Thursday, June 21, 2018
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,...
São Paulo, 26 January 2018. Not only was Lula’s appeal rejected and his sentence increased to twelve years by the court in Porto Alegre on 24 January, but in Brasilia another judge banned him from travelling to Ethiopia on a previously planned trip to take part in a FAO conference on food, to prevent him ‘asking for political asylum’. Lula’s...
São Paulo 21 January. Some are calling it the trial of the century.  The fate of the man who leads all the polls by a huge margin and could therefore be elected president of Brazil in October lies in the hands of three judges of the TRF4, the regional appeals court in Porto Alegre. Although the case will only...
Brazil’s government this week announced a major shift away from its policy of building mega-dams in the Brazilian Amazon – a strategy born during the country’s military dictatorship (1964-1985) and vigorously carried forward down to the present day. The Temer government claims the decision is a response to intense resistance from environmentalists and indigenous groups, but while that...
20 December 2017 Dear LAB Supporter and Friend, The ghosts of elections past, present and future Across the world, polls this year have been confounded as elections yielded surprising results (not least, for those of us in the UK, in the 2016 referendum on EU membership and the general election in 2017). These results have led many analysts to identify strands...
This article was first published in Revista Opera. You can read the original, in Portuguese, here. October 23, 2017: The day begins at 8 o’clock. We arrive in Pacaraima, whose streets, in spite of being Brazilian, are filled with hispanic sounds on every side. As I get out of the car, a man comes up to me offering to...
What do you do if you’re living on public land, in a house that your great-grandparents built in an era before strict housing regulations, and the government suddenly decides to evict you? This dilemma afflicts several informal settlements known as favelas, along with other occupations of public land by traditional communities. With a political landscape increasingly intolerant of these...
1 December 2017. Just over a year ago, Rio was on a roll, basking in post-Olympic glory, applauded all over the world for a successful Games. Now the arrest of its most prominent politicians has exposed the rotten underbelly of the ‘cidade maravilhosa’, the beautiful city. They are facing accusations of blatant, scandalous corruption schemes that have been ripping...
A chapter in international solidarity with Brazil’s embattled rural poor closed on Sunday 26 November with the death of Dominican priest and lawyer, Henri des Roziers.  Henri had worked in Brazil since 1978, using his skills as a lawyer to defend rural workers’ unions and to bring to justice the landowners who ordered the killing of so many of...

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