Source: TeleSur English
December 2, 2019
Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales gestures next to former Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linares, in Mexico City, Mexico November 26, 2019. | Photo: Reuters
The President confirmed that he will be “where he serves more” to the Bolivian people and their political party, whether in asylum in Mexico or imprisoned in Bolivia.
The democratically elected President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, said Sunday that he would value the option of being imprisoned in Bolivia, if that action helps the Bolivian people, who suffer from a climate of anxiety and instability after the coup d’etat driven by the right of the South American country.
“For the Bolivian people, for the political instrument, for the MAS , do I serve more as an asylum in Mexico or imprisoned in Bolivia? I will be where I serve more. Here or imprisoned in Bolivia. I was imprisoned and I am not afraid of that,” Morales said.
During an interview with the Argentinian publication Page 12, the Bolivian President said he has “a deep internal debate about what to do.” Morales, who is blocked from running in the upcoming elections, will influence the election of the presidential binomial of the Movement To Socialism (MAS).
In recent days, and after the announcement by the right-wing competitors, the political and electoral strategy of the party has been organized, so it participates via teleconference and maintains long telephone sessions of debate, discussion and planning with leaders of the nine departments.
For the President, the binomial that represents the MAS must be able to “represent the humble”, as well as have “social conscience and capacity of public management and ideological formation”.
“I have learned that. The important thing is to continue with the process of change and move forward with the industrialization of our natural resources,” President Morales said.
President Morales said that “another Bolivia is possible”, without the “blackmail and conditioning of the IMF and the World Bank”, while confirming that during his administration “there have been small errors.” ”
“We are wrong, we are human. And the mistakes were not due to personal ambitions,” Morales said, while considering that in his government they managed to reduce “poverty and inequality” and brought “growth and stability” to the nation.
Source: Moorbeyz’ blog Haiti Action Committee
December 15 2018
This is an unofficial translation by Haiti Action Committee
There is a grave crisis in contemporary Haitian society, in which the masses of our people are opposing an oligarchy determined to perpetuate a system of exclusion.
There have been many bumps in the road since February, 1986, when our people overthrew the Duvalier regime. Several coups d’etat have occurred, with the most damaging to the population having taken place in 1991 and 2004. Despite continued battering by the repressive and ideological machine, the more conscious and militant sectors of the population have stood firm; their resistance has been constant despite periods of setback.
At the present time, we are witnessing a general awakening of national consciousness. In addition to the population rising up to insist on better living conditions, with demands coming from many different sectors, including workers, peasants, educators, and students, the scandal involving the embezzling of the Petro-Caribe funds has provoked a big upsurge in mobilization against corruption and impunity. As so often occurs throughout history, the Petro-Caribe scandal has raised the awareness of the overwhelming majority about the unjust economic and political system, revealing the cause-and-effect relationship between this system and the sufferings of the Haitian people. Large masses of the population have come to understand with greater clarity and intensity the urgent necessity to take their destiny in their own hands.
As usually occurs during periods of dynamic struggle such as the present, the oligarchy is fractured. Attempting to maintain the status quo, it is faced with internal contradictions regarding the strategy that would allow it to save “the system”—a sham institutional “democracy” set within a framework of an economic and social regime based on glaring inequalities, a stranglehold on political power that excludes the popular masses, and the pillage of national resources.
Fanmi Lavalas Political Organization is always closely tuned in to the various sectors of the population, and our conclusion is obvious: it is time for the political class to muster the courage to initiate a profound change in the paradigm and structures of governance that characterize the present system. This is a necessity that has a wide consensus as manifested by the ever-growing magnitude of anti-government mobilization that we are witnessing today. It is imperative that we respect the people’s aspirations for progress and for a just society. It is paramount that we stand in solidarity with the people’s protests demanding a new form of state. The nation deserves a new system that is more in harmony with the dreams of our founders, a new vision of the Republic
rooted in Justice, Transparency and Participation.
