Tag: brazil

Kickbacks and Killings: A Brazilian Cop Tells His Story

Cesar Muñoz and João sat down in the living room to talk. Cesar knew a little about João – he worked as a military police officer in Rio de Janeiro, the type of police who regularly storm into the city’s 1,000 or so favelas, or slums, with assault rifles and armored vehicles.

Cesar, the Human Rights Watch Brazil senior researcher, didn’t know that what was to come was one of the most shocking interviews of his life.

In the beginning João talked about relatively minor misconduct (by Rio de Janeiro standards), like keeping guns confiscated from suspects that should have been handed over as evidence, but it didn’t take long before he told of torture and murder.

Brazil: Extrajudicial Executions Undercut Rio Security

Police Killings Persist as Summer Olympics Approach

Rio de Janeiro state promised improvements in public security in preparation for the Olympics, but it has not done enough to address extrajudicial executions by police, a central obstacle to more effective law enforcement, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 109-page report, “‘Good Cops Are Afraid’: The Toll of Unchecked Police Violence in Rio de Janeiro,” documents how unlawful police killings have contributed to the unraveling of the state’s ambitious efforts to improve public security.

Rio police have killed more than 8,000 people in the past decade, including at least 645 in 2015. Many police killings were most likely the result of the legitimate use of force, but many others were extrajudicial executions, Human Rights Watch found.

Latin America’s Unelected, Imperialism and ‘The New Right’: Recent Coups Reviewed

Fifteen years ago, scholars and political scientists alike announced the Rise of the New Left in Latin America: with Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Lula/Rouseff in Brazil it seemed the tide was turning in Latin America. And while we have all been hopeful that Latin America was on a path to success, it seems that joy is short lived. Even if you are only vaguely familiar with Latin American history, a history ranging from colonialism to outright imperialism, you have some inkling that the US has played a critical role in shaping political leadership within the region; often times unjustly destabilising regimes which were the result of democratically held, free and fair elections (an ideal supposedly supported by the US).

The military coups of the 1970s and the following military dictatorships, ushered in a period of ‘disappearances’, neoliberal economics, privatisation, and socially restrictive policies. And if we look back further we can see a litany of other disasters like the destruction of popular movements, the ousting and defeat of elected leaders, and other horrors overseen by the US. The notion that US directly oversaw such atrocities, once conspiracy, is now widely accepted as truth. Thus, when they ask: why does Latin America have so many problems? We can answer: Imperialism.
Latin America rebounded from the military dictatorships of the 70s in a big way, many countries holding free and fair elections, establishing solidarity between other LA nations in what has been referred to as a ‘pink tide’. For some, this ‘pink tide’ was not ‘leftist’ enough (and this isn’t to say that these regimes were perfect, far from it), however significant economic and social recovery was made under these regimes and many leaders at least attempted to address inequality, inflation, and US interference. More recently, things seem to be slipping into what may seem like a distant memory.

Wikileaks: Brazil’s New Unelected President a US Informant

A US State Department cable that Wikileaks published on 5 March 2011 and that concerns the newly appointed President of Brazil but that has nonetheless been ignored by Western ‘news’ media (such as The New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, CNN, BBC, etc.), reported the latest inside information that the US government’s secret Brazilian agent in Sao Paulo had just supplied.

Since the agent, Michel Temer, is now Brazil’s appointed ‘interim’ leader, the context of that cable is important to understand – especially because the situation here is similar to other recent examples in which the US President has, essentially, selected the leader of a foreign government after a US-backed coup has occurred there:

After an American coup overthrowing the existing democratically elected President in Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk was the interim leader of Ukraine from 27 February 2014 till April 2016, chosen by the US President (via his agent Victoria Nuland); and after an American-backed domestic-aristocracy-perpetrated coup overthrowing the existing democratically elected President of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti was the interim leader of that country from 28 June 2009 to 27 January 2010, chosen by the US President (in conjunction with Honduras’s 12 aristocratic or «oligarchic» families). In both instances, only candidates who were acceptable to the US President were allowed to compete in the subsequent ‘election’, and massive propaganda was issued to the local public, with US government approval, for each of those candidates. That operation then produced the ‘non-interim’ regime, which still rules each of these now-dictatorships.

Israeli mishap in Latin America?

“Israel has no foreign policy, only domestic policy.” Not always so valid an observation, this one by Henry Kissinger, contentious recipient of the Nobel peace prize, allows us to analyse an episode of undoubted impact on the state of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition: the appointment in March of Daniel Dayan as Israeli consul in the US, after failing to have him accredited as ambassador to Brasilia.

