Saturday, August 19, 2017

Latest blog posts

Michel Temer: Captain of Brazil’s Titanic

Aug 14 2017 What is President Temer's weapon for fighting corruption charges? Why, corruption of course. In his relentless battle to stay in power, President Michel Temer has appealed to the very methods he stands  accused of by the Attorney General’s investigations: bribery and corruption, or as Theresa May might say, confidence and supply. This enabled him to win last week’s crucial vote in Congress by 263 to 227, denying authorization for the Supreme Court to hear the charges brought by the Attorney General, Rodrigo Janot, including that of obstructing justice. Temer remains in power but the cost is mounting.  Like a Russian...

Chilean Play: Mad Man, Sad Woman

‘Mad Man Sad Woman’, by Juan Radigan, is on at The Place, 269 Westferry Road, London E14 3RS, until 8 July. Tickets from www.space.org.uk Translated by Catherline Boyle. Directed by Sue Dunderdale. with Sadie Shimmin and Bil Stuart. To write a work of art about absolute deprivation is a never-ending challenge. The most absolute deprivation is death itself, but there are uncounted ways of living on the verge of death, when individuals undergo extreme physical and mental suffering. Destitution is a statisticians’ term to describe people at the extreme of poverty, but how to describe life with absolutely no resources whatsoever? To...

La Clave: London’s Latin America Festival

London's La Clave Festival returns to Crouch End on Saturday June 17, with music, film and talks, three of them organised by LAB.  The three LAB events all take place in the Council Chamber at Hornsey Town Hall. 11am – 12pm BRAZIL Brazil Post Impeachment: One year of Temer GovernmentJournalists Ali and Jan Rocha will explain the background to Dilma Rousseff's impeachment in 2016 and look at Michel Temer's controversial first year in government. The talk will be illustrated with videos.  Reserve your seat here.  12pm – 1pm ECUADOR The Sarayaku: Ecuadorian Amazonians Combat Climate Change 12.00 pm -   1.00 pm - Film "Children of the Jaguar" , followed by a Q&A and discussion with  lecturer and writer Linda Etchart, who will talk...

Terra do Meio 3: O rio Iriri – conservação e seus custos

Na terceira de seis postagens, uma discussão sobre os problemas dos colonos (barragens, legislação ambiental, grileiros) e uma visita a uma fazenda “fantasma”. Tradução: Maria Luíza Camargo. A matéria original, em inglês, pode ser lida aqui no LAB ou aqui no Mongabay. Aqui, a primeira e a segunda postagem.  Publicado originalmente em inglês em 23 de março de 2016. Em janeiro de 2016, a jornalista britânica Sue Branford viajou ao Brasil pela Mongabay e pelo Latin America Bureau (LAB) para uma sequência de reportagens sobre a vida das comunidades na Terra do Meio, no Pará, uma das áreas mais remotas da Amazônia....

Terra do Meio 2: Famílias sob risco de expulsão na Estação Ecológica da Terra...

Na segunda de seis postagens, Sue Branford fala de uma área onde a criação de uma unidade de conservação ambiental coloca comunidades tradicionais sob o risco de perder o território onde vivem há gerações. Tradução: Maria Luíza Camargo. A matéria original, em inglês, pode ser lida aqui no LAB: ou no Mongabay.  Em janeiro 2016, a jornalista britânica Sue Branford viajou ao Brasil pela Mongabay e pelo Latin America Bureau, para uma sequência de reportagens sobre a vida das comunidades ribeirinhas na Terra do Meio, no Pará, uma das áreas mais remotas da Amazônia. Depois de passar por Altamira,...

The Political Cloudscape of Brazil: changing shape by the minute

São Paulo, May 25. A week is a long time in Brazilian politics, and President Michel Temer has revealed himself to be a stubborn survivor as he battles to stay afloat in the sea of sleaze accusations. He has just sacked  Justice Minister  Osmar Serraglio, himself accused of corruption, replacing him with Torquato Jardim,  a prosecutor well versed in dealing with the courts in whose hands Temer’s future may now lie. Jardim is also a critic of the Lava Jato corruption investigations. As such he is welcomed by the many politicians, including Temer, who, while in public heartily defending...

Brazil: Temer teeters as plea bargain revelations unleash chaos

São Paulo, May 22. Few Brazilians were familiar with the name of Joesley Batista, who with his brother, Wesley, owns Brazil’s biggest meat packing industry, JBS, now part of the multinational holding J&F. But the revelations of his secretly taped tête a tête with President Michel Temer, alone in the Jaburu Palace late at night on March 7, off the official agenda, have placed a ticking time bomb under the government. In the barely audible conversation, Temer apparently agrees with the payment of a monthly bribe to the disgraced and imprisoned politician Eduardo Cunha to keep his mouth shut, and...