The population is rejecting the usurpers who have derived their power from the fraudulent elections and who have discredited themselves with multiple scandals involving corruption and impunity. Our people are facing savage repression that continues to create victims among the disadvantaged masses, and that is heightening the insecurity that is poisoning daily life for the majority. Fanmi Lavalas Political Organization continues to stand firmly with the Haitian people to “chavire chodyè a” (overturn the cauldron). No cosmetic solution will bring an effective and lasting solution to the crisis in which we are plunged.This system has run its course. It cannot be patched up. It must be changed.
No cosmetic solution will bring an effective and lasting solution to the crisis in which we are plunged. This system has run its course. It cannot be patched up. It must be changed.
“Chavire chodyè a” (Overturn the cauldron) means that we consider this moment to be exceptional. The deterioration of the political situation, the degradation of the economy and public finances, the failure of the state and its institutions, the lack of legitimacy and the absence of credibility at all levels of the state apparatus, make illusory if not impossible an end to the crisis by so-called constitutional means. The conditions for a new beginning that will put the country back on track, in keeping with the demands of the overwhelming majority, require an exceptional approach. For Fanmi Lavalas this includes:
1) Obtain the resignation of Jovenel Moise through a general mobilization
2) Resignation of Jean Henry Ceant and all his ministers
3) Assess the dysfunction and lapses in the Parliament
4) Put in place an executive and a government of public safety to ensure a transition for a period of 36 months.
This transition government will consist of credible personalities, engaged in the struggle against exclusion and corruption, who share a vision of a new method of governance. Among the priorities to be included:
The transition aims to implement fundamental reforms that would allow a democratic process and would make possible free, honest and credible elections. The transition must restore confidence between the people and the state. In this light the demands of the popular masses must be taken into account on all issues. True to its commitment to social justice and participation, Fanmi Lavalas will play its role alongside the population in continuing to promote the dialogue that is indispensable among the sons and daughters of the same land.
Executive Committee of Fanmi Lavalas
Dr. Maryse Narcisse
M. Joël Vorbe
Dr. Jean Myrto Julien
Agr. Anthony Dessources
September 4 2017
Protesters in Washington, D.C. | Photo: Twitter / MaryKayHenry
by Ramzy Baroud
“My tooth is killing me, but I can’t afford to go to a dentist. I’m skipping meals so my sons can eat. And I’m worrying all the time,” said Bettie Douglas.
Over 300 cities joined the protests
Workers across the United States have walked off their jobs this Labor Day as non-unionized minimum wage workers join the “Fight for $15” to raise the nation’s minimum wage to match the cost of living.
Over 300 cities joined the protests, with workers’ strikes beginning at 6 a.m. in cities like Boston, Richmond, Chicago, New Orleans, Milwaukee, and San Diego, among others, to protest the country’s US$7.25 federal minimum wage.
Protesters targeted both McDonald’s as well as the American Hospital Association.
“You know, a lot of these people out here today are living in poverty and they’re tired of it, and they want some respect on their checks,” long-time fast-food worker, Jacqueline Short said. “They want $15 an hour and we’re out here because we believe that we will get it, we believe we will win, as long as we continue to fight.”
Minimum-wage workers are fighting back, calling on representatives to act in defense of people who have struggled to manage households on minimum wage amid the rise in inflation and the cost of living.
Forced to skip meals
“My tooth is killing me, but I can’t afford to go to a dentist. I’m skipping meals so my sons can eat. And I’m worrying all the time,” said Bettie Douglas.
“The minimum wage has always separated my family — we’ve either been at work or at school,” explained McDonald’s worker, Sabreal Ealem, to Gambit. “We rarely see each other. The minimum wage is separating families — not just mine,” she said.
Statistics show in Boston, a median household income has only grown an annual 0.5 percent since 1979, while the cost of living has continued to climb in the New England city.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 about 45 percent of the 2.6 million working at hourly wages at or below the federal minimum were older than 24 years, while 23.3 percent were aged 25 to 34, both figures remaining constant over the past decade.
“The number one job of politicians is to raise the standard of living for workers,” Fight for $15’s call to action reads on the movement’s site.
