Healing an old wound only partly, Brazil’s Senate has voted to give about $150,000 each to families of 136 people who vanished before and during the 1964-1985 dictatorship, but not to punish the killers.
The bill, approved late Thursday night, also declares the 136 “desaparecidos” - or disappeared ones - officially dead, removing them from a legal limbo. They disappeared between September 1961 and August 1979.
Their relatives weren’t happy with the decision, because it stops short of allowing anyone to be blamed or punished for the deaths.
“This bill is a limited step forward,” said Iara Xavier, coordinator of the Commission of Relatives of the Disappeared.
Jose Gregori, the justice ministry’s secretary-general and coordinator of the bill, said he was constrained by a 1979 amnesty that pardoned violence both by the government and by its opponents.