Brazil: Fachin’s list: the Odebrecht earthquake

Sâo Paulo. April 19. The sheer scale and volume of the gigantic bribery operation that has been bankrolling the entire infrastructure of Brazilian politics over the last 30 years is breathtaking. The details, revealed by the declarations of over 70 executives of Brazil’s top construction company, Odebrecht, to teams of public prosecutors investigating the Lava Jato corruption scandal, would be enough to bring down the government and cause mass resignations of elected politicians in most countries. But President Temer didn’t see it that way. “Just because this or that happens, Brazil has to stop?” he asked, referring to what is...

Brazil: a book called João

April 11th 2017. In Rio recently ex-military officer and ultra rightwing deputy Jair Bolsanaro was applauded for his racist remarks at the Hebrew club, of all places, while a new survey showed that 73% of cariocas think human rights get in the way of fighting crime.  So two new books are a timely reminder of what unlimited power in the hands of men in uniform actually means. https://youtu.be/zSTdTjsio5g Jair Bolsonaro: “Where there is indigenous land, there is wealth beneath it. We have to change that.”  “The slightest Afro-descendant there weighed seven arrobas (An old unit of measurement mainly used for...

El Sueño existe 2017: focus on Ecuador

Bienvenido! Festival 2017 Bienvenido!  El Sueño Existe Festival of Latin American music and politics will take place in Machynlleth, 28, 29 and 30 July 2017. The spirit of Victor Jara in beautiful Mid Wales. To buy tickets click here For every festival we choose a different theme and this year we will be looking at Ecuador.  We seek to weave a tapestry of music, dance, progressive politics, poetry and drama here in the beautiful Dyfi Valley of Mid Wales. The music and life of Victor Jara of Chile is  the source of inspiration for the festival and we seek to bring the...

Brazil: the flesh is weak but the meat is rotten

São Paulo, March 22nd. With their usual fine sense of irony, the Federal Police named their latest operation, launched on Friday 17th,   “Carne Fraca” – the Flesh is Weak. The targets were Brazil’s biggest meat companies, all household names, exporters of billions of dollars worth of beef, chicken and meat products to over 150 countries. The two-year investigation, involving over a thousand agents, began when a whistleblower inside the Ministry of Agriculture revealed that corrupt officials were taking bribes to turn a blind eye to adulterated and unsafe meat. 27 people, including two regional superintendents of the Ministry, were arrested,...

Brazil: indigenous lives matter

São Paulo, 15 March. Despairing of  finding justice in Brazil, cacique Ladio Veron of the Guarani Kaiowá indigenous people in Mato Grosso do Sul,  has set out on a 3 month trip to 10 European countries to appeal for help in reclaiming the lands taken from them by successive Brazilian governments, and now occupied by ranchers, farmers and sugarcane industries. He will speak at universities, meet parlamentarians, and seek support for the besieged and persecuted Guarani Kaiowá. Ladio Veron will be in Britain from April 17-21. Final dates and venues to be confirmed, but the schedule includes: April 18 - Public...

Brazil: who’s afraid of Lava Jato?

Main image: police family members protest in Vitória. Their placard reads: We've had no wage increase since 2013 - 40% inflation. The coffin is for Paulo Hartung, the state governor. São Paulo. February 12. A series of moves by President Michel Temer, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies are being interpreted as attempts to block the investigations into Brazil’s biggest ever corruption scandal, involving Petrobras and all of Brazil’s major construction companies, and prevent the arraignment of government ministers, deputies and  senators who have been accused of taking bribes by those already under arrest, who are collaborating in plea...

Colombia: what does peace mean in Comuna 13?

24 January. With the new year in Colombia came a new sentence from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, holding the state responsible for human rights violations committed in the context of ‘Operation Orion’. In this Operation, the army, together with the ‘Cacique Nutibarra’ bloc of the AUC paramilitary organisation, stormed the marginalised slum neighbourhood ‘Comuna 13’ in Medellín, Colombia’s second-largest city. The operation took place over four days in October 2002, under Álvaro Uribe Vélez’s presidency, within the framework of his heavily-criticised ‘democratic security’ policy which promised to eliminate the insurgent threat. The operation ostensibly sought to take...