To match the varied cost of living throughout the country, 29 states across the U.S. have raised their minimum wages from anywhere between US$3-US$8, with California State Governor Brown increasing its minimum wage to US$15 an hour by 2022.
The Fight for $15 began in 2012 when 200 fast-food workers walked away from their stations in protest of the low wages and lack of union representation.
December 14 2016
By: Tortilla Con Sal
Meeting of the ALBA Bloc in 2016 | Photo: AVN
The ALBA countries outperformed the wealthiest countries in the region during the world’s most serious economic crisis in nearly a century.
Continuing their ancient war on the world’s impoverished majority, Western elites, having bled dry their own countries’ economies, are now fighting once more to entrench their local allies in power across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Argentina has lost over 130,000 jobs under Macri’s right wing regime
In under a year, Argentina under its right-wing regime has lost over 130,000 jobs and inflation-adjusted wages have dropped by 10 percent. Very soon Brazil will certainly be reporting even worse relative numbers. The same criminal Brazilian elite that overthrew President Dilma Rousseff have now got their corrupt proxies in the country’s legislature to make any increase in social spending, health or education impossible for 20 years.
This is a sentence of hardship and death for millions of impoverished people in Brazil. In both Brazil and Argentina, illegitimate neoliberal regimes have decided to follow the example of the U.S. and the European Union, rendering their countries’ economies easier prey for global vampire elites.
Foreign elites and their local clients deepening neocolonialism
But across Latin America and the Caribbean, people are fighting to stop foreign elites and their local clients from reinstating and deepening neocolonialism to compensate for falling profits in the West. The latest wave of conquistadors fly in business class, wear debonair suits and blather finance-speak while wielding smartphones and devices instead of swords and pistols.
Western politicians and media outlets
But the nitty gritty of conquest remains the same — extortion from the nation-victims; a small cut for the local oligarchy; and repression for the impoverished majority. That is why Western politicians and media outlets support right-wing regimes in the region while attacking the governments of the main ALBA countries — Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela.
ALBA’s success stories
Those countries’ governments have reduced poverty and inequality massively, putting to shame much wealthier countries under neoliberal regimes. The ALBA countries have demonstrated the superiority and resilience of their socialist-inspired social and economic models, despite every assault from the West and its corrupt local proxies.
To illustrate the performance of the ALBA countries relative to other countries in the region, the following table highlights the countries that increased their per capita Gross Domestic Product by 75 percent or more between 2006 and 2014.
Special circumstances may or may not apply to Guyana, Peru, Panama and Suriname, but the underperformance of the wealthiest countries in the region is clear. The ALBA countries outperformed them during the world’s most serious economic crisis in nearly a century.
Greater equality in ALBA countries
One completely damning statistic is that in the Human Development Index, Cuba ranks above Colombia, Mexico and Peru, level with Brazil and Costa Rica. Another striking feature of the statistics for the ALBA countries is the clear trend towards greater equality, with Cuba again leading the way.
All these numbers are worth noting at a time when ALBA members Ecuador and Bolivia are recovering from the negative effects of volatile global prices for their oil and gas. Ecuador’s case is compounded by the dollarization of the economy inherited from earlier right-wing governments.
Ecuador’s smart policies
But despite those difficulties and this year’s devastating earthquake, Ecuador’s smart policies of economic resistance will enable the government to defeat future political challenges from the country’s right wing. In Venezuela, the government has just presented a budget for 2017 far less dependent on oil revenues. This means the right-wing’s economic sabotage, supported by the United States, has failed to destroy President Nicolas Maduro’s social spending and investment plans.
Poverty reduction in the Dominican Republic
The U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean predicts higher growth for Bolivia relative to the rest of the region and also Nicaragua, as well as the Dominican Republic and Panama. The Dominican Republic has reduced poverty with socially inclusive policies and help from Venezuela’s Petrocaribe program.
