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November 14, 2013 AT 9:17 AM
The remains of former Brazilian President João Goulart were exhumed on Thursday and flown to Brasilia to determine whether he was poisoned by agents of the right-wing military regime that deposed him in 1964. The exhumation and Thursday's ceremony, attended by President Dilma Rousseff and three other former heads of state, is part of an effort by Brazil's leftist government to answer unresolved questions about murders, kidnappings and other human rights abuses during the dictatorship, which ended in 1985. When Goulart died, Brazil's government said the official cause of death was a heart attack, suffered at his ranch in neighboring Argentina. But his family in 2007 called on Brazilian authorities to investigate statements by a Uruguayan intelligence officer who said he had been part of a plot to kill Goulart by tampering with his medication.