The Ponte Honestino Guimaraes (formerly named „Ponte Costa e Silva“), had been designed by Oscar Niemeyer and built and inaugurated in 1976.
Till 2015, the bridge remained to be the last public building named after a protagonist of Brazil’s dictatorship. In several attempts (1999, 2003 and 2012), the renomination of the bridge had been discussed. Finally, in August 2015, after an intensive discussion, the Câmara Legislativa do DF approved to alter the bridge’s name from „Costa e Silva“ (military president) to „Honestino Guimarães“(students’ leader), putting an end to the renomination of public buildings in Brasília as a process of redemocratization, started in 1985.
The House of Deputies’ approval was celebrated as a political and ideological victory. As to José Otávio Nogueira Guimaraes, professor of history of the UnB and coordinator of the Comissão Anísio Teixeira Memória e Verdades, the bridge’s renomination will be of importance for the actual democracy: „People, by crossing this bridge, will ask themselves who Honestino was, what happened to him, and this will strengthen the necessity of reflecting about democracy and improve human rights“.
Honestino Monteiro Guimarães:
He was an important students’ leader during dictatorship, and dissapeared on October 10, 1973, in Rio de Janeiro, after being caught for the sixth time. He started his combat in the „movimento secundarista“ and joint the Ação Popular (AP). As a student at UnB, Honestino was elected for the Diretório Acadêmico de Geologia and, in 1967, although imprisoned, was elected president of the Federação dos Estudantes Universitários de Brasília (Feub).
In August 1968, military forces and political policy invaded the UnB in order to take Honestino prisoner with 7 more other students. He stayed captivated till November. In September of the same year, he was dispensed from university after having lead an expulsion of a false professor of the UnB. He left Brasília in December 1968 to live in secret in São Paulo. When the president of the União Nacional dos Estudantes (UNE), Jean Marc von der Weid, was captivated, Honestino took over the provisional presidency. During the UNE’s congress, in 1971, in Rio de Janeiro, he was elected president, and moved to Rio de Janeiro where he continued to live in secret.
In 1973, Honestino was captivated by the Centro de Informações da Marinha (Cenimar). It is said that he was then transferred to the Pelotão de Investigações Criminais de Brasília, where his mother was allowed to visit him for Christmas. But when she showed up, she was told that he wasn’t there anymore. His disappearance was declared in 1976 by political prisoners of São Paulo. Only twenty years later, in 1996, the State acknowledged the responsability for his disappearance, when the Guimaraes family received the death certificate issued by the Court of Justice of Rio de Janeiro, but without mentioning the cause of death.
In April 2014, Honestino Guimarães’ political amnesty was oficially declared „post mortem“ by the Federal State. And finally, the Ministry of Justice corrected his death certificate by adding – as the cause of death – „acts of violence used by the State“. In September, Honestino’s political amnesty was celebrated during a solemnity held at UnB, where he studied geology.
Tags: Ponte Costa e Silva