Panama, a notorious tax haven and financial enclave, is enjoying the benefits of the recent enlargement of its canal, but the socially constructive benefits of that are far from clear. In Bolivia’s case, a big problem is that it may lose as much as US$2 billion from a probable drop in exports to Argentina and Brazil. Even so, Bolivia’s model of community-based social and economic production is much better able to defend the country from potential shocks than the right-wing zombie policies applied in Argentina and Brazil.
Nicaragua’s consistent growth
Like Bolivia, Nicaragua’s economy has grown at about 4.5 percent a year since 2010, markedly and consistently more than its neighbors. Its economic model stresses economic democratization across all sectors of the country’s economy, again like Bolivia, including the so-called informal sector.
Seventy percent of Nicaragua’s labor force either work independently, in small businesses or on small farms. The country is virtually self-sufficient in food production. At the same time, President Daniel Ortega, a leader of the Sandinistas, has greatly diversified the country’s trade and investment partners cutting across ideological differences in a way similar to the win-win style promoted by China.
Reflecting on all of this information makes it clear that under current conditions governments have little choice but to respect macroeconomic equilibrium. Bolivia and Nicaragua have reactivated their domestic markets by deliberately increasing consumption by the impoverished majority, promoting social stability which in turn has encouraged investment.
ALBA countries prioritize economic democratization
All the ALBA countries prioritize economic democratization as decisively important, through measures like nationalizing natural resources and land; programs of preferential credit, especially for low-income women; defense of food sovereignty; and recognition of the informal economy.
Obviously, progressive political forces have to promote a socially constructive society for the majority, abandoning economic structures and practices designed and managed to enrich brutally ruthless elites.
A focus on economic growth is practically meaningless without redistributive policies to reduce inequality. It can hide an appropriate perception of specific national needs and opportunities; the correct appraisal of timing; and also the likely local risks in social and environmental contexts. The ALBA countries have demonstrated convincingly that equitable, rational development of productive forces is both a precondition and a result in the process of a social and economic order capable of superseding capitalism.
Tortilla con Sal is an anti-imperialist collective based in Nicaragua producing information in various media on national, regional and international affairs. In Nicaragua, we work closely with grassroots community organizations and cooperatives. We strongly support the policies of sovereign national development and regional integration based on peace and solidarity promoted by the member countries of ALBA.
September 24 2016
“The biggest threat to democracy is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few,” said the former Uruguayan president.
Pepe Mujica became president of Uruguay in 2010. | Photo: Reuters
Former President of Uruguay Jose Mujica said Latin America was the richest and at the same time the most unjust region in the world, and that all democracies should seek to end economic injustice, remarks that came during the third annual Latin American Summit of Progressive Movements in Ecuador on Wednesday.
“The biggest threat to democracy is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, and therefore the concentration of power,” Mujica told an audience in the coastal city of Guayaquil.
If you like money
Lenin Moreno, former vice president of Ecuador and the U.N.’s Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, greeted Mujica and recalled one of his most important sayings: “If you like money, don’t go into politics. Keep making money, for that is not the fruit of politics.”
WATCH: Mujica Breaks with Almagro over Criticism of Venezuela
Equality, not charity
According to “Pepe” Mujica, to achieve a socialist vision of an ideal society, governments need to fight for equality, not charity.
“We live in the most unequal and unjust continent in the world,” said Mujica, now an Uruguayan senator. “We have so many debts to our people.”
Without unity, we lose our strength
Mujica said that people can’t live in an idealistic world, since there is a deep economic inequality in the region, and cited the example of the Mexican billionaire businessman Carlos Slim.
“The richest man in the world is from this continent. He would have to live 250 years, spending US$1 million a day, to spend it all,” said Mujica.
Mujica said leftist parties and governments should not let the right-wing destroy everything for which they have fought.
“Inequality is the enemy of democracy,” said Mujica. Mujica called on progressive movements to find unity, since “without unity, we lose our strength.”
