Murders soar in Brazil World Cup city during police strike

April 18, 2014

Silvio Cascione – Reuters, 4/17/2014

A police strike ended on Thursday after unleashing a surge in violent crime in Brazil‘s third-largest city just two months before it is due to welcome hordes of football fans for the World Cup, authorities said.

At least 39 homicides were committed during the two-day strike in and around the north-eastern city of Salvador that added to fears about Brazil’s ability to ensure public safety during the global football tournament.

Violence swept the city after state police went on strike on Tuesday night to demand better pay and other benefits, prompting the federal government to dispatch troops to restore order in Salvador and nearby towns.

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Brazil: a role model for development?

April 17, 2014

Armando Barrientos & Ed Amann – The Guardian, 4/17/2014

Brazil isn’t getting the best press at the moment, with ongoing problems with the construction of the World Cup stadiums and protests about public services. Recently economic growth in the country has slowed, with some commentators arguing the recent government response sounds “the death knell for Brazil’s economic strategy“.

It’s remarkable how far and fast Brazil has fallen from grace. Only a couple of years ago, the IMF and others were lauding the country for its resilience to the global financial crisis and its sound economic management.

We need to get this into perspective, because behind the hyperbole, there’s much for other developing countries to learn from Brazil’s recent experiences. Countries such as Zambia, which has seen positive growth rates that haven’t translated into poverty reduction, or Nigeria, which has seen inequality dramatically widen over the past 20 years.

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Brazil’s Rousseff looks weak, but so do her election rivals

April 16, 2014

Brian Winter – Reuters, 4/16/2014

With Brazil’s economy struggling, a scandal at its state-run oil company and nearly three-quarters of voters saying they want change from their government, President Dilma Rousseff looks vulnerable in her bid for re-election this October.

But for her to lose, somebody else has to win. And her two main rivals have big, potentially fatal flaws of their own.

Senator Aecio Neves and former governor Eduardo Campos, who are both running on centrist, pro-business platforms, have failed to make significant headway in polls and still badly trail the left-leaning Rousseff despite her recent struggles.

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Army tries to win over residents of Rio’s favelas

April 7, 2014

Marco Antonio Martins & Bruno Fanti – Folha de S. Paulo, 4/7/2014

Part of the success or failure of the occupation by the armed forces of the Complexo da Maré, in Rio’s north end, is its ability to win over the community. It’s what the military began trying to do three hours after its occupation of the 15 favelas of Maré.

Yesterday, there was a moment of tension between the military and residents after a young man was beaten by others and the military was accused of doing nothing.

Cláudio Brum dos Reis, 22, a student and resident of Nova Holanda, went to watch a game in Baixa do Sapateiro. The favelas were ruled by different factions. According to relatives, Reis was attacked by a group of teenagers and thrown in the ditch that divides the communities.


Occupying Brazil

April 7, 2014

Al Jazeera - 4/6/2014

In the canyons of Brazil’s largest city there are tens of thousands being left in the wake of the country’s economic riptide.

Sao Paulo has outstripped its capacity for affordable housing and yet there are hundreds of abandoned buildings that stand empty.

Facing the dire prospect of being forced into the streets by rising rents and living in the ever-expanding and hazardous favelas, there is an occupation movement taking responsibility for its own future. They seize abandoned buildings for the low-wage workers who have few options except to forcibly occupy them. They then have to live with the uncertainty that they could be removed either by the state or the building’s owner.


Chico Vive: The Legacy of Chico Mendes and the Global Grassroots Environmental Movement

March 31, 2014

The Chico Vive conference is bringing together grassroots activists, NGO’s, students, engaged scholars, applied scientists, policymakers, journalists and others to discuss the development of the global grassroots environmental movement in the 25 years since environmental martyr Chico Mendes’ death. Participants will plan strategies for coordinated international actions, networks, coalitions and initiatives to advance sustainability, defend the environment from depredation and climate change, and protect the rights of its traditional inhabitants.

When: April 4-6 2014

Where: American University School of International Service

Keynote: MARINA SILVA

More information here. 




According to former president Cardoso, Brazil still lacks an effective democracy

March 25, 2014

Ricardo Balthazar – Folha de S. Paulo, 3/25/2014

In 1964, former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who governed Brazil from 1995 to 2002, was a young sociologist trying to understand the environment of political radicalization that led to the fall of João Goulart. Following the coup, he knew that the police were looking for him and he went into exile.

Cardoso returned to Brazil in 1968. With political rights suspended by the military, he created a research center with other intellectuals persecuted by the dictatorship and went into the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB), the only opposition party allowed to run up to 1980.

Three decades since the military returned to their barracks, he thinks the country still has a less than perfect democracy and sees the difficulties that President Dilma Rousseff goes through to be understood by Congress as a reflection of the problems faced by Jango (Goulart) in his time.

Read more…


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