Tag Archives: Brazil

Brazil Feature | Black, Brown & Indigenous

The Uncertain Task of Defining Race in Brazilian Affirmative Action

The redress of racial injustice in Brazil, long stymied by the country’s reputation as a “racial democracy,” has gained increasing political attention thanks to the work of black activists across the nation. Brazil’s recent attempts to install socioeconomic and racial quotas in public university admissions have created a number of challenges as fraud and race-policing have pitted student against student in ensuring fair enforcement, particularly as verification committees decide race based on appearance rather than heritage. Foreign Policy and The Globe and Mail examine the volatile debates surrounding Brazil’s new affirmative action policies and the general uneasiness the country has experienced as it has begun to address the long history of discrimination against its black, brown, and indigenous citizens.

Read

Brazil’s New Problem With Blackness” (Foreign Policy | April 2017)

Black or white? In Brazil, a panel will decide for you” (The Globe and Mail | January 2017)

(Image Credit: Tiago Mazza Chiaravalloti/NurPhoto, via Foreign Policy)

Brazil News | Indigenous

Budget cuts and proposed land rights and environmental rollbacks threaten indigenous communities in Brazil
  • Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI), the government agency responsible for the protection of indigenous communities, faces large budget cuts under President Michel Temer’s government that advocates say could increase the insecurity of indigenous groups, particularly of the more than 100 uncontacted groups in the country.
  • A draft decree seeks to increase the level of scrutiny applied in the demarcation of indigenous land reservations, annulling certain previously secured land rights and making the recognition of new claims considerably more difficult.
  • A proposed bill seeks to overhaul environmental licensing protocol, shifting from federally managed licensing procedures to flexible, state-based determinations of licensing necessity for agricultural and land-use projects.

Read more:
Temer government set to overthrow Brazil’s environmental agenda” (Mongabay)
Brazil’s plan to roll back environment laws draws fire: ‘The danger is real’” (The Guardian)
Brazil budget cuts put uncontacted Amazon tribe at risk, say activists” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Ricardo Stuckert/The Guardian)

Brazil News | LGBT

Brazil sees sharp uptick in violence against its LGBT community
  • Nearly 1,600 LGBT people have been murdered in the last four-and-a-half years according to one advocacy group.
  • Despite Brazil’s reputation for tolerance, a growing evangelical population steadily amassing political power has led a conservative backlash to the country’s progressive legal integration and protection of sexual and gender minorities.
  • The homicide spike follows a general uptick in violence in Brazil, which has seen a 15% increase in homicides over the last year as the country has slid into recession.

Read more:
Brazil Is Confronting an Epidemic of Anti-Gay Violence” (The New York Times)
An LGBT Person Is Murdered Every 28 Hours In Brazil” (The Huffington Post)
We Need to Talk About Anti-LGBT Violence in Brazil” (The Advocate)

(Image Credit: Lalo de Almeida/The New York Times)

Global Events: Black Lives Matter Protests

Black Lives Matter Globally

As a series of controversial shootings of African-American men by police has renewed attention to the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., people around the world have stood in solidarity with black Americans seeking to root out racial profiling, excessive use of force, and lack of accountability in U.S. law enforcement. For some, the demonstrations have been defined mostly by a kind of international allyism, but in many parts of the world, the American movement has prompted reflection on the treatment of local black communities—native, historical, and immigrant—by law enforcement, politicians, and broader society. Here is a look at the global demonstrations and solidarity movements in the name of Black Lives Matter: Continue reading Global Events: Black Lives Matter Protests

Brazil News | Women

Gang rape of 16-year-old sparks protests in Brazil
  • The case garnered international attention when a video went up on Twitter showing more than 30 men participating in the rape of the girl, apparently unconscious, in a Rio favela.
  • The crime was exacerbated by a slow, victim-antagonistic police response and a flood of misogynistic messages on social media.
  • Thousands marched in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in protest of high levels of gender-based violence in the country, with upwards of 10% of Brazilian women reporting cases of sexual violence along and a larger number of unreported cases.

Read more:
Brazil and Argentina unite in protest against culture of sexual violence” (The Guardian)
Massive Protests in Brazil After a Girl Was Blamed for Being Gang-Raped in Rio” (VICE News)
Gender violence protests in São Paulo” (The Buenos Aires Herald)

(Image Credit: Xinhua/Barcroft Images, via The Guardian)

May Day || Global

Global May Day 2016

One of the few truly global holidays, International Workers’ Day (May Day) is both a worldwide celebration of the working classes as well as a day to draw attention to ongoing insecurities workers around the world face. May Day has historically had a twofold purpose: a day for workers to voice their concerns over contentious labor policies and for governments to reaffirm their commitments to workers’ rights and just labor practices. At times little more than public relations campaigns and at others violent clashes between governments and workers, global May Day events have highlighted the diverse relationships between labor, employers, and government around the world. Here are the highlights of May Day 2016 in more than 30 countries:


Asia Pacific

Bike rallies were held in Pune as Indian PM Narendra Modi saluted workers on Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas, a public holiday. Pakistan‘s major labor unions convened in Lahore to speak out against poor working conditions, violations of international labor conventions, and ongoing privatization in the country. As Bangladeshi officials addressed labor relations and welfare reforms amidst a day of union-organized programming, in Kathmandu, Nepali workers marched while awaiting the ratification of the Labour Act, which guarantees greater social security for workers. Across the Indian Ocean, Australian union leader singled out penalty rate protection and tax reform as major Labour Day issues, with the date of the holiday having been a point of contention as well.

