The voice of a Brazilian truth commission probing abuses made during the country’s 1964-85 military dictatorship has panned the German carmaker Volkswagen during a recent hearing for providing an “unsatisfactory” testimony, with the company allegedly tied to the regime.
Sao Paulo state legislator Adriano Diogo together with several former Volkswagen employees called a company executive to explain how and if the German automaker collaborated with the right-wing regime. According to documents that surfaced in 2014, Volkswagen and numerous other companies supported the regime by giving up names, home addresses and other sensitive information pertaining to union activists within their ranks in the 1980s. The employees then appeared on a so-called “black list” owned by the Brazilian regime’s police. According to media investigations, the workers were fired, detained and/or harassed by security forces and were left without jobs for years afterwards. The Sao Paulo state commission, chaired by Diogo, a member of Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party, called VW and three other companies to testify during Friday’s hearing, with the automaker having the largest quota of names on the list.
Rogerio Varga, a manager of legal affairs for Volkswagen, claimed the company had respected all truth commissions working across Brazil and said it was still searching through internal files to see if the allegations were substantiated. “There is no document in any archive that has been uncovered that places the institution of Volkswagen in collaboration with any violation of human rights,” commented Varga. He added that the compiled information of VW employees could have been gathered elsewhere, from the unions or compiled by the police itself.