From Brazil to Ferguson, Black Lives Matter

12/18/2014

Under the banner Ferguson is Here! #fergusonéaqui Thousands took the streets in Sao Paulo, Brazil in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests in the US.Foto: Midia NINJAToday’s event in Sao Paulo was to highlight the systemic police violence, the high rate of murders and the judicial injustices suffered when these crimes against black communities go unpunished.

In a report by the Brazilian Forum of Public Safety published on Nov. 9th 2014, Brazilian police killed 2,212 people in 2013.  Twice as many blacks as whites in Brazil were victims of police violence in 2009, according to a recent study by economist Daniel Cerqueira.

Another study by the University of Sao Carlos showed that even as blacks comprised 34 percent of the population of Sao Paulo, they numbered 58 percent of those killed by police.

 

Brazil: Cleomar, Leader of Poor Peasants League in Northern Minas and Bahia is killed in ambush

By CEBRASPO, 23 October 2014

On Wednesday, the peasant Cleomar, coordinator of Liga dos Camponeses Pobres do Norte de Minas e Bahia (Poor Peasants League of Northern Minas and Bahia) was ambushed and killed in Pedra Maria da Cruz, near the Área Revolucionário Unidos com Deus Venceremos, where he lived, worked and struggled with his comrades. Cleomar organized collective honey production in the area, and part of this production he and his fellow workers protested the political repression in Rio de Janeiro, which made him very happy. Recently, Cleomar attended the Congress of the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) held in Rio de Janeiro.

We demand investigation and punishment of the perpetrators and masterminds of this crime against the people!
Comrade Cleomar! Presente!
We reproduce below statement from the National Commission of the Poor Peasants League:

Leader of the League of Poor Peasants of Northern Mines and Bahia is murdered in Pedras de Maria da Cruz
Belo Horizonte, October 23, 2014
Comrade Cleomar, Coordinator of Poor Peasants League of North Gerais and Bahia, was cowardly assassinated October 22, 2014, after passing the “cancela do cascalho” (“gate of gravel”) and entering the path to get to the Área Revolucionária Unidos com Deus Venceremos, where he lived, worked and fought for the piece of land along with other companeros.
His body was found pierced by gunfire, according to the first report of his companion who was quite distraught.
We are sending this announcement to all who support and accompany the struggle for land, to denounce this crime of landlordism and this rotten and murderous state, while the Poor Peasants League North Mine is gathering all the information and preparing an honorable farewell to this martyr of the struggle of the people.
We urge everyone to be present at the farewell to this comrade, (despite the distance).
Cleomar was humble, dedicated, responsible, hardworking, combative, intelligent, patient, insightful, politicized. He was a husband and exemplary, respectful, affectionate father.
Cleomar often received death threats, and constantly denounced the authorities, whose attacks continued.

The murder of comrade Cleomar continues the hundreds of attacks and ambushes against peasants struggling for land: at roadblocks, where the companeros must stop; and after hearing the Public Prosecutor, on 09 October, about large landowners closing roads, preventing access to water from artesian wells by the municipal CDR, being evicted from lands occupied by INCRA, but which never received a hearing for justice, was back to square one, as has happened in thousands of cases in this country in recent years.  Cleomar denounced the landowners threats against him, and called for the peasants’ union, vazanteiros, fishermen and Maroons against landlordism to conquer the land.

Cleomar was popular in many areas, Cleomar organized the production of honey by a collective group, and imagine the happiness that he got when he saw “his” honey helping political prisoners protesters in Rio de Janeiro … Cleomar had participated in the early years of the Congress of the International Association of People’s Lawyers, and his interest in the struggles of other people was contagious. Cleomar fought not only for land, Cleomar wanted power for the worker-peasant alliance!
We lift high his name, and uphold and popularize the fight of comrade Cleomar, martyr of our people!
We are filled with pain and anger, hatred, and the spirit of revenge! Against the killers and those responsible for the murder of Cleomar —  First, landowners and their gunmen; Second, this state and its officers and managers, opportunistic scoundrels, who could have prevented the death of the comrade, if they did at least one percent of the Brazilian constitution that says this … Cleomar exposed the Incra and urged people to go and see those who lied and deceived and covered up the crimes.
Pain and anger, hatred, revenge. We demand justice!
Honor and glory to the martyrs of our people!
Long live the struggle for land! Viva Agrarian Revolution!
Comrade Cleomar, Presente!

