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Brazil ex-President Joao Goulart to be exhumed

Goulart

The remains of a former president of Brazil, Joao Goulart, will be exhumed on Wednesday to establish whether he died of natural causes or was poisoned.

Mr Goulart, widely known as Jango, died in 1976 in exile in Argentina. His cause of death was deemed to have been a heart attack.

But a former Uruguayan intelligence officer has said Mr Goulart was poisoned by agents working for the region’s military governments.

He governed from 1961 to 1964.

Forensic scientists commenced work on Wednesday morning, digging a hole in the grave to create an escape for gases which had formed inside the tomb.

Mysterious death

Mr Goulart, a progressive leader with left-wing sympathies during the height of the Cold War, was deposed in the 1964 military coup.

He fled first to Uruguay, where he settled as a farmer, and in 1973 to Argentina on the invitation of its president, Juan Peron.

Mr Goulart was found dead on 6 December 1976 in the Argentine city of Mercedes, nine months after a military junta had overthrown the government of Juan Peron’s widow, Isabel Peron.

Officials at the time said he had died of a heart attack, but no post mortem examination was carried out by the authorities in either Argentina or Brazil, where he was taken for burial.

Doubts about his death resurfaced five years ago when a former Uruguayan intelligence officer serving a sentence for drug smuggling in Brazil alleged Mr Goulart was poisoned by Uruguayan agents at the request of Brazilian military rulers.

Poisoned?

The intelligence officer, Mario Neira, said the alleged murder was part of Operation Condor, a plan under which the military governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay collaborated to eliminate their political opponents in the 1970s and 80s.

Neira alleges that Mr Goulart died after his heart medication was swapped with one altered to cause a cardiac attack, by agents working on behalf of the Brazilian military…(read more, click here).

Source: BBC

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