RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil's National Truth Commission said Tuesday that its investigation into the 1976 death of former President Juscelino Kubitschek turned up no evidence to support claims his fatal car accident was the work of the country's then-military regime.
Members of the commission said in a news conference that their two-year analysis hadn't found any proof to suggest the crash, which also killed Kubitschek's driver, was anything but an accident.
At the time, officials said the crash, on the highway linking Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, was an accident that took place when the car carrying the ex-president was hit by a bus and then slammed into a truck.
"There isn't anything in the documents, expert reports or photos that are part of the current analysis that even suggests that ex-President Jucelino Kubitschek and (driver) Geraldo Ribeiro were murdered," news reports cite a statement from commission as saying. The statement was not immediately posted on the group's web site, and multiple calls to the organization Tuesday went unanswered.
"The material remains indicate that . (the two) died because of the traffic accident," G1, the internet portal of Globo television broadcaster, cites the statement as saying.
Kubitschek, who oversaw the creation of his nation's new capital city of Brasilia, was a centrist who opposed the military coup and hoped to run again for president in 1965. He was president from 1956-1961, a time of economic expansion for South American's largest nation.
Tuesday's announcement goes against the conclusion of a separate probe into the crash, made public late last year. In December, the head of the Truth Commission of the Sao Paulo city council said his group found the accident to be a setup, ordered by the 1964-1985 military regime.
In any case, the National Truth Commission does not have power to prosecute anyone because of a 1979 amnesty law that released civilians and the military from liability for politically motivated crimes committed during the dictatorship. It could, however, reveal the abuses and the names of those who committed them.
Unlike its South American neighbors Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, which also had repressive military regimes, Brazil has never punished military officials accused of human rights abuses.