Monday, August 24, 2009

Life and death in Sao Paulo

Two thousand slum dwellers on the outskirts of Sao Paulo have been fighting attempts to evict them today. The police fired tear gas at crowds who erected burning barricades and threw Molotov cocktails and stones to resist the eviction.

Homes in the Capao Redondo area, which have stood on the site for the last two years, were bulldozed (right) leaving thousands of the poorest Brazilians homeless.

As the former residents of Capao Redondo look on helplessly at the rubble where their shacks once stood they can take heart that their nation is to receive a massive new oil windfall pouring wealth into somebody's pockets at least.

Brazil is one of the biggest economies in the world but there is a massive gulf between the richest and poorest. The Brazilian government effectively criminalises poverty. For all the promise that President Lula once held the situation for these workers has not improved. Sadly, there is little that they can do but fight back and hope for a better day.


Sue said...

Any thoughts on Marina Silva running as the Green presidential candidate in Brazil, Jim?

Caroline did a press release on this yesterday and I know Derek is very enthusiastic about her.

Jim Jay said...

Funny you should say that Sue...

In response to the last Brazilian Presidential elections in 2006 I wrote this piece (original link dead) where I was very supportive of Presidential candidate HeloĆ­sa Helena who stood for PSOL and got just over 6% of the national vote.

Like Marina she was a minister who left the PS on principled grounds and in some parts of the country she achieved incredible results.

I'm hoping she will stand again and that 'we' back her. She made a real splash back in 2006 and a united campaign of PSOL, Greens and Marina would be both formidable and within the fluid electoral traditions of Brazil... although I don't follow the ins and outs well enough to know how achievable that is.

Dan O'H said...

The Guardian has a grim-looking video of the clearance. Nasty stuff.