Brazilian military killing civilians

This video says about itself:

14 May 2018

In Brazil, a soldier killed a civilian on Saturday evening in a favela in the north of Rio de Janeiro.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Riots in Rio after civilian shot dead by military

RIOTS took place in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night after a civilian was shot in a military operation, with human rights organisations calling for an end to the killings.

A man was shot dead after he allegedly refused to stop his motorbike at a military roadblock in the north of the city, according to an army report.

His death sparked riots in Villa Militar, with buses torched and clashes with Brazilian security services.

Rio has been under military control since February after President Michel Temer’s right-wing coup administration ordered the army to move in to supposedly curb violence.

However, human rights groups and charities say that more than 200 civilians have been killed between February 16 and April 15, with two left-wing politicians among the dead, including activist Marielle Franco.

Mr Temer has been accused of targeting the poor and Brazil’s black community, with ousted former President Dilma Rouseff saying the military intervention was designed to create an enemy.

“In Brazil’s case, it is poor black people who live in periphery neighbourhoods … It’s not white people who live in Ipanema nor in Leblon”, she said.

With Lula behind bars, Brazilian democracy is still at stake: here.


Penguin saved in Brazil, comes back to thank saviour

This video, recorded in Brazil, says about itself:

1 December 2017

This is a story about Jinjing the South American Magellanic Penguin, that swims 5,000 miles each year to be reunited with the man who saved his life.

The rescued penguin was saved by João Pereira de Souza, a 73-year-old part-time fisherman, who lives in an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Joao found the tiny penguin at his local beach lying on rocks, it was covered in oil, could barely move and was close to death.

Joao cleaned the oil off the penguin‘s feathers and fed him a daily diet of fish to build his strength. He named the penguin Jinjing.

Every year the penguin leaves to the breeding grounds and then returns to Joao.

Murdered Brazilian Marielle Franco, don’t forget her

This 19 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Former Brazilian President Lula: It’s Clear Marielle Franco’s Assassination Was Premeditated

In a Democracy Now! exclusive, we spend the hour with Brazil’s former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is now running for president again. We begin our discussion with the assassination of 38-year-old Rio city councilmember and human rights activist Marielle Franco, who was killed last week.

Franco, who was a black lesbian, was known for her fierce criticism of police killings in Brazil’s impoverished favela neighborhoods. Her death comes at a pivotal moment for Brazil and the future of democracy in South America’s largest country. Just last month, President Michel Temer ordered Brazil’s military to assume control of police duties in Rio. “The only thing that she did was to work against the assassination of black people in the peripheral areas in the defense of human rights”, says Lula da Silva.

This 16 March 2018 video is called Protests in Brazil after politician Franco was shot dead | Al Jazeera English.

By Miguel Andrade in Brazil:

Mass protests in Brazil against death squad assassination of Marielle Franco

21 March 2018

The brutal execution of Rio de Janeiro city counsellor Marielle Franco on the night of Wednesday, March 14, by still unknown gunmen came as a shock for most Brazilians, but not as a surprise.

Mass spontaneous demonstrations erupted on the following night, with those participating blaming the state as the perpetrator, or at least a direct accomplice.

Franco was killed in a rain of 13 bullets in the context of the unprecedented federal takeover of Rio’s law enforcement, which on February 16 saw President Michel Temer remove the state’s law enforcement secretary and hand the Army’s Eastern Division commander, Gen. Walter Souza Braga Netto, absolute power to overrule security-related decisions by any elected official, up to and including changing internal regulations of law enforcement agencies.

The military intervention was decreed by Temer after fraudulent, hysterical claims by the corporate media of a supposed crime wave during Rio’s world-famous Carnival. Later findings by major papers, such as Folha de S. Paulo, showed that the crime rate during Carnival was actually 35 percent lower than in 2016, at the height of Brazil’s worst economic crisis in a century.

Marielle Franco, a member of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), a parliamentary split-off from the PT, was in her first term as a city councilor in Rio’s 51-member Municipal Chamber. She was elected in the 2016 municipal elections, with 46,000 votes, the fifth-largest vote for any candidate. Before that, she had served for 10 years as a parliamentary assistant to the party’s main public figure in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo Freixo, who was defeated as a mayoral candidate in the 2016 elections by the Christian chauvinist Marcelo Crivella.

Freixo’s, Franco’s and ultimately PSOL’s popularity in the city of Rio, where the party holds the second largest caucus in the municipal legislature, contrasts with its marginal role in Brazilian politics and has been cultivated chiefly through a criticism of the barbaric practices of the state’s Military Police. This criticism carries with it significant risks. Freixo was forced into a brief Spanish exile in 2011, after the city’s investigations department admitted having uncovered no less than 27 plots to murder him.

