The criminalization and genocide of poor black youth in Brazil has shown its face once again. On June 25, people living in the Favela Nova Holanda, in the Maré neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, faced occupation by BOPE agents (Special Operations Battalion), Riot Police and the National Guard. According to reports which have been circulating among alterative media outlets and social networking sites, three “caveirões” (large military armored vehicles) were part of the arsenal used against approximately 50 Maré inhabitants who were demonstrating against police violence. According to these reports, 13 were killed and several have been wounded.
Statements on the Observatório das Favelas website (Favela Watch), a civil society organization located in Maré, condemn the “violation of rights, such as home invasions, property damage, looting and police intimidation of inhabitants”. Commerce has yet to return to normal. Inhabitants are without power and still under siege.
According to Rio de Janeiro press, the local Rio de Janeiro government, on January 21, delivered its final bid for the acquisition of eight new armored vehicles (referred to as “caveirões” in Portuguese) for approximately R$6 million Brazilian Reals. The Israeli company, Global Shield, which holds contracts with Israeli Occupation Forces in Palestine, won this million-dollar contract. This deal with the government of Rio de Janeiro is seen as an “opportunity” for Global Shield, materializing its presence within the Brazilian state slated to hold the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics and referred to by local media outlets as the “the largest show room for public safety in the world”.
As stated by the journalist, Naomi Klein, in her book, “The Shock Doctrine”, Israel has effectively transformed itself into a grand shopping center of military systems, technically referred to as defense and security technologies. It uses the Palestinian people as human guinea pigs in a laboratory in order to afterwards, obtain contracts with governments around the world, supplying tools for the repression of their relative populations. The Rio de Janeiro local government along with the Brazilian federal government are unfortunately no exception. The company supplying the “caveirões” which have victimized poor Brazilians in Rio de Janeiro – and, of course, Palestinians – was in Rio de Janeiro on April 10, exhibiting its merchandise at the LAAD Fair (International Defense and Security Technology Fair), at the RioCentro Convention Center, with their sights set on the mega sporting events set to occur in Brazil. Another 30 Israeli companies, complicit in apartheid and the occupation of Palestine, were present at the fair which was held from April 9 – 12. They were received by the governor of Rio de Janeiro, Sérgio Cabral, the Minister of Defense, Celso Amorim and the Brazilian Vice President, Michel Temer. Military contracts with companies like Global Shield have increased under these administrations.
In Brazil, Maré inhabitants are among the victims of these accords. This community has much in common with the people of Palestine. They live under a system of social apartheid, institutionalized violence and occupation – now with the help of Israel, and with the blessing of the Rio de Janeiro and Brazilian governments. Israeli arms are also in the hands of police in various parts of Brazil, used in the violent repression of public demonstrations.
It is of the utmost importance that we condemn these agreements and demand that local, state and federal governments nullify them. We raise the flag of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel) and work to organize a people’s tribunal to place the Israeli Occupation Forces on trial for their collaboration in the repression and genocide of the poor, black youth of Brazil. This is an act of solidarity with all oppressed peoples, be they in the Favela Nova Holanda, or in Palestine. To all Brazilian civil society organizations, let us convene a meeting to organize and raise the international flag of BDS.
No more repression in the favelas of Brazil! No more, caveirões! Military Embargo on Israel Now!
* Soraya Misleh – Frente em Defesa do Povo Palestino-SP/BDS Brasil (Front in Defense of the Palestinian People – São Paulo/ BDS Brasil)
Tranlated into English – (Ryan Green)