In 1947 Brazil had led at the United Nations (UN) the Latin American majority favourable to the idea of partitioning Palestine and creating two states, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish. But the rest of the region’s major countries and other Latin American states such as Argentina, Mexico and others, did not accompany Brazil on this occasion. Rejecting the territorial loss, among other losses, that the creation of Israel implied, the Arab world and the Palestinian leadership of the 1940s tried to prevent it. Their military defeat first resulted in the Jewish appropriation of lands corresponding to the Palestinian state, and in 1967 the Israeli occupation of all of that state that had never come to be.

Later –especially from 1977–, the almost continuous succession of Israeli ultranationalist governments was increasingly criticised in Latin America, and a non-binding International Court of Justice ruling declared illegal their settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Also, at Brazil’s behest, since 2010 recognition of the Palestinian state has increased, without bringing it to realization, and partition was invoked by countries like Uruguay to bring that state into being.

Brazil: US Special Services Behind the Turmoil

No doubt, US special services are behind the crisis in Brazil. Now they continue to control the events. Compromising evidence against the leadership of the Workers’ Party, the top officials of Petrobras, a state-owned oil company, and the inner circles of President Dilma Rousseff and former President Lula da Silva has been leaked as part of an operation to undermine the «hostile regime».

In the eyes of President Barack Obama and his administration, the largest Latin American country is a hostile state because it dares to implement independent policies. The US goal is to subjugate the ruling elite of Brazil and make it dance to the US tune.

This turn of events has been predicted by a number of Latin American presidents, including Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Evo Morales of Bolivia and Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay among others. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro put it bluntly saying the events in Brazil are nothing else but a coup d’état staged by the US. According to Maduro, the attack against Dilma Rousseff threatens democracy in Brazil. It is also directed against such regional organizations as Celac (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Unasur (the Union of South American Nations), as well as public and political movements protecting people’s interests. Maduro called on all left-wing movements in Latin America to join together and protest against the smear campaign against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The Venezuelan leader believes they must act to protect peace and prosperity on the continent.

Washington’s ‘Fingerprints’ All Over Rousseff’s Impeachment

Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment has dealt a heavy blow to Brazil’s democracy, giving the country’s corrupt neoliberal elite free reign, experts say, adding that the case has all the earmarks of a “color revolution.”

Brazil’s young and vibrant democracy is under threat as an unelectable corrupt neoliberal political elite have taken the reins of power from President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party (PT), prominent American journalist, lawyer and author Glenn Greenwald warns in his recent article for The Intercept.

“As someone who has lived in Brazil for 11 years, it’s been inspiring and invigorating to watch a country of 200 million people throw off the shackles of a 21-year-old right-wing (US/UK supported) military dictatorship and mature into a young, vibrant democracy and then thrive under it. To see how quickly and easily that can be reversed — abolished in all but name only — is both sad and frightening to watch,” Greenwald writes.

Brazilian President Steps Down while Senate Begins Impeachment Trial

The world’s fifth largest economy finds itself in an unprecedented political crisis after its Senate approved Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff‘s impeachment trial, for which she is stepping down for 180 days.

President Rousseff is accused of having broken fiscal responsibility laws while managing the federal budget. During the trial, she will reside in the Alvorada Palace and receive half pay.

Of the 81 senators that were in the debate that began on Wednesday and lasted early into the following morning, 51 voted in favor of impeachment, with 22 voting against. There was one abstention and three absences.

While Rousseff is suspended from office, Vice President Michel Temer is the acting Brazilian president. He has already prepared the cabinet that will accompany him during the 6 months — or longer, if the Senate finds Rousseff guilty.

Call It What You Will, Torture Is Wrong

The Republican candidate for president of the United States speaks and writes approvingly of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” He is referring to a program run by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that subjected people the US detained after the September 11, 2001 attacks to what amounts to torture.

Among other practices, government agents forced detainees into painful positions for days with no sleep, poured water through their noses and mouths until they nearly asphyxiated, and chained them to the ceilings of their cells.

Brazil has its own torture problem, despite many legal advances in recent years. The tribute paid by the parliamentarian Jair Bolsonaro—at the vote on the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff—to a notorious torturer from the period of the dictatorship leaves no doubt: Brazilian politicians, too, attempt to justify what is unjustifiable.