 

Increasingly discredited Brazilian electoral politics…….

combined with lackluster Catholic hold on mass sentiments/loyalties, gives rise to fresh opportunist prospects for evangelical-missionary-nurtured local weeds to grow.

————————————–

Brazil’s evangelicals gain clout, close to electing first president
BY ANTHONY BOADLE, REUTERS
BRASILIA | Sun Sep 28, 2014

An evangelical Christian is pictured as they march during the 'Jesus Parade' in downtown Brasilia August 14, 2014. REUTERS-Joedson Alves

An evangelical Christian is pictured as they march during the ‘Jesus Parade’ in downtown Brasilia August 14, 2014.

(Reuters) – Brazil’s increasingly powerful evangelical Christians are tantalisingly close to electing one of their own as president next month in what would be a historic shift for the world’s largest Catholic nation.

Marina Silva, an environmentalist running neck and neck in polls with incumbent President Dilma Rousseff, is a Pentecostal Christian who often invokes God on the campaign trail and has said she sometimes consults the Bible for inspiration when making important political decisions.

Some 65 percent of Brazil’s 200 million people are Roman Catholics but evangelicals are rapidly gaining followers and power. Continue reading

Brazil: World Cup’s Nationalist Hype Fails to Curb Struggle Against Displacement

Dispatches From Brazil’s World Cup:  Real Estate Frenzy Provokes ‘Psychological Attack’ to Oust Favela Residents
Dave Zirin, The Nation, on June 18, 2014
Graffiti on the walls of Vila Autódromo. On the Brazilian flag, instead of "order and progress", "freedom" is written across the iconic blue globe. June 17, 2014. (Photo by the author)

Graffiti on the walls of Vila Autódromo. On the Brazilian flag, instead of “order and progress”, “freedom” is written across the iconic blue globe. June 17, 2014. (Photo by the author)

 

Before returning to the favela Vila Autódromo for the first time since 2012, I had already been told that the community would not look the same. As a friend said to me, “It will resemble a perfect smile with several teeth knocked out.” Vila Autódromo is situated just yards away from the site of the 2016 Rio Olympic village, and Olympic planners as well as construction interests have long targeted this close-knit community for demolition. Located on an achingly beautiful lake, where glittering new high-rise condominiums have sprouted “seemingly overnight”, the city’s business and political leaders see prime real estate, with pesky favelados in the way of their development dreams.

Despite a fierce resistance to their removal that has stymied the efforts of Olympic planners, I had heard before arriving that 150 of the 500 families living in Vila Autódromo had left. I expected many of their homes, places I had visited, to now be piles of rubble. What I did not expect was the absence of trees. Continue reading

Brazil: No World Cup?

Members of the Landless Workers Movement protest against the money spent on the World Cup near Arena Corinthians, which will host the tournament’s first match in São Paulo, Brazil. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

[The great journalist Eduardo Galeano once wrote, “There are visible and invisible dictators. The power structure of world football is monarchical. It’s the most secret kingdom in the world.”  It is a cultural and economic “kingdom” that, along with Olympics and other mega-capitalist-profit and xenophobic-promotion projects, hijacks national budgets, leaving millions starving in the streets….and rising in rebellion in hundreds of city streets.  Here, David Zirin, the journalist whose career has focused on the politics of sport, the misuse of sport’s popularity, and the history of athlete’s activism, tells what is building up in Brazil with the approach of the FIFA World Cup. — Frontlines ed.]

‘There Will Be No World Cup’: Brazil on the Brink

Dave Zirin, The Nation blog, on May 15, 2014
For people just tuning in, the idea that people in Brazil would be protesting the 2014 World Cup makes about as much sense as New Yorkers’ rebelling against pizza. And yet here we are, less than one month before the start of the Cup, and demonstrations bear the slogan #NãoVaiTerCopa, or “There will be no Cup.”

