Tag Archives: Brazil

Brazilian Women Can Learn to Yell

When I was 7, I joined the Brazilian Girl Guides. One of the basic laws of the guides was that a girl should be “courteous and delicate.” (These days they only emphasize the “courteous” part.) I remember being taught to abide by the following requirements to earn one of the guides’ coveted badges: A girl needs to know how to treat authorities, how to show deference to people, how to listen and speak at the right time and — my favorite — how to address people without yelling.

In September, I took my first classes in women’s self-defense. They definitely left some marks on me (besides the bruises). I could finally understand, in my body, the full extent of the violence and humiliation that we women in Brazil are meant to swallow during our lives, always with meekness and grace. Lowered head, slumped shoulders, stiff neck, dropped gaze: Our whole body is often shrunken and pointed inward, as if we are trying to be as small a target as possible.

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Posted by on December 14, 2017 in South America



Uncontacted People Still Being Massacred in Amazonia

Ten indigenous people – including women and children – were murdered in the Javari Valley region of the Amazon in September this year, according to reports. Their bodies were alleged to have been mutilated and dumped in a river. The attack was believed to have been carried out by gold miners, two of whom were later recorded bragging about it in a local bar.

This is not the story of some conquistadors or rubber tappers in the colonial era. This happened in 2017 – just weeks ago – in the present-day Republic of Brazil. Despite all of the apparent “progress” that humanity has made over the past few centuries, whole populations of indigenous peoples are still being systematically annihilated by land invaders and colonists.

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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in South America


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Reality TV Meets Politics, Brazilian Style

A woman weeps while sitting in a corporate board room, surrounded by a couple of frowning businessmen and floor-to-ceiling glass windows showcasing the São Paulo skyline. She’s sorry, she says, but she should have the right to make mistakes. It’s her first time on a reality TV show! And besides, all she did was mess up someone’s coffee order.João Doria, a media mogul, is unsympathetic. “Our world is the real world,” he says to the weeping woman from across the table. “It’s your world that is unreal.”Since January, a new season of reality has begun for many of us. In the United States, Donald Trump became president. Here in São Paulo, João Doria Jr. became mayor. The two men have much in common: They are conservative populists with big egos. They like to use social media to get their message out. They have both written self-help business books with uninspired titles (“The Art of the Deal” by Mr. Trump, “Lessons in Winning” by Mr. Doria).

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Posted by on October 16, 2017 in South America



Canudos, la ciudad del fin del mundo 

EL TRUENO resuena en la colina no muy lejos del ranchito y Julius Redondo (camisa sucia de tierra, machete colgando del cinturón) levanta la cabeza con asombro dentro de la casa. Dice solo una palabra:

–Chuva [lluvia].

La pronuncia con emoción y alivio. Con la entonación feliz del que espera hace mucho a alguien que aparece por fin.

Yamilson Mendes, un guía turístico de 35 años (gorra de ciclista, gafas de sol, pantalón corto), mira al viejo pastor de 85, se contagia de su optimismo y añade dos palabras más para confirmar la buena noticia:!/foto/1

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Posted by on July 28, 2017 in Reportages, South America



Operation Car Wash: The biggest corruption scandal ever? 

On 14 January 2015, police agent Newton Ishii was waiting in Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão airport to meet the midnight flight from London. His mission was simple. A former executive of Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras, was on the plane. Ishii was to arrest him as soon as he set foot in Brazil and take him for questioning by detectives.

No big deal, the veteran cop thought as he ticked off the hours in the shabby Terminal One lounge. This was just one of many anti-bribery operations he had worked on. Usually they made a few headlines, then faded away, leaving the perpetrators to carry on as if nothing had happened. There was a popular expression for this: acabou em pizza (to end up with pizza), which suggested that there was no political row that could not be settled over a meal and a few beers.

