Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Two Brazils

Itaunas beach, Brazil

1. Warren Buffett has made $100 million by betting on the rise of the Brazilian real against the dollar.

Money has been pouring into Brazil, and the Brazilian stock market has risen more over the past year than that of any other major country.

Brazil has oil, iron ore and soya beans; it also has growing high-tech industries, including aviation.

Brazil's president, Lula da Silva, has encouraged foreign investment and also made attempts to help the poor. (A wide gap remains between the ‘two Brazils’)


2. Crime, corruption and poverty remain problems.

The people of the favelas (slums) are seen as a threat to the rich elite. Military strategies have been used against the poor.

In July 1993, in Rio de Janeiro, military police killed seven street children and one young adult as they slept on the steps of the Candelária church.

In August 1993, military police killed 21 residents of the Rio favela of Vigário Geral.

YouTube - Rio - Candelaria Massacre - Brazil

In a report issued to mark the 10th anniversary of two massacres, Amnesty International said that little had changed in the city.

In the first six months of 2003, 621 civilians were killed by the Rio police.

According to Amnesty International, politicians in Rio repeatedly made public statements which support police killing as a necessary part of crime control. (Brazilian policeman jailed for massacre )


3. On 11 March 2008, Kevin Capé, in The Register-Guard, wrote that A wide gap remains between the ‘two Brazils’

A resident of Ipanema in Rio is quoted as saying:

“The problem is that the bandidos have become both more violent and more omnipresent. A few years ago, most of the violence was confined to the favelas (slums). Occasionally, gangs made forays into more prosperous areas, but if you handed over your car keys or money, they left you alone. Now, they kill you for fun.”

250 policemen stormed the favela of São Carlos on 4 March 2008. They were backed by two rocket-­firing helicopters. The drugs gangs reportedly have weapons capable of downing a helicopter.

Reportedly, the government gave out 7,000 credit cards to top civil servants to make their expenses more transparent. The top civil servants went on a spending spree. ( A wide gap remains between the ‘two Brazils’)

4. President Lula is making efforts to improve the favelas (slums). (Brazilian president launches development projects in Rio's favelas)

5. Raúl Zibechi , on 13 February 2008, wrote about The Militarization of the World's Urban Peripheries :

Urban peripheries in Third World countries have become war zones where states attempt to maintain order based on the establishment of a sort of 'sanitary cordon' to keep the poor isolated from 'normal' society.

"Army sources confirmed that techniques employed in the occupation of the Morro da Providéncia favela [slum] are the ones Brazilian soldiers use in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti."1

This admission by Brazilian armed forces largely explains the interest of Lula da Silva's government in keeping that country's troops on the Caribbean island: to test, in the poor neighborhoods of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, containment strategies designed for application in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and other large cities.


1 comment:

Dave Allison said...

When a seaman on an ore ship in 1970? I was in Brazil and lived in the Barrio for a week.
The children made paper flowers and there was no electricity but the people showed an astounding happiness.
I know things will be very tough for them but they will survive - are survivors when the upper classes fall apart.........

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