Jeb Blount – Reuters, 9/01/2015
A Brazilian labor court convicted units of Brazil’s Odebrecht Group of holding workers in conditions akin to slavery at an ethanol refinery construction project in Angola, Brazilian prosecutors said in a statement on Tuesday.
Judge Carlos Alberto Frigieri of the 2nd Part of the Labor Court of Araraquara, Brazil, ordered Odebrecht to pay 50 million reais ($13 million) in damages.
The ruling comes as Odebrecht’s chief executive, Marcelo Odebrecht, is in jail as part of a giant corruption probe in Brazil. According to Brazilian courts and prosecutors, Odebrecht helped form part of a cartel of construction and engineering companies that defrauded Brazilian state-owned oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA of billion of dollars through a contract-rigging, bribery and political kickback scheme.
Anastasia Moloney – Reuters, 7/15/2015
Child marriage is widely accepted in Brazil, where girls seek older husbands to escape from sexual and other violence in the home, or because of teenage pregnancies or the lack of job opportunities, according to new research.
There has been scant research in Brazil on child marriage, and little has been done to tackle it, researchers from Plan International, Brazil’s Federal University of Para and the gender equality charity Promundo said.
“Child marriage in Brazil is very normalized and accepted,” said Alice Taylor, lead author of the report, whose researchers say it is the first study of its kind in Brazil.
Jeffrey T. Lewis – The Wall Street Journal, 7/01/2015
Brazil is ready to meet rising global demand for food that is coming mostly from Asia, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Wednesday.
Growth in Brazil’s food supply is projected to increase as productivity increases, pasture fields are converted to cropland and livestock production methods become more intensive, the OECD said in report.
Much of the increase in agricultural production in Brazil, the world’s second-biggest supplier of food and agricultural products, can come using sustainable methods, the Paris-based organization said.
Jackie Northam – NPR, 6/30/2015
It’s rare that a world leader will cancel a planned state visit to the White House, but that’s what happened two years ago when Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff found out that the U.S. had been spying on her and her top aides.
The Brazilian leader is now trying to let bygones be bygones, and is in Washington, D.C., to visit with President Obama.
Rousseff’s decision to cancel the state visit — with its formal dinners and high-profile meetings — threw a strong and robust bilateral relationship into disarray, says Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society.
Bruce Douglas – The Guardian, 6/29/2015
Brazil’s justice minister has described his country’s violent and overcrowded prison system as “terrible” and warned that it will only get worse if congress votes this week to lower the age of criminal responsibility.
José Eduardo Cardozo ordered the early publication of a justice ministry report on prison overcrowding ahead of a vote on Tuesday over legislation which would reduce the age of criminal responsibility from 18 to 16 for serious offences involving violence.
The new statistics show that Brazil’s prison population has doubled in the last 10 years and now contains more than 220,000 inmates over its capacity. Lowering the age of criminal responsibility will add up to 40,000 more inmates to the system, Cardozo said.
Ana Lucia Araujo – Open Democracy, 6/22/2015
Brazil’s government has taken important steps to combat racial inequalities over the past two decades. Afro-Brazilian populations nevertheless remain socially and economically excluded, continuing patterns that began with legal slavery.
Brazil has been in the news a great deal of late, especially in association with the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The most popular images involve football, carnival, samba, sunny beaches, and tanned women in bikinis. Less well known is the history of slavery and racism, which continues to have a profound impact upon Brazilian society.
Brazil has the dubious distinction of having imported the largest number of enslaved Africans—more than five million—of all countries of the Americas. The slave trade from Africa to Brazil was outlawed in 1831, but an illegal trade continued until 1851 before being outlawed for a second time. In contrast, legal slavery persisted until 1888, making Brazil the last country to abolish slavery in the western hemisphere. Today, 53 percent of the Brazilian population self-identify as black or pardo (brown, or mixed race). These terms as established by the Census refer to colour and not ancestry.
BBC News, 6/19/2015
A group of eight Brazilian senators on a visit to Venezuela to meet a jailed opposition leader say they had to flee after their bus was attacked.
The Brazilian opposition politicians were trying to meet Leopoldo Lopez, who is in jail accused of inciting violence during protests. The group said the bus was stoned as it travelled from Caracas airport.
Brazil’s foreign ministry says it will seek an explanation from the Venezuelan government. One of the senators, Ronaldo Caiado, tweeted: “Our bus was under siege; they were beating and trying to break it. I filmed them throwing stones against the bus.”