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Brazil Inside Out

6 May  2014


Dear LAB supporter and friend,

New LAB publication: Brazil Inside Out

We’re proud to announce the launch of LAB’s new book, Brazil Inside Out. It is a long-overdue updating and reworking of our highly successful Brazil In Focus, and the first in a new series of country guides. Written for us by Jan Rocha and Francis McDonagh, it includes chapters on Brazil’s culture, history, politics, environment and, of course, its football, along with handy hints about what to visit, what to eat and essential Portuguese terms (including, of course, caipirinha and gooooooooool!). It’s not a conventional guidebook but a look at the real Brazil, which shows why this vast country is as it is and what makes it tick. We have details of the book, how to order it and information about the launch events.  The e-book version is available now, and the print version from May 29 (note: discounts for early purchases!), although you can pre-order now. (Read more)

Brazil’s troubles

Fearful of protests disrupting the Cup, Brazil’s PT government has begun to rely increasingly on Força Nacional, which was established as a co-operative mutual-aid programme between states but, thanks to a sneaky constitutional amendment, has now become a new national security force answerable to the President and her ministers. Is this Brazil’s Praetorian Guard, asks LAB Partner A Pública? (Read more) A similar analysis is provided by Uruguayan commentator Raul Zibechi, who examines how security preparations for the World Cup have locked in repressive legislation and institutions. (Read more)

The seeming inability of the PT government to assume its human rights responsibilities is documented by LAB partner Conectas, which examines the plight of Haitian migrants who arrived in the northern town of Acre and were then dispersed, in often appalling conditions of destitution, to other cities (Read more).

Thoughts about the government’s increasingly authoritarian approach to protest also disturb sociologist Fábio Candotti, from the Federal University of the Amazon, who asks whether some of the oppressive use of public order legislation and policing amount to ‘suffering some of the typical consequences of a [military] coup, without actually experiencing one’. (Read more). For those unfortunate enough to be arrested, whether for protest or common crime, consignment to one of Brazilian prisons is a daunting fate, especially in Maranhão. (Read more). Even the much-publicised UPP favela pacification programme seems to be stalling, as promised social reforms are delayed and police violence provokes violent response. (Read more).

Another troubling, though as yet incipient, phenomenon  is the growing confidence of the country’s far right, which nourishes a strong nostalgia for the days of military dictatorship. LAB correspondent Tom Gatehouse wonders whether frustration with the shortcomings of democracy and the corruption of its politicians will fuel this trend. (Read more). In an earlier post on LAB’s Latin America Inside Out (LAIO) blog, Tom had asked whether, as the World Cup approaches, Brazil is ready for another year of protest. (Read more)

Meanwhile, LAB partner ComBate Racismo Ambiental describes the development of their blog and its contributions to struggles against steel-giant ArcelorMittal, and its endeavours to support Tenharim tribespeople in the southern Amazon region. (Read more)

Concerns about the country’s frail and threatened environment and the use of GM crops are mounting steadily. Now there are fears about the release into the wild of a GM mosquito, supposed to provide a solution to the epidemic of dengue fever. The mayor of Jacobina in the state of Bahia, where the mosquito was first released, as now declared a state of emergency, although it is not yet clear whether the mosquito is to blame (Read more).

In other news

Cuba & Colombia: LAB editor Nick Caistor has an exclusive interview with the Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura (Read more), and has written a beautiful obituary of Gabriel García Márquez (Read more).


LAB welcomes another new Brazilian partner, Associação de Apoio a Criança em Risco, who work with children at risk in the São Paulo satellite town Diadema. Their profile can be accessed here. Any organisation wishing to become a LAB partner can do so (it’s free) by completing a profile questionnaire (in English, Spanish, Portuguese or French) here. LAB partners can contribute articles which we publish on our website. (See those recently from Conectas, A Pública, Combate Racismo Ambiental, and  COHA).

LAB: funding our work

If you have enjoyed this and other LAB newsletters and find our website useful, please consider making a donation. Please use the donate button on the Home Page of our website, which links to the friendly and secure website JustGiving.  You can choose to make a one-off or regular donation. For UK readers, LAB is a registered charity so your donation is worth 20% more if you sign the Gift Aid agreement.

Best wishes,

The LAB Team

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