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!

 

Brazil: Police War on Favelas Trained by Brazil’s UN “Peacekeepers”

Brazil: Haiti mission shaped Rio police unit

Weekly News Update, WW4 Report, Tuesday, 08/26/2014

The UN mission in Haiti influenced the creation of special urban police units in Brazil—and helped the Brazilian military make up for shortfalls in its training budget.

Two Brazilian experts in police work have confirmed longstanding claims that the Brazilian military and police used their leading role in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH [5]) as a way to train their forces for operations in Brazil’s own cities. According to Lt. Col. Carlos Cavalcanti, of the Brazilian Peace Operations Joint Training Center (CCOPAB [6]), the Brazilians were especially interested in the concept of permanent “strong points” in urban areas, which MINUSTAH forces used to “pacify” Port-au-Prince’s huge Cité Soleil section in 2005 and the Cité Militaire neighborhood in 2007. “Rio de Janeiro’s Militarized Police even sent a group to Haiti while these operations were still being carried out, with the object of taking in the Brazilian army’s experiences,” Cavalcanti said.

Police officers during a shootout with drug traffickers in the Vila Cruzeiro favela in Rio de Janeiro in 2010. (Reuters/Bruno Domingos)

Brazil police in the Villa Cruzeiro favela in Rio de Janeiro in 2010

These experiences inspired the use of special police groups known as Pacifying Police Units (UPPs [7]) in controlling the impoverished urban areas in Brazil known as favelas, according to Claudio Silveira, a defense specialist at Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ). The UPP in Rio was the target of repeated protests in the summer of 2013 because of unit members’ alleged torture and murder of construction worker Amarildo de Souza Lima [8]. One advantage of MINUSTAH for the Brazilian military is apparently that it helps make up for what top officers feel is an inadequate budget for training soldiers. In Haiti the soldiers get real-life training, for which the Brazilian government has paid out 2.11 billion reais (US$923 million) since the mission’s start in June 2004; the United Nations has reimbursed it with 741 million reais (US$324 million). (Adital [9], Brazil, Aug. 13) Continue reading

Brazil: In a Protest of Rising Bus Fares, a Youthful Rebellion Inspired by Turkey

Police fire rubber bullets at demonstrators protesting a price increase for public transportation in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 13, 2013. Thousands of protesters are taking to the streets in Brazil's two biggest cities, protesting against 10-cent hikes in bus and subway fares. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)  From UltimoSegundo (Brazil):  The demand is to reduce the price of the bus pass. The inspirations are the revolutions in the Arab world in recent years, and now, with the protests in Turkey on May 31 of thousands of people challenging the government’s attack on opponents of a shopping center in Taksim Square in Istanbul.…In Brazil, demonstrations which have occurred since January have grown in May and June, and now have brought about 10 thousand people  to the streets of Sao Paulo, according to estimates of the protesters, and 5000, according to police figures….As in Istanbul, the most enthusiastic Brazilian demonstrators were wearing scarves and masks over their mouths (of the protagonist of “V for Vendetta” comic), which tells the story of a revolutionary  in London. “We use the mask because there is a particular claim: The message is that we are all one,” said a protester who attended Tuesday’s protest….The political scientist and professor at PUC-SP Pedro Arruda says the Arab Spring and the events in Turkey stimulate the imagination of young people who took to the streets and called for the departure of Fernando Collor de Mello of the Presidency. He says, however, that the demonstrations here “do not challenge the power structure.” “What we’re seeing are protests for the right to ride a bicycle, or against the construction of Belo Monte dam, or the legalization of marijuana. These marches are sectoral”….

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Protests against Sao Paulo bus fare hike turn violent

police fire rubber bulletsBy Vincent Bevin, Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2013

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Police used tear gas and rubber bullets Thursday night to disperse thousands of protesters in Sao Paulo who had been chanting, “The love is over — Turkey is right here” before fleeing the law enforcement onslaught.

At least 55 people were injured and 60 arrested during the fourth  demonstration in a week. The protests were originally aimed at a hike in the city’s bus fares, but diverse groups came together after serious clashes with police Tuesday.

In Thursday’s violence, two journalists from Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil’s highest-circulation newspaper, were struck in the face with rubber bullets, the paper reported. Two other journalists were imprisoned and then released. Continue reading