Belo Monte – Documentary

Belo Monte – Announcement of a War/Anúncio de uma Guerra

“This is an independent documentary made during 3 expeditions at the Xingu River, Altamira, Brasília and São Paulo. It presents very serious facts about Belo Monte dam, the biggest and most polemical construction going on in Brazil today.

The editing and finalization of the movie were crowdfunded by 3.429 people in the Catarse website.”

How far will Cabral’s Military Police go?

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(after molotov was thrown, likely by undercover police, aka “P2″)

“The cravings of Sergio Cabral, governor of Rio de Janeiro, of making his successor in the State government and contemplating that part of the population that applauds BOPE when they gun-down drug traffickers in Complexo do Alemão is taking Rio de Janeiro along a dangerous road. Cabral’s recent acts and declarations have revealed a despotic facet of the governor and, apparently, serve as a licence for the Military Police to expand the authoritarianism they employ in the favelas to the wealthiest neighborhoods of the Fluminense capital.

After last week’s riot in Leblon, the most expensive per square meter in Brazil, Cabral diagnosed the vandalism problem in Rio de Janeiro in the same way as Arab dictators — placing the blame on “international organizations”. As it happens in the Middle East, attributing the violence to the foreigner isn’t a simple diagnostic error. It’s a device to exempt their own government from any responsibility for what’s occurring.

In the same speech, given last Friday, Cabral promised an “answer to society”. The answer came via the Special Commission of Investigation of Acts of Vandalism in Public Manifestations (CEIV, in Portuguese). The so-called CEIV was created on the 19th of July, by way of the decree 44.302, published in the Diário Oficial of the State on Monday, the 22nd. The text that the commission created (here in its entirety, in PDF) has alarming authoritarian contours (not to mention it’s illegal, PT).

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In Article 3, Cabral determines that all “solicitations and determinations of the CEIV” have “absolute priority” above any other request sent to public or private bodies. In a single paragraph, Cabral obligates telephone companies and ISPs to follow requests by the CEIV in a “maximum timeframe of 24 hours”. It’s not clear if questions like the Pope’s security or a problem in a hospital, for example, will be put to the side in detriment of combating vandalism, or if the telephone/Internet companies have the right to appeal the CEIV’s orders.

More worrying is Article 2 of the commission’s creation. According to the decree, the CEIV can “take all actions necessary to carry out the investigation of acts of vandalism, and may request information, conduct investigations and perform any acts necessary to the conduct of criminal proceedings for the purpose of punishing wrongful acts under public demonstrations.” This text, as Bernardo Santoro on his blog Instituto Liberal reminded us, opens it up to anything, through not being clear on what “all necessary actions” means. Can the CEIV declare prison sentences, do illegal wiretapping and torture suspects, for example?

In the best of hypothesis, the text is a disaster provoked by haste and by the lack of knowledge of those who wrote it. In the worst, it’s a reflection of the climate, inflated by the government of Rio, of “anything goes against vandalism”.

Reflections of the climate have been observed. On Friday, the newspaper O Globo published an interview with the sociologist Paulo Baía, in which he commented on the riot in Leblon. “The police saw crime occurring and didn’t act. The message of the police was the following: now I’m going to give a smack-down on everyone”, said Baía. On that very Friday, the sociologist suffered a lightning kidnapping in the Aterro do Flamengo. “In the car, they passed along the message and nothing else. They said I shouldn’t give any other interviews like todays at O Globo and to not say anything else about the Military Police, because, if I did, it would be the last interview I’d give in my life”, said Baía.” – Carta Capital (PT, more here)

Mayor supports AfroReggae

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“I’m an optimist. Time and again, despite my age, I still have flashes of utopic hope of a more dignified life for the Carioca.

One of these rare moments from last weekend.

What happened was the following: the State Government considers that some favelas in Rio are pacified. Without a trace of the old drug traffickers or militia that, in fact, governed the communities. Among them are the favelas that make up the Complexo do Alemão. Cabral — and his Secretary of Safety — consider the region “pacified”, free from the truculence of traffickers. A sad untruth. In spite of the existing UPP in Alemão, the NGO AfroReggae received orders from the traffickers to close out their activities at the community center there, which benefited 350 children, with art workshops at the principal activity.

While the State Government kept mum on the announcement that the NGO would stop operating in the favela, the mayor Eduardo Paes personally went to the location and said the Mayor’s Office would assume all of AfroReggae’s activities, with an attitude that I would define as “macho”. He personally confronted the orders of the traffickers. And even donated some land to Renê Silva, responsible for the newspaper Voz da Comunidade, to rebuild the new headquarters. The old one was located in the AfroReggae building and was burned down in an act that until now is considered criminal by the NGO’s directors.

