Brazil goes back to an oligarch past
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Return to the fazenda and gaucho whipBrazil goes back to an oligarch past
Post Lula, post Dilma Rousseff, power has shifted to powerful landowners aggressively asserting their rights over land they donât use but donât want to lose, and politically motivated violence is up.by Anne Vigna Brazil goes back to an oligarch pastâ'
Since Congress removed President Dilma Rousseff in 2016 â" in what the left called a âparliamentary coupâ â " Brazil seems to have reconnected with a past many hoped was consigned to history. It is that of a country run by colonels and bandeirantes, powerful local figures who used violence against all who crossed them: the left, the poor, and the âlandlessâ occupiers of unused land which, according to the constitution, should be redistributed through agrarian reform.
Brazil will commemorate the 130th anniversary of its abolition of slavery on 13 May, yet a hated symbol of that era, the whip, reappeared on television screens when landowners used them on 22 March against members of the Landless Workersâ Movement (MST) waiting to see former president Luiz InÃ¡cio Lula da Silvaâs motorcade. Senator Ana AmÃ©lia Lemos of the rightwing Partido Progressista expressed unabashed support for these âtrue gauchos who raised their whipsâ.
Lula, who has been in prison since 7 April, was able to travel throughout Brazil unimpeded during a political career of over 50 years. But this March he encountered blockades organised by armed militias using tractors, stones and rifles to hamper his campaign to mobilise opposition to his 12-year sentence for âpassive corruptionâ. The sentence has been condemned not only by the left, but also by 122 Brazilian legal experts, who have published articles suggesting the charge was based more on the judgeâs prejudices than hard evidence.
The police investigation into shots fired at Lulaâs motorcade on 27 March has revealed they came from Leandro Bonottoâs fazenda (plantation). Since the 1990s, Bonotto has vehemently opposed the MST and land reclamation by the National Institute for Colonisation and Agrarian Reform (Incra), a federal government body. The source of the gunshots was not a surprise: associations of big landowners openly advocate violence against the MST.
GedeÃ£o Ferreira, who heads the agriculture federation in Rio (...)Full article: 1 398 words.
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Anne VignaAnne Vigna is a journalist based in Rio de Janeiro. /B_note> Translated by George Miller
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