September 6 2016
“Today, the Federal Senate has made a decision which shall go down as one of history’s great injustices…61 senators replaced the choice of 54.5 million votes”
Today, the Federal Senate has made a decision which shall go down as one of history’s great injustices. The senators who voted for the impeachment have chosen to tear the Brazilian Constitution apart. They have decided to interrupt the mandate of a president who did not commit a responsibility crime. They have condemned an innocent person and executed a parliamentary coup. (Photo: EFE)
Now that I have been removed from office, politicians who are desperately looking to escape justice will rise to power with those who have been defeated in the past elections. They are not coming to power on direct popular vote, as Lula and I did in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. They are taking it over on a coup d’etat.
This is the second coup that I have faced in my life. The first, a military coup, supported by the brutality of weapons, repression, and torture, struck me when I was young. The second, a parliamentary coup which was completed today by means of a judicial farce, removes me from an office publicly elected by the Brazilian people.
61 senators replaced the choice of 54.5 million votes
This was an undisputed indirect election, in which 61 senators replaced the choice of 54.5 million votes. It was a fraud, which we are going to appeal on every possible instance.
It is shocking that the greatest effort against corruption in Brazilian history, which has been made possible by actions and laws created after 2003 — further developed in my government — is helping a group of corrupt politicians to power.
The national, progressive, inclusive and democratic project which I represent is being interrupted by a powerful conservative, reactionary force, with the support of a partisan, venal press. They are going to seize the institutions of the State and have them serve the most radical economical liberalism and social regression.
This coup will affect every progressive, democratic political organization
They have just overthrown the first female president of Brazil, with no constitutional justification for this impeachment. But the coup was not only against me or my party. That was just the beginning. This coup will indistinctly affect every progressive, democratic political organization.
The coup is against social and union movements and against those who fight for their rights in every sense of the word: the right to work and to protect labor laws, the right to fair retirement, the right to housing and land, the right to education, to health, to culture, the rights of young people in making their own future, the rights of black people, of indigenous people, of LGBT people, of women, the right to express oneself with no repression.
The coup is against the people and against the nation. This coup is misogynistic. The coup is homophobic. The coup is racist. It is the imposition of a culture of intolerance, of prejudice, of violence.
I ask Brazilians to listen to me. I speak to more than 54 million Brazilians who voted for me in 2014. I speak to the 110 million Brazilians who approved direct election as the legitimate way to choose their presidents.
Stopped being invisible
I speak mainly to Brazilians who, during my government, overcame poverty, who made the dream of owning a home come true, who started getting medical care, who went to University and stopped being invisible to the eyes of the nation, earning their long denied rights.
The disbelief and the sadness we feel at times like these are very bad influences. Don’t give up the fight.
Listen closely: they believe they have defeated us, but they are wrong. I know all of us will fight. They will face the most solid, tireless, and energetic opposition that a coup government can have.
Biggest reduction of social inequalities
When President Lula was elected for the first time, in 2003, we came to power singing that no one should be afraid of being happy. For 13 years, we have successfully carried out a project that promoted the greatest levels of social inclusion and the biggest reduction of social inequalities in Brazilian history.
The story will not end like this. I am certain that the interruption of this story through a coup is not final. We are coming back. We are coming back to continue our journey towards this Brazil where the people come first.
I hope we can find ways to unite ourselves for causes which are common to every progressive person, regardless of party affiliation or political stance. I propose that, together, we fight against backwardness, against the conservative agenda, against the elimination of rights, for national sovereignty and for the full reestablishment of democracy.
Leaving with dignity
I leave the Presidency as I came: without having made any illicit act, without having betrayed any of my commitments, with dignity, and carrying in my heart the same love and admiration I always had for Brazilians, and the same urge to keep fighting for Brazil.
I lived my truth. I gave my best. I didn’t run away from my responsibilities. I was moved emotionally by human suffering. I was touched by the fight against poverty and hunger. And I fought against social inequalities.
I had some good fights. I lost some, I won many of them, and, right now, I’m inspired by Darcy Ribeiro to say that I don’t want to be in the place of those who believe themselves victorious. History will be merciless against them.
To the Brazilian women, who covered me with flowers and affection, I ask them to believe they can. Future generations of Brazilian women will know that the first time that a woman became president in our country, sexism and misogyny reared their ugly faces. We have built a one-way road towards gender equality. Nothing is going to take us back.