Throughout East Asia, workers rallied to draw attention to labor conditions and call for reforms, from ending contractualization in the Philippines to protecting job security in South KoreaHong Kong saw thousands take to the streets to demand fair and standardized working hours along with a universal pension program. In Malaysia, PM Najib Razak took the day to announce an increase in the national minimum wage and an insurance scheme proposal.

Europe & Eurasia

In cities across France, tens of thousands marched in protest against proposed labor reforms that would loosen the country’s controversial employment and job security policies. Jeremy Corbyn became the first U.K. Labour party  leader to attend a May Day rally in a half-century when he spoke to a crowd of thousands in London, reaffirming solidarity against anti-immigrant sentiment and addressing anti-Semitism accusations that have plagued his party recently. Spain saw thousands across its cities gather, many protesting ongoing austerity measures. An estimated 800,000 gathered in Rome‘s San Giovanni Square, with this year’s event dedicated to slain Italian student Giulio Regeni.

Some 2,000 convened in rain-soaked Zagreb to hear labor leaders protest the increased retirement age and ongoing poverty in Croatia. Moscow hosted a mass demonstration in the city’s Red Square estimated in size from the tens of thousands to 100,000, while thousands gathered in Istanbul’s Bakirköy district under a heavy police presence in the wake of urban suicide attacks and ongoing violence across Turkey.

The Americas

From New York to Los Angeles, demonstrations in the U.S. highlighted widening economic inequality in the country and an election season marred by racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic sentiment. While most protests took place without incident, a peaceful march turned violent in Seattle, leading to five injured officers and nine arrests. A similar outbreak in Montreal led to one injury and 10 arrests.

In Latin America, Brazil‘s embattled president and Workers’ Party leader Dilma Roussef rallied alongside hundreds of thousands across the country as her impeachment proceedings continue and workers fear the inauguration of her center-right vice president. Cuba‘s May Day parade continued the national tradition of expressing support for the Castro regime rather than directly celebrating labor or expressing concerns over labor conditions. In Argentina, President Mauricio Macro backed employers and touted labor proposals that had spurred mass demonstrations only days before. Elsewhere in the region, minimum wage increases were announced in Venezuela and Bolivia and a march took place in Santiago as Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced a review of her labor reforms after the Supreme Court rejected a key provision granting exclusive negotiating rights to unions.

Middle East & Africa

Police in Egypt blocked hundreds of workers from assembling in a Cairo office as labor leaders and international organizations called for the government to decriminalize independent union organization. In Israel, more than 5,000 youth marched in Tel Aviv, while a Palestinian trade union renewed its call for the establishment of a minimum wage and the dismantlement of the Gaza blockade. A government-sponsored event in Dubai reportedly drew nearly 200 workers, though labor practices in the UAE continue to draw international scrutiny.

South of the Sahara, events popped up across South Africa as politicians sought to address the country’s high unemployment rate and appeal to workers ahead of August elections. In Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari spoke to thousands of workers in Abuja, touting his anti-corruption campaign. A Mozambique labor leader addressed a crowd in Maputo about the debts of state-owned companies and the need for wage and workplace reform. As the decline of oil prices has created economic hardship throughout Angola, the country’s two labor unions marched to draw attention to deteriorating worker conditions and the need for infrastructure maintenance. Workers in Ghana protested the privatization of the management of the state-owned Electric Company of Ghana, while the government insisted the company was still run by the state. Meanwhile, Ethiopia sidestepped Sunday commemorations altogether by moving May Day to May 3, when labor leaders plan to highlight ongoing struggles to organize Ethiopian workers.

Brazil News | Farmers & Indigenous

Increasing violence plagues Brazilian land rights activists
  • After 50 died in 2015, at least six activists were killed in the first two months of 2016 as land rights groups report increased intimidation, criminalization, and violence committed against them.
  • Activists have sought reform to protect the at times conflicting land rights of small farmers and indigenous communities, particularly in rural states.
  • Brazil has some of the highest land-proprietary inequality in the world, with 1% of the population owning nearly 50% of the land and single families subject to payments from as many as tens of thousands of property owners thanks to a colonial-era law.

Read more:
Brazil land activists facing ‘increased intimidation’ with six killings in 2016” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
Indigenous Continue to Face Violence in Reclaiming Territory in Brazil” (Indian Country Today)
Journalist survives shooting at his home in northwestern Brazil” (Journalism in the Americas)

Additional reading:
For Brazil’s 1 Percenters, The Land Stays In The Family Forever” (NPR, August 2015)