Latin America & Caribbean

Records prove Pele was probed by Brazil military

Image caption The documents show the military was keeping tabs on Pele in the 1970s

Brazilian football player Pele was one of the thousands of people investigated by the authorities during Brazil's military rule (1964-1985), newly released records show.

His file is among 300,000 military-era documents released on Monday.

It shows the authorities kept watch over Pele's personal, sporting and financial activities.

Officials of the era kept meticulous records in their attempt to identify possible opponents to military rule.

The files have been published by the Sao Paulo state archives in an effort to provide more information and clarity about the period, in which leftist activists and those suspected of sympathising with them were brutally repressed.

Up to 500 people were killed or disappeared during this time in Brazil, a far lower number than in shorter periods of military rule in neighbouring Argentina and Chile. But thousands of Brazilians were tortured, exiled or deprived of their political rights.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, who was herself tortured and jailed under military rule, last year inaugurated a truth commission to investigate past human rights abuses.

The released files show that the authorities kept a tab on Pele's activities in the 1970s, including his financial records and investigating alleged attacks on his home in the city of Santos.

The documents show the authorities also investigated other public figures such as singer Roberto Carlos, TV show hosts Silvio Santos and Hebe Camargo and author Monteiro Lobato.

Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, won his first World Cup in 1958 at the age of 17. He went on to win it twice more in 1962 and 1970 and scored more than 1,200 goals throughout his career.

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