In this moment, I will not say goodbye to you. I am sure I can say “I’ll see you soon.”
I will close now, sharing these beautiful words of encouragement from Russian poet Mayakovsky:
“We are not happy, that’s true
But what is the reason for us to be sad?
The sea of history is turbulent
Threats and wars, we will cross them
Break them apart
We’ll cut through them like a keel”
A warm hug to the Brazilian people, who share with me the belief in democracy and the dream of justice.
Thursday, September 1, 2016.
(Taken from medium.com)
September 2 2016
According to the local Observatory for Social Debt, some 1.4 million people have newly become poor since the beginning of the conservative government’s term.
Demonstrators want to see an end to President Macri’s neoliberal policies that have resulted in mass layoffs and spikes in the cost of living.
Thousands of workers and activists take part in the Great Federal March in the city of Santa Fe, Argentina, September 1, 2016. | Photo: CTA
Thousands of Argentines representing labor unions, political parties and social movements will descend on the capital of Buenos Aires Friday in the culmination of a massive mobilization against the right-wing policies of President Mauricio Macri in what has been called the Great Federal March.
Strike by teachers
The protest began Wednesday with a strike by teachers and rallies have taken place throughout the country, covering five main routes from various cities headed toward Buenos Aires.
Demonstrators will converge on the capital, where they are expected to be joined by thousands more demonstrators.
Mass layoffs, dramatic utility price hikes
The protest seeks to put an end to mass layoffs, dramatic utility price hikes, and other neoliberal policies implemented by Macri.
The nationwide demonstration is modeled on a 1994 action in which tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into Buenos Aires to protest the abrupt shift to neoliberal macroeconomic policies engineered by then-President Carlos Menem.
Rising poverty and inequality
“Every day there are more poor people, every day there is more hunger, every day there are more workers who lose their jobs,” said Hugo Yasky, head of the more than 1.4 million-strong Central Workers’ Union, during a rally in Cordoba on Thursday.
“The adjustment is defeated in the street, in unity, fighting, building resistance every day,” added Yasky.
The national action comes as human rights organizations and social movements have raised alarm over rising poverty and inequality amid an ongoing wave of mass layoffs that has caused over 179,000 people to lose their jobs in both the public and private sectors since Macri took office in December.
According to the local Observatory for Social Debt, some 1.4 million people have newly become poor since the beginning of the conservative government’s term.
August 30 2016
Aymara women stand at a fair held on the side of the Cholita fashion show at Villa Esperanza. | Photo: Reuters
Bolivia’s rapid economic transformation
Bolivia’s economy is on course to grow by 5 percent this year, placing it among the top performers in Latin America. It’s a sign of Bolivia’s rapid economic transformation in South America. Another indicator is falling poverty rates. When Evo Morales took office in 2006 the rate of extreme poverty was 38.2 percent. In 2016, that figure is now 16.8 percent.
“More than 2 million people have left extreme poverty,” says Deputy Minister of Budget and Fiscal Accounting, Jaime Durán. A decade ago Bolivia was considered Latin America’s poorest country “Our economy was compared with African nations and not with those of the region,” claimed Durán.
World Bank: Bolivia is a world champion in revenue growth for the poor
A recent World Bank report confirmed that Bolivia is a world champion in revenue growth for the poorest 40 percent of its population. “It is one of the most important legacies of this this government,” said Minister Duran in a press briefing.
Many residents of District 5 in El Alto have left extreme poverty. | Photo: teleSUR
Communities like District 5, in the city of El Alto near La Paz, are slowly beginning to reap the benefits of Bolivia’s commodities boom. “Twenty-five years ago, when I started working here, there were no paved roads, no sports centers and no parks,” said community representative Fanny Nina.
Council Representative Fanny Nina says there have been huge improvements in the past decade. | Photo: teleSUR
While poverty and crime are still problems, “there have also been many improvements that have benefited my friends and neighbors,” Nina said. The residents of this small, remote town have access to better infrastructure, schools and potable water. “But we still have to fight the council for everything and we always need more.”