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Posted by on June 19, 2017 in South America



The Genocide of Brazil’s Indians 

On April 30, a group of ranchers armed with rifles and machetes attacked a settlement of about 400 families from the Gamela tribe, in the state of Maranhão, in northeastern Brazil. According to the Indigenous Missionary Council, an advocacy group, 22 Indians were wounded, including three children. Many were shot in the back or had their wrists chopped.Soon after the attack, the Ministry of Justice announced on its website that it would investigate “the incident between small farmers and alleged indigenous people.” (Minutes later, the word “alleged” was removed.)

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Posted by on June 10, 2017 in South America


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Will Brazilians Cancel Carnival? 

As many as 70 towns and cities around Brazil are reported to have canceled Carnival festivities this year because they are suffering from the worst recession in the country’s recent history.

The mayor of Taquari, in Rio Grande do Sul, has decided to use the money that would have gone to the celebrations to speed up the waiting line for health exams in public hospitals, as well as to fund a project for children with special needs. Last year, the city of Guaraí, in Tocantins, canceled New Year festivities to renovate two public schools, while in Porto Ferreira, a small town in São Paulo State, the local assembly voted to call off Carnival and use the money to buy a new ambulance.

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Posted by on March 4, 2017 in South America



Chaos in Brazil: More to Come?

Things are not well in Brazil. The country’s social and economic tensions are rising and seem increasingly prone to erupt into violence. For the past six days, for instance, there has been a frenzy of looting, mugging, rioting, and murder in and around Vitória, which anchors a metropolitan area of about two million and is the capital of the state of Espírito Santo, north of Rio de Janeiro. The reason for the mayhem is the absence of police officers, after Espírito Santo’s force went on strike last Saturday to demand that its pay be doubled. The police union has said that its members have not received raises in four years. Family members of the officers have joined the strike by creating human barricades around the state’s police stations.

Source: Chaos in Brazil: More to Come? – The New Yorker

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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in South America



A Same-Sex Couple Set Out to Adopt a Child. They Ended Up With Three.

When Alexandre Louzada and Francisco David decided that they wanted to adopt a child, they had only a small number of specific preferences.The couple wanted a child no older than 6 years of age. They were willing to adopt a child with chronic, treatable diseases such as diabetes or fetal alcohol syndrome, but not one with untreatable conditions — such as blindness or paralysis — which they believed themselves financially and emotionally incapable of supporting.And, unlike many prospective parents in Brazil — where a substantial portion of adopting parents only want a white child — they had no preferences when it came to race or gender. About 70 percent of the children eligible for adoption in Brazil are black or mixed race, which means that many parents who want to adopt are closed off to the possibility of taking most of the ones who need a home.

Source: A Same-Sex Couple Set Out to Adopt a Child. They Ended Up With Three.

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Posted by on February 10, 2017 in South America


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In Brazil, Major New Corruption Scandals Engulf the Faction that Impeached Dilma

A primary argument made by opponents of impeaching Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff was that removing her would immediately empower the truly corrupt politicians in Brasília – the ones who were the driving force behind her impeachment – and they would then use that power to kill ongoing corruption investigations and shield themselves from consequences for their own law-breaking. In that regard, Dilma’s impeachment was not designed to punish corruption but to protect it. The last two weeks have produced new corruption scandals that have vindicated that view beyond what even its proponents imagined was possible.

In his short time in office, Temer has already lost five ministers to scandal, but these new controversies are the most serious yet. One major scandal involves an effort in Congress – led by the very parties that impeached Dilma, with the support of some in Dilma’s party – to pass a law that vests themselves full legal amnesty for their crimes involving election financing. In late September, a bill appeared in Congress, seemingly out of nowhere, that would have retroactively protected any member of Congress from being punished for the use of so-called “caixa dois” (second box) monies in campaigns, whereby politicians receive under-the-table contributions from oligarchs and corporations that they do not declare.

Source: In Brazil, Major New Corruption Scandals Engulf the Faction that Impeached Dilma

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Posted by on December 6, 2016 in South America