Paes was also elegant. He said the pacification process of Alemão wouldn’t reverse, an affirmation that should have been made by those responsible for the security of the State, or rather, the governor. It was a way he found that wouldn’t leave Cabral in an uncomfortable situation.

“Paes’ political bravado” is what the political adversaries of the Mayor’s Office, of which I include myself, might say. It may be. But he fulfilled a role that’s of an authority: he went to the place of conflict and invoked the power given him. If he is going to manage to keep this attitude or not, we will see in the next few weeks.

The quick action of Eduardo Paes as a constituted authority imposing itself is encouraging. Leaving his office to show his face in a conflict zone should be common in a democracy. Paes inaugurated the posture of a statesman of Rio. One point for him.” – CartaCapital (PT)

Hacker reportedly helped politicians change votes

Apparently, this is news from late last year, but it’s still being reported (but not mentioned in large newspapers). One issue with the veracity of this report is something I read about votes being printed, and voters and political parties being able to request the printed numbers from the voting location at any point. 

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“At a seminar  last year titled “Is the voting machine reliable?”, which took place at SEAERJ (Society of Engineers and Architects of Rio de Janeiro), a young hacker of 19 years of age, identified merely as Rangle, for security reasons, revealed how he defrauded elections in Rio de Janeiro.

Rangel showed how, via illegal and privileged access to Rio de Janeiro’s Electorial Justice intranet – under the telecommunications company Oi – intercepted data from the totaling system and, after delaying the sending of this data to its destination, he altered the results, benefiting some candidates in detriment of others.

According to Amilcar Brunazzo, a specialist engineer on the subject, in spite of this, no activity was detected by the official system.

“We get on the Electorical Justice’s network when the results are being transmitted for totaling and after 50% of the data has been transmitted, we act. We modify the results even when the totalization is ready to be closed”, explained Rangel in general terms. The information, as reported, ended up shocking critics and specialists towards the fragilities of the system.

The hacker declared that he didn’t act alone, participating in a group that utilized privileged information relative to the Oi system, altering the results before they were registered by the TRE – the Regional Electorial Tribunal. Rangel is under police protection and has already given his statement to the Federal Police.

He also denounced the deputy Paulo de Melo (PMDB), then-president of the ALERJ – Legislative Assembly of the State of Rio de Janeiro – as one of the beneficiaries.

For Fernando Peregrino, a coordinator of the seminar, despite many complaints, the police in general don’t focus on them for the very reason that electronic voting in Brazil represents the cornerstone of democracy in the country.

At the same seminar, Dr. Maria Aparecida Cortiz told of monitoring difficulties created by the Electoral Justice themselves, which would act to snuff out scandals of fraud. She also discussed, among other things, cases of fraud in Bahia, Maranhão, Londrina (PR), and in Guadalupe (PI). The meeting will be transformed into a book, and also give rise to a documentary on the subject, and new meetings.” – Source (PT)

The Pernambucan Revolution

This is a cross-post from Eyes On Recife.

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“The Pernambucan Revolution, also known as the Revolution of the Priests (due to the participation of the heroic monk, Frei Caneca), was an emancipation movement that emerged on March 6th, 1817, in what was known at the time as the Province of Pernambuco. Among the causes for wanting freedom from Portuguese rule, the main ones were: the regional economic crisis, the Portuguese monarchical absolutism and the influence of the Enlightenment ideas, propagated by the masonic societies.” [1]

Their Own Republic

“For 74 days, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Paraíba and Rio Grande so Norte were a republic with their own government, army, navy, constitution, flag and even ambassadors abroad. This short period enforced the recently promulgated Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, one of the French Revolution’s defining documents. And the flag that was used in the most important libertarian war of the then-republic is the same that Pernambuco uses today” (minus two of the stars). [2]

Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 7.27.23 PM(the republic flag that inspired the current flag)

“On March 29th, a constituent assembly was convened, with elected representatives from all the counties (now known as states), establishing the separation of Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers; catholicism was maintained as the official religion (however there was freedom of religion); freedom of the press was proclaimed (a new idea for Brazil); some taxes were abolished; slavery was kept alive.

As the fervor of discussions and revolt against Portuguese oppression increased, Pernambucan patriotism also increased, to the point of using cachaça (instead of wine) in church and a wafer made of manioc (instead of wheat), as a way of marking their identity.” [3]

American Aid?