Freixo’s most prominent activity as state representative had been his heading of a 2008 state parliamentary inquiry commission (CPI) exposing police involvement with vigilante groups—known as milícias—acting mainly in impoverished working class neighborhoods in Rio’s industrial northern sector. By this point, Franco, who had been born and lived in the northern Complexo da Maré favela (shanty-town), was already working with him.

After being elected in 2016, she was tapped at the end of February to head the city legislature’s commission tasked with overseeing the federal intervention, of which she had been a known critic both as an activist and a close observer, coming home daily to Maré, where she was heading on the day of her execution.

Known as a participant in black nationalist and feminist politics—she had left a black feminist meeting in downtown Rio on the night she was killed—she had also won support among workers in the northern sector, above all for exposing police violence. Just four days before her execution, she shared on social media reports of the police killing and dumping of the bodies of two youth in the Acari favela, which was made famous last year by the death of a 13-year-old girl struck by a stray bullet while drinking water in her schoolyard.

Franco’s last social media posts replicated workers’ accounts of the reign of terror in Acari by the city’s 41st Police Battalion, which was replicating, ostensibly on its own without orders from superior officers, the individual profiling of the neighborhood’s inhabitants carried out by troops intervening in other favelas. Soldiers there have been ordered to lay siege to communities and photograph and write down information from workers’ IDs as they leave for their jobs in the morning. The 41st Battalion is the deadliest in the city, responsible for an average of 100 killings a year, and was referred to by Franco as “the death battalion.”

While law enforcement, including Brazil’s far-right intelligence chief, Sergio Westphalen Etchegoyen, have been unanimous in declaring that Franco was executed, state agents have tried to pin the blame on drug lords or milícia members, which are widely portrayed by the government and the press as rogue elements from law enforcement agencies.

The shell casings found from the bullets that killed Franco have been traced to a cache that was produced for Brazil’s Military Police.

The president of Rio’s chapter of Brazil’s Bar Association (OAB), Felipe Santa Cruz, echoed the law enforcement view after leaving a meeting with General Braga Netto, declaring to Folha de S. Paulo on March 15: “It is clear that when you shake up the structures of law enforcement you may have a reaction. Why not accept that the sector affected by these changes, the corrupt, are trying to demoralize the Brazilian state?”

He then proceeded to compare Franco’s execution to the so-called Riocentro Bombing, a botched attack on a May Day event by far-right elements in the army during the decline of Brazil’s 1964-1981 US-backed military dictatorship. The bombing was supposed to be blamed on left-wing guerrillas and offset the decline of military rule—a plot that went awry when the bomb exploded in the hands of the soldier responsible for planting it.

A far more obvious analogy would be to the death squads that operated under the dictatorship, kidnapping, torturing and murdering opponents of the military regime. The political repression carried out by the military was accompanied by a parallel activity—backed by the government and funded by businesses—by off-duty police and others to exterminate the so-called marginalized and allegedly criminal elements of the population. This latter activity has never ceased.

The line toed by Santa Cruz, generally considered by human rights activists as an “ally,” is the most convenient for the Brazilian ruling elites, which are moving rightward at an alarming pace, portraying the military intervention in Rio as the only possible defense of democracy.

While President Temer only went so far as to say, coldly, that the execution is “an attack on democracy”, intelligence chief Etchegoyen declared to the capital’s main daily, Correio Braziliense, that “our intelligence would be very stupid if it allowed an attack that weakened the intervention … it would make no sense to kill a critic of the intervention in order to weaken it.” Etchegoyen’s line is clear: the military is not willing to allow the investigation into Franco’s death to expose state agents as responsible as this would weaken the military intervention in Rio.

Whatever the findings of the investigation into Franco’s execution—and there is no reason to believe that there will be any credible ones—the political establishment will be pushed further rightward, in opposition to the fundamental social and democratic rights of the working class, and closer to dictatorship.

The commander of the Brazilian Army, General Eduardo Villas Bôas, declared to the press on February 19, three days after the beginning of the intervention, that the military would need “guarantees to act without the risk of being subjected to a truth commission in the future”, referring to the … commission that, during the administration of Workers Party President Dilma Rousseff, was tasked with trying to uncover crimes carried out under the US-backed military dictatorship.

Franco, in her capacity of heading a committee overseeing the military intervention, would conceivably have been able to provide material for such a future truth commission into the crimes by the military against the workers and poor of Rio.

While clearly serving to intimidate any opposition to the intervention and bolster the barbaric sentiments within the military, Franco’s execution is being exploited by the security forces as a justification for even greater repression. Arguing that the only possible suspects in her killing are criminals—either drug lords or corrupt state officials in the milícias trying to undermine the state, they insist that the military intervention needs to be deepened. The “war on drugs”—Latin America’s counterpart to the “war on terror”—demands even greater emergency powers for the state.

