In Brazil, Volkswagen has agreed to pay $6.4 million to former employees who were arrested and tortured after the car company reported them as “subversives” during Brazil’s military dictatorship of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. In a settlement with Brazilian prosecutors, Volkswagen admitted it targeted union activists at its massive auto plant near São Paulo, where bosses spied on workers and reported outlawed newspapers and flyers to police. This is former VW employee Expedito Batista.
Expedito Batista: “Volkswagen chased after the workers. They incarcerated us inside the factory. Workers were handed over to the Department of Political and Social Order, which was the political authority at the time. Volkswagen’s conduct at the time was willful. This settlement does not completely satisfy us. We deserve more, given our rights, but this is better than nothing.”
The settlement will compensate victims who were arrested, beaten, fired from their jobs, blacklisted and left unable to find employment for years. Brazil’s far-right president, former Army captain Jair Bolsonaro, has praised Brazil’s military dictatorship and has called for the restoration of many of its policies.