In May of 1817, Antônio Gonçalves Cruz landed in Philadelphia with 800,000 dollars in his bags. His mission was three-fold: to obtain arms to fight Dom João’s army, to convince the US government to support a Brazilian republic in the Northeast, and to recruit some ex-French revolutionaries living in the US to go to Brazil, make a plan to free Napoleon from jail and bring him to Pernambuco to lead their revolt. They agreed but arrived in Pernambuco too late, the revolution was ending. [4]

The End

The fight came to an end when the revolutionaries started finding it hard to fight such a powerful enemy, especially one that was slowly surrounding them. The other “counties” (Alagoas, Ceará, Rio Grando do Norte, etc) started to back off and revoke their support and the Pernambucan supporters started in-fighting due to disagreements on the topic of slavery. In the end, what remained was a single idea, that the Portuguese crown could never again be certain of its strength, loyalty and effectiveness in the Americas.

The 1958 São Paulo Protests

In addition to my São Paulo protests post, I translated this article from Estadão’s archives.

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“At the end of November 1958, residents of São Paulo went to sleep with one bus fare and woke up with another. At the end of that day the city went to sleep with four protesters dead, dozens wounded and 150 vehicles destroyed. The bus riders only found out about the readjustment when they found, on the morning of the 30th, announcements on the windshields of the buses and trolleys with the new fare on it. With the increase in the still of the night, the bus fares went from Cr$ 3.50 to Cr$ 5.00, and the trolleys went from Cr$ 2.50 to Cr$ 3.00 (the monetary note of the time was the cruzeiro, with the symbol Cr$). Aware of the possible reactions, the mayor Adhemar de Barros sent armed police to many of the city’s bus stops. On the days of the protests, Barros was in Rio de Janeiro.

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The first reaction by the population was to complain. But at 10:30am news started to arrive about the first bus and trolley paralyzations by students which went throughout the day. The students of the Liceu Pasteur school stopped a trolley on its last stop in Vila and the other was stopped by students of Mackenzie University on Rua Maria Antonia. During the whole of the morning and afternoon the protests were peaceful. To prove it, Mackenzie students set up a chess table in front of a stopped trolley car.

But the paralyzations took a turn during the evening, when there was more need of public transport. The students had already blocked the buses from making their rounds on Avenida São João. At the same time the shop owners were closing their doors, someone shattered the windows of the Olido movie theater. In several parts of the city the protesters emptied the buses, in others, like at the 14 Bis plaza, the fare inspectors of the now-extinct Metropolitana de Transportes Coletivos Company (CMTC) instructed the bus drivers to go back to their garages.

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With the bus stops more and more overcrowded with people, the Civil Guards were sent to disperse the protesters and to free up the circulation of the vehicles at the Praça da Sé and the Praça Clóvis, the two busiest terminals at the time. The soldiers carried with them, aside from real ammunition, blanks and smoke bombs. When the troops from the Guard Battalion and the Cavalry arrived, around 6pm, they were greeted with sticks and stones by the protesters and they couldn’t stop the buses from being destroyed and put on fire. At 9pm, without being able to disperse the crowd, the troops received orders to shoot rounds into the air. The result was 4 dead, three by bullets, and dozens wounded and arrested.

To clear out downtown, the Mayor’s Office had trucks from the Mogiana Company, from the Department of Water and Sewage and the Department of Highways, to transport people free of cost.

Authorities. Only at 9pm, when the movement had dominated the city, did the authorities meet at the Campos Elísios Palace. At the meeting was the governor Carvalho Pinto, chief of staff Quintanilha Ribeiro, and the Secretary of Justice, Pedroso Horta. On the way out of the meeting, on a televised interview, Horta justified the increase with a reminder that one of Adhemar de Barros’ campaign promises was to get  the CMTC finances back on track. And one of these measures would be by increasing the bus fares.

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On the following day, the paralyzations and the police repression continued. This time it was in front of the Prates Palace, the then-seat of the House of Representatives in the D. Pedro II Park. The protesters went there to demand the lowering of the fares. The councilman Monteiro de Carvalho got up on the hood of a car and explained that the issue of fares was the City Hall’s responsibility. The crowd was dispersed around 7pm with the “blows of police batons on their heads”, according to what the Estado newspaper.

