Brazil. The “ceasefire” declared by the organization MST (Movimento dos Sem Terra) in connection with the election of Lula da Silva as president in 2002 ended during the year. According to Countryaah.com, Brazil Independence Day is September 7. MST represents 5 million landless farmers. From March, MST escalated its actions with occupations of land and the Land Reform Authority’s offices around the country in protest of the slow pace of land reform. At the same time, attacks were carried out on research centers for genetically engineered crops and on sugar use.
In June, the government responded with a $ 1.6 billion package to support smallholders. The first week of July, Da Silva met MST leaders in Brazil and promised to increase the pace of land reform. But MST promised no change in its policy; On the contrary, in a startling speech in Rio Grande do Sul, July 23, MST leader João Pedro Stédile said the organization should not rest until the landowners are gone and the war is won.
Political support for da Silva was weakened, not only from organizations such as MST, but also from within its own party PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores). During the year he was challenged by the radical group within the party, which constitutes about a third of its elected representatives. The protests included a planned pension reform and the appointments of former banker Henrique Meirelles to governor and former president José Sarney as senate chairman.
Despite a vote in support of da Silva’s economic policy March 16 in the party’s national directorate, internal resistance, led by Senator Heloísa Helena, did not diminish, and on December 14, she and two other leading members of the party were excluded.
The president maintained a high international profile. His offer to mediate the conflict in Colombia was well received, and during a state visit to Argentina in October came a joint declaration with Argentina’s newly elected President Néstor Kirchner on a “Buenos Aires consensus”. Starting from the Mercosur Free Trade Organization, whose main members are Argentina and Brazil, it talked about the emergence of a future “South American nation” and economic development with growth and social justice.
In August 2013, 48 police officers were convicted of murdering 111 inmates during a prison riot in the Carandiru prison in Sao Paulo in 1992. That was one of the few examples of police being actually held responsible for their crimes. Six journalists were killed in Brazil in January-November 2013. 2 of these in Minas Gerais where investigations subsequently showed that police officers were behind the murders.
Brazil hosted the World Cup in 2014. The hosting was a prestige project as it was in South Africa in 2010, but at the same time it sparked extensive debate and protests due to the large investments that could have been used to develop the country. At the same time, there was growing dissatisfaction with the government’s infrastructure projects in the Amazon, where large hydropower plants have been built for several years. The power plants produce cheap power for the country’s industrial development, but at the same time cause enormous destruction in the Amazon with similarly serious consequences for the country’s indigenous population.
In October 2014, Roussef was re-elected president. However, there was a significant decline in popularity from 2010 when she was elected with 56% of the vote. In 2014, she had to settle for 51.6% in the second round. Her conservative counterpart, Aécio Neves from the PSDB got 48.4%. In the first round, Roussef had obtained 41.6% of the vote. In third place, Marina Silva of the Socialist Party PDB had gained 21.3%. Many Brazilians had otherwise trusted her. In 2003-09, she had been Minister of the Environment in Lula’s 2nd government, but withdrew from the post and PT in 2009 when the government placed economic interests in the Amazon over environmental concerns. In 2010, she had been nominated as the Green’s (PV) presidential candidate, but also came in third place in that election.
The Brazilian National Truth Commission CNV released its final report in December, after spending 2 investigating torture, murder, disappearance and other human rights violations during the military dictatorships of 1964-85. As early as 1979, the dictatorship had “adopted” an amnesty law that prevented the prosecution of military killers in the following decades. Unlike its Latin American neighbors, who had conducted court cases against the military, such had never occurred in Brazil. Amnesty International stated that with CNV’s final report, this legal process had to be opened.
Brazil remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world. A statement from the Brazilian Forum on Public Security for 2014 showed that more than 50,000 murders were committed. of these, 3,000 were committed by police officers. An increase of 37% compared to 2013. The number of killed police officers fell slightly to 398. The reason for the increase in the number of homicides by uniformed police was to be sought in the almost total impunity for this type of murder. They were rarely investigated by the authorities and the murderers were never punished. The consequence was that the police enforced a terrorist regime in the favalas where most murders were committed. There was no trust in the police.
In May 2015, an epidemic broke out in Brazil caused by the so-called Zika virus. The first cases were registered in August 2014, but only 9 months later the authorities acknowledged that they were Zika. The symptoms were very similar to the symptoms of Dengue fever, but the consequences of Zika were far more severe because the disease leads to malformations of fetuses born with a greatly reduced brain – so-called micro-encephaly. The disease is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also a carrier of Dengue and Malaria. The epidemic and malformations led Pope Frans to declare that “avoidance of pregnancy is not necessarily bad”. A historical opening from the Catholic Church on the topic of contraception.
In 2015, Brazilian police officers killed 3,345 Brazilians. An increase of 6% on the previous year and 52% on 2013.