido.

They say that the journalists prepared information on the tortures and the names of the presumed torturers in the prison of the “Ilha das Flores.”

They say that the journalists sent information also to the Bertrand Russell Foundation, to Amnesty International, and to Leo Huberman, director of the North American Monthly Review, and to Chilean intellectuals.

Senhor Pedrosa, who had been through the initial interrogations and was warned that he was slated for preventive arrest, was able to take refuge in the Chilean Embassy, and later went to Chile. But the sociologist Arthur Cunha Neves, and, it is believed, his wife Angela, are presently in prison under “preventive arrest.”

Needless to say, legality has little meaning to the military in Brazil, but all the same, Sr. Pedrosa believes that vigorous protest on the part of American intellectuals does influence certain situations in Brazil. For that reason, I am calling upon readers of NYRB to write letters protesting this trial (for which the sentences can be as high as fifteen years imprisonment). The letters might be addressed to the lawyer representing the six, Senhor Georges Tavares, Ministerio das Relationes Esteriores, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Dore Ashton

Department of Art History

Cooper Union

New York City

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