Extreme poverty has not been eradicated completely in District 5, but local representatives like Fanny are determined to make people’s lives better.
Every year we see more changes for the better
The community still has its fair share of social problems, but “every year we see more changes for the better,” one resident told teleSUR as we accompanied Fanny Nina on one of her weekly walkabouts. Cholitas are still selling on the streets, but now they sell alone while their children attend school. “This used to be the exception, not the rule,” Fanny told me in between dealing with the demands of her constituents.
Bolivia’s socialist government has ambitious plans to bring even more people out of extreme poverty. Low-income residents like those in District 5 are the main targets. “By 2020, we will reduce extreme poverty to 9.5 percent,” President Evo Morales has said.
In 2005, the richest 10 percent of the population had 128 times the wealth of the poorest 10 percent. In 2015, this gap was reduced to 37 times.
The government expects moderate poverty to drop to 24 percent and the inequality of income between the richest and the poorest to decrease to 25 times over the next five years. “There is a strong emphasis on industrialization and in building a society where not only poverty is eradicated, but where we also see social changes,” Bolivia’s Minister for Development René Orellana, said.
Source: Black Women of Brazil
March 16 2016
Protest against president again features nearly all-white upper-middle class displays of racism, desire to protect status and putting ‘have nots’ back in their place
Note from BW of Brazil: Once again, another protest and once again Brazil shows how divided it is really is along lines of race and class. Just for the sake of context, if you haven’t already heard from your favorite mainstream news source, millions of Brazilians took to the streets on Sunday in another display of self-serving outrage involving the severe economic crisis that has gripped the country for the past year, corruption charges dealing with the so-called ‘Lava Jato’ scandal and calls for the end of 14 years of the PT (Workers’ Party) rule. But was this all that was at play or were there some other issues that people won’t openly admit?
Sometimes it’s very revealing to just sit back and analyze the photos that come out of such displays even without the captions. Take the photo below for example. It encapsulates perfectly what many people feel about the true meanings of these protests. What makes the photo so intriguing is the fact that the meme on the top of the photo actually circulated around social networks during the protests against Dilma in March of 2015. The point of the meme sums up Brazil almost perfectly in terms of race and class. The upper middle class white woman protesting and calling for “justice for Brazil” as her black nanny pushes her children around in the baby carriage. So many things could be said about the meme. Reminiscent of slavery era, as well as modern Brazil where black women were/are believed to be treated like “one of the family”.White feminists who tell black women that all women are oppressed but absolutely not understanding her own privilege as white.
The meme’s relevance was brought home in yesterday’s protest when a photographer captured a scene that portrayed the meme almost perfectly! White upper-middle class couple, black nanny, twin babies in a baby stroller. Nothing wrong with that, right? I mean, at least she’s got a job! Other photos also hint at the reality of race in Brazil. The overwhelming whiteness of the crowds. The ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ division of the country. Moreblackface and the added ‘bonus’ of making a mockery of lynchings, not funny considering the ongoing Brazilian obsession with both! The calls for the endaffirmative action and social welfare policies such as Bolsa Família that have made a university education attainable for thousands of Afro-Brazilians and helped lift millions out of abject poverty respectively (1).
Some of my favorite signs of the whole thing were those that read “I want my country back” (Eu quero meu país de volta). I mean, back from what? The slavery era? TheMilitary Dictatorship? (strangely enough, there were those calling for a military coup). I mean, Brazil has been corrupt for decades, centuries…one could even argue that its been corrupt since its very founding. But at the same time, one has to marvel at the depths of denial that so many of these protesters must be living in. As we’ve seen examples in numerous previous posts, how else can you explain this?
Where were the black people during the protests on Avenida Paulista?
The racism of the middle class who speaks rudely against corruption, but accepts prejudice and simulates black lynchings
By Maria Carolina Trevisan
Among the thousands of people who stormed Avenida Paulista on Sunday (3/13), there were almost no black people. Just like what happened a year ago, the vast majority of blacks who were at the heart of São Paulo – and other Brazilian cities – were working. They were nannies or the street vendors (or Military Police). This picture deals with reproducing the subordinate position of this segment of Brazilian society, from slavery to today.
