Brazil's crucial archives could perish, leaving questions unanswered

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One of South America's largest historical archives -- 35 million pages that chronicle widespread killing, forced disappearances and torture committed by Brazilian military rulers from 1964 to 1985 -- is rotting away in an obscure government building in Brazil's capital.

Carlos Fico, a leading historian of the so-called "lead years" in Brazil, confirmed accounts first reported in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo about deteriorating conditions at the Brazilian national archives building.

Fico -- who has led an academic commission to study classified documents relating to that era -- said Brazil's government suddenly made a large amount of classified documents available to the public. That resulted in an avalanche of military documents that have now been jammed into every corner of the government archives building, including bathrooms....
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