Brazil is a major world power – in terms of size, population, and influence. Yet in many ways it is a combination of so many different and contradictory faces that it is hard for anyone, including Brazilians themselves, to know how to define Brazil’s characteristics as a nation and as a force in the world-system.
With the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics came the pretext for companies, in complicity with all three levels of government, to begin looking at the Aldea Marakaná with new eyes. Despite a growing number of violent evictions, home demolitions, sustained process of gentrification and extensive real estate speculation the Aldea Marakaná and its neighbors continue to be a symbol of resistance.
The Workers Party (PT) has not proven its ability – and in many cases not even shown a desire – to respond to the demands of social movements and diverse groups. They have not made any clear effort to enact agrarian reform, protect indigenous lands or impose stricter norms on sectors such as agribusiness or the communication oligopoly. Yet once more, the orthodox core of the Workers Party is singing the same song: “Support us unconditionally, for we are the only alternative to the threat posed by the right.”
“Today we inaugurate a new phase in bilateral relations concerning defense. With the two operative agreements, we lay out a positive agenda of advances in military and technological cooperation between the two countries,” Brazilian Defense Minister Jaques Wagner stated, after a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter at the Pentagon.
A burned house, confiscated work implements, prohibited from commercial ventures and from farming. Treated as a threat to preservation, the ribeirinhos [river-dwellers] of the Iriri River in Pará state, suffer from pressure to abandon the steep riverbanks, which are much more than just places to live, but are the places that keep them alive. Sociologist Maurício Torres reveals the contradictions in the Ministry of Environment’s position on conservation units: “They are permissive regarding the Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant, but when a river-dweller in a canoe comes along, ‘Good lord, get this monster out of here, or he’ll destroy the Amazon.'”
After it was revealed that the Pará state government had authorized forest management plans inside of the Maró Indigenous Territory, Borari and Arapium indigenous groups have been accused of being “fake Indians.” The case underscores the importance of the self-identification of indigenous communities.
The families of the 43 Ayotzinapa students travelled as the Caravana 43 to multiple cities in the United States, Canada, several countries in Europe, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil to challenge the lies often reproduced about the case and to build solidarity with social movements in their own locale.
The refusal of City Hall and a developer to negotiate with Izidro residents could cause a mega-eviction and the destruction of hundreds of houses in an area that is seven times larger than the Pinheirinho occupation, from which residents were violently evicted and massacred in 2012.
The city of Rio de Janeiro’s public safety policy figures prominently among the Brazilian government’s public agenda. It involves flooding specific areas with military police to the point of occupying state schools.
Ethnocide, the new accusation leveled against the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, brings to light deeper underlying aspects of the conflicts and controversies unleashed by megaprojects in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. Federal prosecutor Thais Santi announced that legal action would be taken “in the next few weeks” against Norte Energía, the company building the dam, on the argument that its initiatives to squelch indigenous resistance amount to ethnocide.