Scrapped. The CMTC with 12,000 employees in financial crisis was scrapped, the fleet wasn’t renewed and they weren’t even able to import parts and accessories for the broken buses. In 1957, with a fleet of 1,333 diesel buses, only 821 actually worked. The company also had 110 electric buses and 210 trolleys that hadn’t been taken off their routes due to the incapability to substitute the fleet.” – Source (PT)

For more on the protests in English, go here.

Police violence at São Paulo protests

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The following is an article from Folha which I translated (and added photos, videos and links to).

On Thursday (13th), the police detained at least 235 people on the fourth day of protests against the increase of public transport fares in downtown São Paulo. Of these “suspects”, 198 were taken to the Jardins PD and another 37 to the Liberdade PD. According to the police, in total, 231 were processed and released by the next morning. The four remaining continue imprisoned, without bail, for “forming a gang”. However, the mayor Fernando Haddad said Thursday’s manifestations against bus, metro and train fares were marked by police violence where 7 Folha journalists were also injured (PT).

“Tuesday was marked by protestor violence. Today, unfortunately, there’s no doubt that it was the police that were violent.” He said that on Friday (14th) he’ll be evaluating the measures he’ll take to try to contain the escalation of violence at the protests.

PROTESTS

This is the fourth protest against bus fares in the last week. People started to join together around 4pm, when there was already a strong police presence, which included the closing of the Chá overpass and the frisking of by-passers, near the São Paulo Mayor’s Office. Even before the start of the demonstration, there were already 30 people detained. Among them was the Carta Capital reporter, Piero Locatelli.

The confrontation started when the MPs tried to stop close to 5,000 protesters from continuing the demonstration via Consolação Street, in the direction of Paulista Avenue. With it came tear gas and rubber bullets being dispersed against the crowd which threw rocks and other objects in return.

Some of the tear gas bombs launched by the police ended up in a gas station near Caio Prado Street, while the smoke from the bombs formed a cloud that made the parked cars along the street disappear.

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(a couple beaten just for having beer at a bar)

NEGOTIATIONS

On Wednesday (12th), the São Paulo Prosecutors’ Office met up with the MPL (Free Pass Movement) protestors — organizers of the protests — and promised to set a meeting with the governor and the mayor to negotiate a 45-day suspension of the new hike to R$3.20. Before the increase, the bus, metro and train fare was R$3.

Today, the governor Geraldo Alckmin rejected the possibility of suspending the increase. The Mayor’s Office still hasn’t said if it will accept the proposal either.

“As far as reducing the fare, there’s no way”, said the governor, who was in Santos with the Public Safety Secretary, Fernando Grella, to inaugrate a police station and to announce investments in public safety in the region. “The readjustment was less than the inflation, on the trains, metro and the buses”, said Alckmin.

The Mayor also said he won’t reduce the bus fare. He reaffirmed that the increase of 20 cents was less than the inflation and that he has met his campaign promises.” – Folha (PT)

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CopaFifa = 33 Billion
Olympics = 26 Billion
Corruption = 50 Billion
Min. Wage = 678 Reais
And you still think it’s because of 20 cents???

source

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Two short interviews (PT) with two of the movement’s organizers. In the second, Caio Martins says, “when a demonstration is repressed, an organized act becomes disorganized.”

And what they’re showing on the news (PT),

Here’s what’s happening in Rio (PT) in regards to the increase there.

(Meanwhile, in the US, a 20 cent increase wouldn’t make us protest, but we’re totally fine with losing all our privacy)

For a Safer Brazil

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In late June of 2012, the Brazilian Federal government, in conjunction with the State government of Alagoas, launched the Safer Brazil Program (Programa Brasil Mais Seguro) which aimed at lowering violent crime rates in the country. For the pilot program, the Northeastern state of Alagoas was chosen due to the extremely high rates of homicide there. The government’s own data showed a 420% increase in the murder rate over a period of three decades, arriving at 60 homicides per 100 thousand residents.

The program looked at three actionable areas for improvement: the investigation of violent crimes; an increase in patrolling and community outreach; and gun control. Within one month of it kicking off, positive results were already starting to come in.

With an initial investment of R$25 million by the Federal government, earmarked specifically for Alagoas, the local and State police were able to get new equipment, receive more advanced training and install fixed, as well as mobile, video-monitoring bases. The State government, for its part, created job openings with both the civil and military police, opened a new department to deal specifically with homicides and provided bonuses to officers that apprehended weapons.

In just 6 months, Brasil Mais Seguro was able to lower the homicide rate by a whopping 20% (the largest drop in history, country-wide) in Alagoas, and increased the identification of criminals (which found that 80% of them already had rap sheets).

