24/05/16

DILMA’S IMPEACHMENT UNDERWAY IN BRAZIL; COLOMBIAN PEACE PROCESS; INTERVIEW WITH FORMER TUPAMARO

Dear Lab Supporter and Friend,

Brazil is still the big news this month, with the suspension of Dilma Rousseff from her duties by the Senate, the start of the formal impeachment trial and the appointment of Michel Temer as interim president. Jan Rocha blogs with all the latest. Also in Brazil, we have coverage of a victory for the Vila Autódromo, a Rio favela threatened with demolition to make way for new Olympic infrastructure, as well as a fascinating introduction to the graffiti style known as pixação. Elsewhere, we have an in-depth piece on the Colombian peace process and an interview with one of the founders of the Uruguayan revolutionary group the Tupamaros.

TEMER TURNS BACK THE CLOCK WITH NEW ADMINISTRATION

The Brazilian Senate has voted to suspend Dilma Rousseff, and now has up to six months to hear evidence and reach a verdict on her impeachment. There seems to be little chance it will rule in her favour. Meanwhile, her vice, Michel Temer, is the new interim president. Jan Rocha here discusses the last twists in the drama leading up to Dilma’s suspension, while here she takes a more in-depth look at Temer’s new all white, all male cabinet, which, she argues, will quickly begin to dismantle much of the social progress made under the Workers’ Party (PT) governments. It is clear that Temer is intent on constructing a wholly new government with new policies, not just filling in while his President is suspended. This suggests that the impeachment process is at least a perversion of democracy, if not in fact a coup. Watch Jan’s blog on LAB’s website, for further updates.

RESIDENTS OF RIO FAVELA WIN URBANISATION PLAN

Vila Autódromo, the Rio favela at the centre of a long and bitter dispute with the authorities, has finally signed a deal with the city government, which includes plans for the construction of 25 new houses, a cultural centre and a sports pitch. The government had attempted to demolish the favela in order to make way for an access road to the new Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca. The new deal is a reward for the bravery and persistence of residents who endured years of threats, bullying and coercion from the authorities. (Read more…)

AN INTRODUCTION TO PIXAÇÃO

Visitors to São Paulo and other cities in Brazil cannot fail to notice the strange runic symbols plastered in spray paint over many of the buildings. This is pixação, a quintessentially Brazilian type of graffiti, which for Russell White is “a two finger salute to the city’s authorities and the Paulistano wealthy.” Here Russell takes an in-depth look at pixação: its history, what it means to its practitioners, the attempts by the authorities to clamp down on it and its increasing appropriation by the art world. (Read more…)

TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE IN COLOMBIA

Sandra Rios Oyola analyses the Colombian peace negotiations, still ongoing in Havana. While much progress has been made, particularly in the de-escalation of a conflict that has been rumbling on for roughly half a century, there are still many obstacles. In particular, Rios Oyola looks at the influence of the so-called “peace-spoilers”: paramilitary groups, warlords, landowners and businessmen who continue to benefit from the conflict and are opposed to the peace negotiations. (Read more…) 

AN INTERVIEW WITH MAURICIO ROSENCOF, ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE TUPAMAROS

Nick Caistor interviews Mauricio Rosencof, one of the founding members of the Uruguayan revolutionary group the Tupamaros. Rosencof was one of nine Tupamaros leaders kept in solitary confinement between 1973-85, along with former Uruguayan president José Mujica. After their release, these leading Tupamaros joined the Frente Amplio, which is in government for the third time in succession and has been widely credited with reducing poverty and inequality. (Read more…)

With best wishes,

The LAB team