Etchegoyen had already declared as early as August 2017 that he feared “organized crime intervention in the elections”, telling that the end of corporate financing of elections—ruled upon by the Supreme Court that year—would “open the way for the organized crime to sponsor candidates”, which would mean “a clear threat to institutional security.” Their interest, according to a January 11 BBC interview with Brazil’s former drug control secretary Walter Maierovitch, would be backing candidates who would “cut deals to reduce police repression in some areas.”

Thus, military violence will be accompanied by a massive state propaganda campaign associating political opposition with the most venal interests—the standard accusation leveled against Franco by Brazil’s far-right. This was clearly shown with the allegations made by MBL—the main organizers of the right-wing demonstrations in favor of former Workers Party president Dilma Rousseff’s 2016 impeachment—claiming that Franco was a friend of Marcinho VP, a drug lord, and her execution had been part of a gang war.

This 19 March 2018 video is called Exclusive: Brazilian Presidential Candidate Lula on Facing Jail as He Runs for President Again.

This 19 March 2018 video is called Brazil’s Former President Lula on U.S. Intervention in Latin America & 15th Anniv. of Iraq Invasion. It says about itself:

We continue our conversation with former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The former union leader co-founded Brazil’s Workers’ Party and served as president from 2003 to 2010. During that time, he helped lift tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty. As he runs for president again, we discuss the 15th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and U.S. interference in Latin America.

We demand justice for Marielle Franco. MATT WILLGRESS introduces an open letter by No Coup in Brazil in protest at the murder of a Brazilian rights activist.

HUGE banners covered iconic Rio landmarks and walls were spray-painted with “Fight like a Marielle” on Saturday morning before thousands marched to demand the truth over Marielle Franco’s murder: here.

Brazil not forgetting murdered Marielle Franco

This video says about itself:

20 March 2018

As Brazil prepares for more mass demonstrations in memory of Marielle Franco, and protests continue around the world, we speak to David Miranda, a close friend of the murdered activist, and like her, a member of Rio’s City Council and fellow LGBT activist.

Brazilian human rights activist Marielle Franco murdered

This video says about itself:

The Assassination of Human Rights Activist Marielle Franco Was a Huge Loss for the World

17 March 2018

Marielle Franco was at the center of the movement against police violence in Brazil. She was, for all intents and purposes, a leader of the country’s parallel to the U.S. Black Lives Matter movement.

“When the lives of black women become important, the world will be transformed.”

See also here.

Protests Held Across Brazil After Rio Councillor Shot Dead: here. And here.

Brazil: Media Trying to Whitewash and Exploit Marielle Franco’s Political Radicalism: here.

African-Brazilian lesbian leftist Marielle Franco murdered

This video says about itself:

Marielle Franco, A Brave Voice Assassinated

15 March 2018

This 15 March 2018 video is called Brazilian Rights Activist Marielle Franco Assassinated.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Brazilians mourn murdered politician Marielle Franco
In several Brazilian cities, people went out into the streets to commemorate the murdered politician Marielle Franco. In Rio de Janeiro alone, tens of thousands of people were marching.

The 38-year-old Marielle Franco was a councilor in Rio. She was shot along with her driver on Wednesday in the center of the city.

The car they were in was fired at nine times from another car. Franco and the driver were instantly dead. A press officer who was also in the car was injured.

Political revenge

Franco was very popular in Brazil because she stood up for, among other causes, women’s rights and minorities. When she was shot at, she just returned from a meeting where people talked about the position of black women. …

She had been a city council member for the socialist party since 2016. Last month she was appointed chairwoman of a committee on the police deployment in the favelas [shantytowns] of Rio. She also grew up in one of the favelas.


Last month the Brazilian army took over the leadership of the police in Rio de Janeiro to stop the drug violence in the state. President Temer signed a decree for this. Franco was a fierce opponent of the measure.

According to her, the army had to be deployed not only against drug gangs but also against militias in the poor parts of Rio. The militias mainly consist of former soldiers and former police officers.

They are accused of intimidating the population in the fight against drug gangs. They are said to receive help from the army and the police. Franco brought the abuses to light.

A day before she was killed, Franco still tweeted about the violence in the Brazilian slums: “How many more people should die before this war ends?”

This video says about itself (translated from Brazilian Portuguese):

Marielle Franco’s vigil is marked by protests and tributes in Rio

Rio de Janeiro, March 15 (EFE). (Video by Reinaldo Amorim) – Thousands of people have called for justice and have cried out against the barbarism of violence on Thursday in an emotional tribute to PSOL [socialist party] council member and activist Marielle Franco, who was murdered the night before in downtown Rio de Janeiro. The bodies of Marielle and her accompanying driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, were greeted by a crowd in the town hall, in the Cinelandia neighborhood, with shouts of “Marielle presente” and “Stop the military police” at the vigil.

People rally in Rio de Janeiro in memory of murdered councillor Mariella Franco Photo: Leo Correa/AP Photo