A virtual auction announced until last Friday (24) a document from 1976 with information about the death of Stuart Edgar Angel, an economics student and MR8 militant who fought against the Military Dictatorship in Brazil. The case generated repudiation notes from the Vladimir Herzog Institute and solidarity from the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship. In addition, he mobilized the family: the journalist and sister of the disappeared politician, Hildegard Angel, managed to suspend the auction with the help of lawyers and received the item in hand this Tuesday (28). Now, the priority is to find out if it’s authentic.
“We are going to examine this document, my lawyer and I. And he is willing to go through with this story. But this document has already fulfilled its objective, which was to bring back the memory of this subject on the eve of the coup, which they called the revolution,” said Hildegard.
The supposed letter of confession is signed by an air force officer named Marco Aurélio de Carvalho. It has two yellowed pages, is dated March 30, 1976, and has a notary stamp. The declarant gives details of the interrogations and torture against Stuart Angel at Galeão Air Force Base, in Rio de Janeiro, in May 1971.
The officer claims that Stuart Angel was subjected to an electromagnetic shock session, drowned and tied to the bumper of a jeep. Dragged in this condition for several hours, he died, the body was loaded into a helicopter and thrown into the sea. The main objective of the torturers was to obtain a confession about the whereabouts of Carlos Lamarca, one of the leaders of the armed struggle against the Dictatorship. What did not happen.
The discovery of the text caused a stir, but specialists consulted by the Brazil Agency find it unlikely that it is authentic. There are at least two critical points: the author’s identity and the historical context. This explains Pádua Fernandes, a former researcher at the Truth Commission of the State of São Paulo “Rubens Paiva” and the National Truth Commission (CNV), currently affiliated with the Institute for Research, Rights and Social Movements (IPDMS).
“It is still a time of great repression, from the Geisel government, when political assassinations continue to occur. This document would be improbable not only because it was made by a military man, but because it was taken to a notary. It would not be the safe place to make such a document. A second point is that the names do not match. This alleged soldier does not appear in the report of the National Truth Commission, does not appear in dossiers of the relatives of the dead and politically disappeared. I checked the National Archives database, it doesn’t appear there either”.
The researcher says that, at that time, the most common thing was for people to make written statements when they were afraid of being assassinated by agents of the Dictatorship. He remembers the case of Inês Etienne Romeu, the only survivor of the House of Death, in Petrópolis, who left a record of her own history with the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB). And from Crimea Alice Schmidt de Almeida, a guerrilla fighter in Araguaia, who entrusted a Catholic church in São Paulo with a text in which she stated that she had no intention of killing herself. And that if something happened to her, the Dictatorship had to be suspected.
There are other inconsistencies in the alleged document found now. He mentions the name of Alberto Dias as the author of a letter sent to Zuzu Angel, with details about what happened to Stuart in prison. But the name Alberto Dias does not exist in any type of record from the time. The letter Zuzu Angel received in 1972 was from Alex Polari, Stuart’s cell neighbor. Another point of disagreement is about the date of arrest. Polari speaks on May 14, 1971, and the letter-confession signed by Marco Aurélio de Carvalho speaks on May 15, 1971.
The man who placed the document on the auction site said he acquired it at an antiques fair in Praça XV, central Rio. And that the material came to him through other collectors. One hypothesis is that the letter-confession is a fictional item used in the 2006 film “Zuzu Angel”. A scene from the feature film has words and formatting similar to the text found at the antiques fair. The names of Marco Aurélio Carvalho and Alberto Dias, which historians do not recognize, are mentioned as characters in the film.
Hildegard Angel says she was moved when she found out about the registration. But now she’s also working with the possibility that, if it isn’t real, it was intentionally forged. “When doubts began to arise about the legitimacy of this document, I thought, my God in heaven, if this is a false document, to what extent could the perversity of playing with the feelings of a family that has been looking for a family for 52 years official demonstration”.