In addition to the main program, a sub-initiative has been launched under it, called Juventude Viva. The new plan is “geared towards youth aged 15 to 29, and hopes to reduce vunerability and deconstruct the culture of violence associated the age range, preventing violence and offering opportunities for social development.”

And if that’s not enough, in light of the sucess of Brasil Mais Seguro, it has also been enacted in the nearby state of Paraíba, with neighboring Rio Grande do Norte just recently following suit (PT).

Political parties want to create 410 new cities

If politicians can’t get rich on creating more states, why not create more cities? As one Globo commenter says, “Os Municípios são os oásis da corrupção no País.”

Seventeen years after a constitutional amendment had removed the states’ power to decide about (municipal) emancipations, a companion bill, to be voted on in the House of Representatives on the 4th of June, may return atonomy to the Legislative Assemblies to create new cities. A Globo survey on the Legistlative Assemblies of the 26 states shows that if the door is opened again, the country could create up to 410 new cities, bringing the number of Brazilian cities to nearly 6,000 - today, that number is at 5,570.

Considering that municipalities with up to eight thousand inhabitants created between 2001 and 2010 – on proceedings that were  reviewed in the Supreme Court – have an annual budget of around R$20 million each, the expense of these 410 cities could reach R$8 billion a year, since there would be a redistribution of funds from the main source of financing of these towns, which is the Municipalities Participation Fund (FPM).

The National Front  for Support of the Creation of New Municipalities, which claims to have the support of 350 parliamentarians from different parties, admits that there is already a strong movement in the Assemblies to create at least 250 cities, and calculates that 180 can be expected, in fact, to be emancipated. But Congressman José Augusto Maia, author of the bill PLC 2008/416, denies that there will be a new spree along the lines of what happened before the Constitutional Amendment 1996/15, in which the emergence of new municipalities became subordinate to Congress.

- We made an overall substitute that improves, and gives a lot more rigid criteria for, the creation of new municipalities, taking into account the number of the population and the economic feasibility of each one, such as the creation of employment and income.

With the project approved, it will be up to each locality to summon the people to vote in the referendum, and decide whether they want to create the new municipality.

The FIRJAN Municipal Development Index (IFDM), launched by the Rio de Janeiro Federation of Industries, composed of information from the Ministries of Labor, Education and Health, showed that, in 58 municipalities created between 2001 and 2010, there were 31,000 new governmental positions opened, and a flow of federal funds that totaled R$1.3 billion in the last five years in transfers from the Municipalities Participation Fund (FPM).

All this investment, however, was not reverted in improving social indicators for most of these cities. According to IFDM, and published by Globo last January, 45% of 58 emancipated municipalities reported a worsening performance over the last decade.

- The creation of new cities depends on costs, yes. Creating new municipalities does not necessarily mean new revenue. It will subtract from existing resources, and be distributed between these administrations. That is, the division will be greater – said the manager of economic studies of FIRJAN, William Ransom. – To solve this, the Union has to increase the transfers and, therefore, will have to have tax increases. I am in favor of there being better technical criteria in the creation of these municipalities, and not like the process that we have seen in the past.

Projects will be filtered, says Congressman

Asked if the creation of new municipalities may cost the taxpayer, in terms of a property tax increase (IPTU) and the Service Tax (ISS), for example, Maia says the criteria for the projects are clear and that only municipalities that meet strict rules will move forward. The creation of expenses may also make the attending of the population with basic, quality services more difficult.

- The state departments of economic development will be responsible for an economic feasibility study which depends on revenue collection specific to each municipality. Those who do not meet the requirements will be out. There will be no spree – Maia assured.

But for Congressman Chico Alencar, the spree for the creation of municipalities will once more become law if the bill is passed. He criticizes the conduct of the bill in the House.

- The urgency of the project has a clear intention to favor the election next year. The halls of Congress were taken over by likely candidates of these new municipalities. We are not against the creation of new administrative units, but you need to have a larger discussion on the subject. We want clearer rules – said Chico Alencar.

The President of the Confederation of Municipalities, Paulo Ziulkoski, praises the idea, but sees risks:

- The approval of the law is important. The best indicators of Brazil are in small municipalities. The creation of new cities in recent years has contributed to this. Brazil has room for the creation of these new units, mostly in the far North. The problem is that these new municipalities can not be created with state structure, ie, with hundreds of departments, and high expenses.

To professor Luiz Roque Kleringer, an expert in public administration at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, emancipation improves the residents’ quality of life, especially in small towns. – Source (PT)