December 4, 2013
William Jones – The Rio Times, 12/02/2013
The Military Police in Rio de Janeiro are Brazil’s most corrupt police force, according to the National Victimization Survey, commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Program for Development. The study also showed that the state of Rio is subject to more crime than the rest of the entire Southeast region, including São Paulo.
According to the research acquired by Brazilian daily newspaper Extra, the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro is in the top spot for police extortion in the country. The survey concluded that Rio’s Military Police is far more likely to demand bribes from citizens, as the state’s MP is behind over thirty percent of all reported incidents.
The Military Police of São Paulo, the state with the highest number of military officers, were responsible for 18.2 percent of all reported bribing incidents.
December 4, 2013
Stephen Wade, Associated Press, 12/03/2013
Few things could damage the image of Brazil more than violent street protests during the World Cup.
Demonstrations during June’s Confederations Cup — the World Cup warm-up — caught Brazil’s police and military police by surprise. There will be no surprises this time, on either side.
Brazil’s police are getting training from their French counterparts, and followers of the Black Bloc anarchist movement have announced plans for demonstrations, starting with the opening World Cup match on June 12 in Sao Paulo. A Black Bloc Facebook page lists demonstrations for June 13 in Natal, Salvador and Cuiaba, followed by six more protests in six cities on June 14 and 15. And more are promised.
December 3, 2013
With Brazil hosting the World Cup next year, officials fear an explosion in child prostitution as sex workers migrate to big cities and pimps recruit more underage prostitutes to meet the demand from local and foreign soccer fans.
“We’re worried sexual exploitation will increase in the host cities and around them,” said Joseleno Vieira dos Santos, who coordinates a national program to fight the sexual exploitation of children at Brazil’s Human Rights Secretariat.
“We’re trying to coordinate efforts as much as we can with state and city governments to understand the scope of the problem.”
December 3, 2013
Agence France-Presse, 12/02/2013
With the World Cup set to kick off six months from now, Brazilian officials see street protests and resurgent criminal violence in some of Rio’s slums as top security concerns.
This Latin American powerhouse is pulling out all the stops to ensure security for the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected for the planet’s most-watched sporting event, the first to be held in Brazil since 1950.
“You can protest over causes which you see as just … but remember that we are staging an event that is very crucial for our country. So treat visitors well,” Ricardo Trade, head of the World Cup’s Local Organizaing Commitee, said recently.
Brazil is used to organizing mammoth events such as the Rio carnival or Pope Francis’ visit, which drew three million pilgrims on Copacabana beach in July.
December 3, 2013
Andrew Downie – Reuters, 12/03/2013
Just four days before the draw for the 2014 World Cup, FIFA faced yet another embarrassment when a Sao Paulo prosecutor opened an investigation into possible racism by soccer’s world governing body.
A Sao Paulo state prosecutor has asked FIFA and the company it hired to organise Friday’s draw to explain why it chose two white-skinned actors to present the televised show instead of two black-skinned actors.
Two Afro-Brazilians had been suggested as possible hosts but were overlooked in favour of light-skinned model Fernanda Lima and her white husband Rodrigo Hilbert, a TV presenter, news magazine Veja reported without saying how it obtained the information.
December 2, 2013
Press TV, 12/01/2013
Marcel Fiche’s resignation was announced by the office of Finance minister Guido Mantega on Saturday.
The decision to step down follows reports that Fiche and his technical advisor allegedly received about USD 25,700 from a communications company in exchange for a contract with the finance ministry.
“I have asked Minister Guido Mantega that I not return to cabinet at the end of my vacations,” Fiche stated in a statement on Friday.
Fiche also said the allegations against him were “lies,” adding that he wanted to contribute to a smooth and rapid investigation.
November 25, 2013
France 24, 11/24/2013
French anti-riot police have begun training their Brazilian counterparts ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, both of which are expected to provoke large demonstrations like those during the Confederation Cup held in Brazil in June, when millions protested against corruption and poor public services in the country.
“We are preparing ourselves early,” said Marcos Palermo, a Brazilian anti-riot police officer.
The Brazilian police force has come under criticism in the past for its violent handling of riots. With an average of up to 10 demonstrations a day in France, the French police are well positioned to run the training.
November 22, 2013
Agence France-Presse, 11/22/2013
The husks, baked dry and black in the hot Brazilian sun, crumble in the hand, revealing pale green beans. But those coffee beans could go to waste, as world prices falter.
“It’s good coffee — they should be drying it and getting it ready for export,” says Celso Scanavachi, an engineer at the Coopinhal farm cooperative in Santo Espiritu do Pinhal, north of Sao Paulo.
“The producer has abandoned 40 percent of the crop; the retail price doesn’t cover the cost of harvesting,” he says.
November 22, 2013
The Economist, 11/23/2013
AS CHIEF of staff to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2003-05, José Dirceu was the second most powerful man in Brazil. Then claims surfaced that he and other leaders of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT) were orchestrating a scheme to bribe allies in return for congressional support. Few Brazilians believed that Mr Dirceu, who resigned, would be charged, let alone convicted or jailed in a country where impunity for politicians has long been the norm. But on November 15th the supreme-court president, Joaquim Barbosa, issued warrants for the arrest of Mr Dirceu and 11 others among the 25 found guilty last year of, variously, bribery, money-laundering, misuse of public funds and conspiracy, in a case known to Brazilians as the mensalão (big monthly stipend).
Sharing Mr Dirceu’s Brasília prison cell are José Genoino and Delúbio Soares, formerly the PT’s president and treasurer respectively. Henrique Pizzolato, a former director of the state-controlled Banco do Brasil, guilty of laundering some of the money, quietly fled to Italy, where he also has citizenship, some weeks ago. Authorities there have hinted that his extradition would be more likely if Brazil rethought its 2010 decision to shelter Cesare Battisti, an Italian bomber facing a life sentence.
November 21, 2013
Mac Margolis – The Daily Beast, 11/21/2013
Thanks to an arcane law, the country’s rich and famous are able to block publication of books on their lives—but the Supreme Court may be set to loosen the publishing stranglehold.
Like torture and curfews, book banning in Brazil went out with the military dictatorship almost 30 years ago. Back then, intellectuals, artists, and politicians hailed the end of the long night of authoritarian rule (1964 to 1985) with a burst of creativity and civic commotion. É proibido proibir—“Prohibition is prohibited,”—proclaimed singer and songwriter Caetano Veloso, who was censored under the military and spent years in exile. Veloso’s slogan became the meme for the new era of democratic liberty.
Funny how things change. Yes, the generals are back in their barracks, and Brazilians are free to gather, protest, and freely elect their leaders. But book banning is still in fashion. And it’s totally legal, thanks to Articles 20 and 21 of Brazil’s civil code. The arcane pair of paragraphs are packed with the sort of yawn-provoking polysyllables that only a lawyer could love. In plain language, the 2002 law is a bombshell that essentially strangles freedom of expression by ruling out the publication of any biography that has not been expressly authorized by its subject. Remarkably, much of the support for the new wave of book banning now comes from some of the same artists and celebrities who rebelled against the official muzzle decades before, but who have grown rich and famous since, and have claimed they own their own stories.