Brazil activists to walk 600 miles for ‘free markets, lower taxes and privatisation’

April 28, 2015

Bruce Douglas – The Guardian, 4/24/2015

Penetrating deep into the country’s vast interior on epic raids for people to enslave and mineral wealth to plunder, Brazil’s bandeirantes massively expanded the frontiers of the young state in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Today the legacy of these pioneers remains divisive, but their profound contribution to both Brazil’s continental dimensions and history of violence remains indisputable. And for the members of the libertarian Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL), or Free Brazil Movement, the legend of the bandeirantes is a political inspiration.

“They were self-made men from São Paulo, and they turned Brazil into the biggest country in Latin America,” said Renan Santos, the MBL’s national coordinator. “For sure, they were not a great example in terms of human rights.”

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Brazilian torture survivor Ines Etienne Romeu dies

April 28, 2015

BBC News, 4/28/2015

The only survivor of a torture centre where the Brazilian military regime interrogated opponents in the 1970s has died at the age of 72.

Ines Etienne Romeu memorised the names of her abusers and the location of what became known as the House of Death in Petropolis near Rio de Janeiro. Her testimony for Brazil’s Truth Commission was key in exposing human rights abuses under military rule.

In 2003 she survived an attack in her home that left her unable to speak. The intruder was never identified.

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Brazil’s Power Dynamics Shifting Amid Political Scandals

April 28, 2015

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 4/28/2015

The head of Brazil’s Senate, Renan Calheiros, has been accused of tax evasion, using a government jet to visit a surgeon who alleviated his baldness with hair implants and allowing a construction company’s lobbyist to pay child support for his daughter from an extramarital affair with a television journalist.

Eduardo Cunha, the conservative speaker of Brazil’s lower house of Congress, has also faced — and successfully battled — a list of corruption accusations, from embezzlement to living in an apartment paid for by a black-market money dealer.

In some democracies, figures facing such situations might find themselves banished from public life even if they were never convicted. But not in Brazil, where the men who command the scandal-plagued Congress are actually increasing their power over the scandal-plagued president, Dilma Rousseff.

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Brazil City Calls In Army to Fight Dengue

April 23, 2015

Rogerio Jelmayer and Jeffrey T. Lewis – The Wall Street Journal, 4/17/2015

Brazil’s biggest city has called in the army to help combat a deadly outbreak of dengue fever that has sickened hundreds of thousands of people nationwide.

Soldiers will next week begin going door-to-door in some of São Paulo’s hardest-hit neighborhoods to educate residents on fighting mosquitoes, Mayor Fernando Haddad said on Friday.

A severe drought in southeastern Brazil has spurred residents to hoard water, often in makeshift containers, providing breeding grounds for mosquitoes that spread the disease whose symptoms can include intense muscle pain, convulsions and high fever.

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Brazil’s Petrobras Reports Nearly $17 Billion in Asset and Corruption Charges

April 23, 2015

Paul Kiernan – The Wall Street Journal, 4/22/2015

Brazil’s state oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA put a price tag on a corruption scandal that has thrown the country into political and economic turmoil, writing off $17 billion due to losses from graft and overvalued assets.

The disclosures were part of the first audited financial statements released by Petrobras in more than eight months.

Brazilian federal prosecutors since last year have been investigating allegations that the company’s suppliers conspired to overcharge Petrobras for major projects, funneling some of the illicit profit to former Petrobras executives and politicians in the form of bribes and illegal political donations.

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‘We’re going to resist': Brazil’s indigenous groups fight to keep their land in face of new law

April 23, 2015

Claire Rigby – The Guardian, 4/23/2015

From downtown São Paulo, the Pico do Jaraguá – the crest of a mountain ridge on the city’s north-western horizon – looks like a broken tooth, crowned by a towering TV antenna. Just beyond the rocky peak and down a steep, deeply rutted, unmade road, lies the nascent village of Tekoa Itakupe, one of the newest fronts in Brazil’s indigenous people’s struggle for land to call their own.

Once part of a coffee plantation, the idyllic 72-hectare plot is currently occupied by three families from the Guarani community who moved onto the land in July 2014 after it was recognised as traditional Guarani territory by Funai, the federal agency for Indian affairs.

The group had hoped that would be a first step on the road to its eventual official demarcation as indigenous territory, but they now face eviction after a judge granted a court order to the landowner, Antônio ‘Tito’ Costa, a lawyer and former local politician.

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A bold and beautiful portrait of Brazil

April 22, 2015

Nicole Crowder – The Washington Post, 04/22/2015

Ahead of the upcoming 2016 Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Washington Post staff photographer Bonnie Jo Mount traveled to Piquiá de Baixo to document a community of residents in clay-brick and wooden houses suffering from the heavy pollution from nearby pig iron factories and the noisy Carajás railway that runs through the Amazon region transporting ore.

Away from the busy rail tracks and gathering dust, Mount documented a more personal portrait of the country via her Instagram, one that reflects a serene, even majestic Brazil. Vibrant tiles jut out from a red wall near contrasting green glass window shutters in Rio. A young man walks past a facade of wooden blue doors and iron balconies, oxidized over time by the elements in the historic district of São Luís. And while the southern coastal region of the country has suffered one of its most severe droughts in nearly 80 years, Mount’s vignettes are able to capture the soul and beauty of Brazilian landscapes, from its energetic beaches of Ipanema to aerials of the Amazon rainforest.

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