The Miami Herald
June 29, 2000
Death deepens mystery in Brazil

 Pilot was on way to testify in murder trial

 Herald World Staff

 RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazil's investigation into the death of former President Joao
 Goulart, whose fall led to 21 years of military rule, has become more complicated
 with the sudden and mysterious death of a key witness.

 Rubem Rivero, who was Goulart's pilot, died of an apparent heart attack Friday on
 a ferry crossing to his home in Uruguay from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 He was on his way to Uruguay to testify in connection with Goulart's death and to
 present important papers, which are believed to have disappeared. Brazil is
 investigating Goulart's death Dec. 6, 1976, in Argentina. And Uruguay is trying to
 settle family disputes over his vast estate, part of which lies in Uruguay.

 Brazilian congressman Luis Carlos Heinze, a vice president of the commission
 investigating Goulart's death in Brazil, says he will ask the Argentine Embassy in
 Brasília, Brazil's capital, on Wednesday to request a detailed autopsy of Rivero's
 body, which is being held in Argentina.

 ``It is strange. Someone starts into this and they die,'' said Heinze, who wants
 proof that Rivero was not drugged with a chemical that triggered a heart attack.

 There is speculation that Goulart, known affectionately as ``Jango'' to Brazilians,
 may have met a similar fate, as he appeared to be in good health just hours
 before his death. His family has authorized an exhumation, if necessary, to probe
 for causes of his death. A medical report said Goulart died of a heart attack, but
 his family thinks he was murdered as part of Operation Condor.

 Condor was a secret pact in the 1970s and 1980s among U.S.-backed right-wing
 dictatorships in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay to cooperate in
 oppressing and even killing leftists and other opponents. Goulart had expressed
 fears of repression shortly before his death on his ranch in Mercedes, Argentina.

 He was the last civilian president before a military junta took over Brazil in 1964
 and ruled until 1985.

 Reached by telephone while traveling, Goulart's son Joao Vicente Goulart
 declined to comment until more details were known about Rivero's death.

 Rivero had been expected to testify about possible political and economic
 interests in Goulart's death. The son of the former president testified to the
 commission that a former family friend, Ivo Magalhaes, may have betrayed


 Another man, Enrique Foch Diaz, has testified that Magalhaes raided the Goulart
 home after the president's death in search of shares of a company that owned
 $20 million worth of property in Paraguay, the Brazilian daily newspaper Jornal do
 Brasil reported Tuesday.

 While Goulart's stature as a former civilian president was reason enough to make
 him a threat to military regimes, there are economic reasons that someone may
 have wanted him dead. His large ranch sprawled on both sides of the
 Argentina-Uruguay border and he had land holdings in nearby Paraguay. His
 family remains divided in court battles over his businesses and land.

 Congressman Heinze said what he had heard so far made him inclined to think
 Goulart was murdered. But he cautioned that more testimony is still expected.

 ``We are reconstructing the last three days of his life, talking to persons who were
 with him [Goulart],'' said Heinze.