Among the demands for honesty, there were zero signs asking for equal rights, quotas or labor conquests of maids. On the contrary, what was seen on Avenida Paulista was representing the desire of the upper middle class and the white elite of Brazil to maintain their privileges. The manifestation is for social justice just like the casa grande (big house) is to the senzala (slave quarters). Identical and blatant.
“This march is not only against Dilma and in favor of impeachment. It is also against human rights and social achievements,” defines the business administrator and black educator Antonio Nascimento, activist of Human Rights in Bahia.
“FOR ME, THESE MARCHES WERE AGAINST THE POSSIBILITY OF A MORE FAIR COUNTRY, BUT FAKING MORALITY,” said Nascimento.
Under the curtain of fighting corruption, which arises is the desire of an elite and middle class Brazilian defending their own interests. No wonder the acts took place Sunday in prime locations of cities: the edge of the Rio’s south zone, Avenida Paulista, the Farol da Barra, in Salvador (Bahia), or Praça da Liberdade, in Belo Horizonte. “The elite saw in this government the sustenance of their privileges being threatened. It is not concerned with morality or honesty because they always coexisted with dishonest governments.”
But the demonstrations went far beyond and let this desire come out. What was seen in some places were explicit scenes of racism: a man pintado de preto (“blackface”, a slave theater movement that aimed to ridicule the black population) (2) simulated a “Forca da Inconfidência”.(3)
Ladies, gentlemen and white children posed next to that representation, smiling and without wavering; in another scene, a white man holding a poster in which President Dilma, in blackface, imitating the black comedian Mussum with the words “Dilma Rouseffis, só no forévis” (only up the ass); and finally, dozens of scenes of black nannies pushing strollers of white babies with their bosses in front of them.
“I think that the majority of people don’t realize what is at stake,” says sociologist Marcia Lima, a professor of “racial inequalities” at the University of São Paulo (USP). “Brazil has changed. We have a conservative reaction to the achievements of this group [black people],” explains Marcia.
“Zero Hora: Study about the profile of protesters – Is this the face of Brazil?”: In Porto Alegre, the capital city of Rio Grande do Sul. 76% voted for President Dilma Rousseff’s opponent Aécio Neves in the 2014 election. 73% have no unemployed workers in their family. 40% receive more than 10 minimum salaries per month. 8% of protesters were black people. 91% were white people.
The black population is no longer a minority in Brazil. Since 2011, more than half of Brazilians are black (pretos – blacks and pardos – browns, according to IBGE), currently corresponding to 53.6% of the total population of Brazil. This means that over 110 million people were not reflected in the pro-impeachment actions. “I walked two hours in the demonstration. There were no poor people or blacks,” noted the lawyer Eliane Dias, manager of Racionais MCs rap group.
“IT’S A CLASS STRUGGLE IN WHICH BLACKS ARE NOT WELL-LIKED. BECAUSE OF THIS, IT’S A GREAT CONTRADICTION TO SPEAK ABOUT JUSTICE IN THE MANIFESTATIONS”, says Eliane.
In fact, in order to talk about democracy, we must refer to the whole society. “It’s very irresponsible, for example, to simulate the hanging of a black man on Paulista. I saw several families there giggling about it,” says Eliane. For her, a similar violence is taking a black nanny for this context. “It’s a humiliation. You put a black woman there, on a Sunday, in a place where there are no blacks…This represents submission,” she notes.
In such regard to racial issues in the country responsible for the largest and longest slavery in the world, nothing has changed in one year. The protests of March 2015 already showed how the advocated of impeachment are white. This scenario makes the verses of the Racionais MCs increasingly compelling and current:
“THIS IS THE BRAZIL THAT THEY WANT TO EXIST: EVOLVED AND BEAUTIFUL, BUT WITHOUT BLACKS IN PROMINENT ROLES,” – Racionais MC’s in “Voz Ativa”