Protests, strikes and direct actions have been flaring up across the country as the 2014 FIFA World Cup approaches. Most notably, as many as 10,000 people in São Paolo under the banner of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, or MTST, has occupied a major lot next to Arena Corinthians, site of the World Cup’s opening match. They call their occupation “The People’s Cup” and point out that the nearly half a billion dollars that went into building the “FIFA quality stadium” next door could have been used to combat poverty or improve healthcare. The slogan “we want FIFA quality hospitals and schools” still rings out as it did a year ago, when during the Confederation’s Cup, Brazil saw its largest protests in a generation. Now there is an even sharper desperation as the cup approaches. Maria das Dores Cirqueira, 44, a coordinator for the MTST, told the Los Angeles Times, “When the government told us we would host the World Cup, we hoped there would be improvements for us. But they aren’t putting on a Cup for the people, they’re putting on a Cup for the gringos.” Continue reading

Reaching for “World-Class” Glory, the Brazilian State Unleashes a Reign of Terror in the Favelas

[In Brazil, the international promotion of a global sporting event, the FIFA World Cup of 2014, has driven a “sophisticated, cosmetic” PR and brutal policing and counter-insurgency program.   In this article, The Guardian describes the deadly repression of the poor, and  the “charm-the-tourists” propaganda campaign of the Brazilian state. — Frontlines ed.]

———————————-

Brazil’s favelas are in big trouble, despite the World Cup marketing push

, theguardian.com, Sunday 18 May 2014
'In Rio de Janeiro, the number of deaths in conflict with the police rose by 69% from 2013 to 2014.'

‘In Rio de Janeiro, the number of deaths in conflict with the police rose by 69% from 2013 to 2014.’ Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

This week, a study by Amnesty International revealed that 80% of Brazilians are afraid of being tortured by their own police force on arrest. In a survey across 21 countries, Brazil was found to be the country where people feel most unsafe in the hands of authorities, almost twice the international average of 44%.

In Rio de Janeiro this fear is very real. Although the media has reported the efforts to pacify favelas across the city, armed violence has once again escalated in the city – weeks before it will receive thousands of football fans for the 2014 World Cup.

Back in 2008 favela residents dreamed of a life without violence as the government unveiled a project to build Pacifying Police Units (UPPs) in which policemen would be stationed to take back territory controlled by drug gangs for decades. Today the failures of this programme are starting to show – and a corrupt and violent police force is the main cause. Continue reading

Brazil’s infectious anthem: When millions sing the alarm, Enough!

CHEGA   —   Enough!

(Não é pelos vinte centavos)   —   (We will arrive, but Not by twenty cents)

Cada um fazendo a sua parte, vamos construir um país melhor. Uma homenagem de Seu Jorge, Gabriel Moura e Pretinho da Serrinha a todos os Brasileiros……(Each one doing its part, we are going to build a better country.)

———————————

Published On: July 22, 2013

Brazilian Music in New York

Brazil Summerfest opened in New York City this past weekend. This is the third summer that lovers of Brazilian music have organized the festival to celebrate it in New York. The annual festival is a treat for the tens of thousands of Brazilians who live in and near New York City, not to mention the millions of international tourists who come to New York every summer.

This year’s festival includes performances by Gaby Amarantos, Marcelo D2, Toninho Horta, Tulipa Ruiz, and others. They will perform at outdoor locations like Central Park’s SummerStage and the South Street Seaport, as well as clubs like Joe’s Pub.

Certainly the biggest name on the list of performers is Jorge Mário da Silva, the 43-year-old singer and songwriter known as Seu Jorge. When asked about this year’s festival and what makes it special, Seu Jorge was quick to point out that all the musicians and artists from Brazil have been affected by the mass demonstrations that have erupted recently in Brazil. The street protests have inspired him to write a song.

“If this thing had happened in Jamaica, certainly Bob Marley would do something, wouldn’t he? And if something like this were happening in Nigeria, wouldn’t Fela Kuti have written some song?” Seu Jorge remarked.  “The idea was to write a song that would lead people to sing for their rights,” continued Seu Jorge, who is known in the US not only as an international ambassador of Brazilian music, but also as an actor in the Wes Anderson film, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Continue reading