Wednesday, April 25, 2018
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Mike Gatehouse

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The imprisonment of former president Lula takes place against a background which is complicated at best and murky at worst. The case against him is as follows: Lula’s wife, who died two years ago, had been eligible to purchase a $0.5 million duplex apartment in the seaside resort of Guarujá in São Paulo state, but subject to paying for an upgrade...
São Paulo, 16 April. Lula disappeared into the federal police building in Curitiba on 7 April and nobody knows when he will be seen again. Two days before, after the Supreme Court refused to grant him a habeas corpus, the PT’s presidential candidate had bunkered down at the HQ of the metalworkers union in São Bernardo, surrounded by thousands of...
In a decision as closely watched as a World Cup final, Brazil’s Supreme Court decided by 6 to 5 to reject a habeas corpus application for ex-president Lula, opening the way for his imminent arrest.  The eleven judges spent 11 hours proffering their votes in erudite, legal language peppered with Latin expressions, impossible for the man or woman in...
“The people have spoken – the bastards!” This tribute was first published by Haiti Support Group. These words were muttered by a US Embassy official at the count of the Haitian Presidential elections of 16 December 1990. This was overheard by Phillip Wearne, an investigative journalist, who stood next to him. The anger of the official was understandable. Through these elections,...
22 March 2018. Marielle Franco was executed with four bullets. One each for racism, misogyny, homophobia and impunity. By killing Marielle, the assassins eliminated not just a politician elected on the PSOL ticket to the Rio City Council with 46,000 votes, a lone black woman in the sea of white, male, wealthy politicians. They also silenced the voice of a...
Norsk Hydro’s Alunorte aluminum refining facility in Barcarena municipality, Pará state, has been accused by Brazilian authorities of contaminating the local waters of several communities with toxic waste that overflowed earlier this month from a holding basin. The firm denied the allegation, but has agreed to provide water to local residents, and is investigating. The government also accused...
Local leaders in Barcarena, Pará are in fear for their lives, following the murder on Monday 12 March of one of their leaders, 47 year-old Paulo Sérgio Almeida Nascimento. This was the second murder of a community leader in three months. Fernando Pereira was murdered on 22 December 2017. “It’s as though we are the prey and they are the...
Costa Ricans went to the voting booths on February 4 to confirm what most polls had predicted: the victory of evangelical singer Fabricio Alvarado from the religious party National Renovation (RN) with 25 per cent of the votes. His success, as expected, was down to his radical response to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ opinion on same-sex marriage. But...
Since 16 February an army general has been in charge of policing and security in the state of Rio de Janeiro.  This is the effect of a surprise decree issued by President Michel Temer, since approved by both chambers of the Brazilian Congress. This is the first time since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985 that power...
São Paulo, 15 February 2018. It’s Ash Wednesday and all that’s left of Carnival in the streets of São Paulo are rows of chemical toilets and a homeless man wearing a paper crown. Hard to believe that over the last four days these same streets were jam packed with multi-coloured crowds in their hundreds of thousands, dancing, and singing,...

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