We reproduce, in full, an open letter produced by families of workers, mostly young people, who are fighting eviction from property that was abandoned until the occupation by these families about a year ago, in the Morro Alto neighborhood, in the municipality of Vespasiano, metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte.
The Independência occupation in Morro Alto asks for your support!
We are workers, fathers and mothers of families, young people and unemployed. We occupy this abandoned land near Copasa, in the neighborhood of Morro Alto, in Vespasiano, to get out of the suffocation of rent! We are fighting for a roof over our children and a more dignified life for our families! The construction company Araújo Lima claims to be the owner of this land, but when we arrived here over a year ago, everything was abandoned. The work that this construction company was going to start was blocked by the courts because it would have committed several environmental crimes. They want to push us with their bellies by means of dubious deeds and documents. It is very important to make it clear: we are not inside the property that the construction company Araújo Lima claims to own! The only truth in this whole story is that Araújo Lima has never done anything on this land!
Now, overnight and in the middle of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, this so-called “justice,” which always plays the game of the rich and powerful, is threatening to evict us! They want to destroy everything we have built with the sweat of our own faces! They want to destroy our houses, which we have built with so much effort and sacrifice, brick by brick! They want to destroy our dream of a better life for our families! We will not accept this!
We live off odd jobs, we are servants, day laborers, street vendors. Most of us, in order to put food on the table, depend on the “Bolsa Família” and emergency assistance, which has just been cut. How are we going to do it? We don’t have money to pay rent and we don’t want to see our children in need. That we will not accept! We are children of Vespasiano and Morro Alto and all we want is to raise our children in the community where we were raised. Neither judges nor politicians have lifted a brick, nailed a nail, paid or done anything! None of them helped us in our most difficult moments, when we were under the canvas shacks at the edge of the stream, facing sun and rain, night and day.
Now, they come here sending messages and making threats, saying that a battalion will come, they will destroy our houses, that we will be arrested and given more pressure. They want to make us out as criminals, but they are the real bandits! There are many strange things in this story. It was the representatives of the construction company Araújo Lima themselves who encouraged us to build our houses here. What did they want with that? Our fight is fair and necessary! Housing is a right! We are more and more united and organized and most serious and honest people are on our side!
We ask for the support of the whole population for our cause. The residents of Morro Alto and surrounding neighborhoods know that most of the houses in the region were built through occupations. We are witnesses to how the lives of the people who have managed to get out of rent have improved and we also want to achieve a better life for our families! We demand an immediate end to all eviction threats! We demand the regularization of all the houses in the occupation! We demand sewage and electricity networks for all the houses in the occupation! Emergency assistance of R$ 1,000.00 for all the unemployed! Vaccination and tests now!
Caption: Intubated patients are being transported to other states on airplanes. Photo: FAB Disclosure
The unprecedented crisis affecting the state of Amazonas, especially the capital Manaus, has revolted families of people hospitalized with Covid-19 at the hospital and emergency rooms on August 28.
Mário Ypiranga Avenue, in the Adrianópolis neighborhood, South Zone of Manaus, was shut down on January 14 by families demanding a solution to the problems and the basic right to life, denied by the governments’ negligence.
The act exposes the chaotic situation that the city of Manaus is going through, as a faithful portrait of the crisis that has already claimed the lives of over 207,000 Brazilians. According to family members, due to the lack of oxygen tanks in the state, patients are having their machines lowered or turned off, all to save the product that is in short supply. Those who do not die as a direct result of the pandemic, die as a result of the negligence of the government.
“Information came in that they were going to decrease the oxygen and there are patients who need 15% of the oxygen and they wanted to decrease it to 6%. They arrive and don’t ask for permission; they get there and they decrease. My patient is 81 years old, the doctor got there and decreased his oxygen, and he went from 90, which is a good saturation, to 7. Being his companion I knew that he needs that to live, so I went and pressed the button for oxygen,” denounced Nathalie Batista, who works as a caregiver for the elderly.
The oxygen rationing comes at a time when patients are being transferred to other states such as Ceará, Goiás, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte and Distrito Federal, also due to the lack of the product.
Over the last few weeks the health system of the Amazonas has collapsed. The scenes are more like horror movies, with doctors taking oxygen tanks in their own cars to hospitals, family members desperately trying to buy the product, even cold storage rooms were installed in the cemeteries of Manaus, since there is no more room to bury people. The crisis is such that the tests of the National High School Exam (Enem) were cancelled in the state.
The government of Amazonas declared a 10-day curfew in the city, due to the gravity of the situation.
CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
Faced with the crisis in the Amazon, and the genocide that affects our people, certain characters are highlighted for their disastrous and criminal actions and total disdain for the lives of poor people. They are worthy of being tried in the Hague Tribunal for crimes against humanity.
First, General Eduardo Pazuello, who is in charge of the Ministry of Health, is incapable of presenting a concrete plan of mass vaccination for the population, thus prolonging all the suffering of the masses. As a representative of the Armed Forces, the general demonstrates the inefficiency of this institution, which after not getting syringes, is now unable to even transport oxygen at levels required for the largest state in the country.
Another one whose role has been detestable is the vice president and representative of the right-wing military within the federal government, Hamilton Mourão. In an interview on January 15, the reactionary cynically said that the government “could not predict what was going to happen in Manaus” and added: “the government is doing everything it can.”
Mourão’s statement contrasts with the information given by the Attorney General of the State of Amazonas, Igor da Silva Spindola, who stated that the Ministry of Health was alerted at least four days ago about the lack of oxygen in the state.
“The state has not prepared itself. And as if that weren’t enough, the Logistics directorate of the Ministry of Health only met today (01/14) to deal with it after being warned four days ago,” the man said in an interview with Época magazine.
The Attorney General also criticized the lack of logistics of the military at the head of the Ministry of Health: “lack of coordination” of the federal government and of military personnel within the ministry.
Another character directly responsible for the whole crisis driven by Covid-19 is the fascist president Jair Bolsonaro. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Bolsonaro has disregarded the virus and even called it “the little flu”. The president has always made a point of circumventing isolation measures by encouraging the masses to do the same.
Bolsonaro also strove to let the virus proliferate: proof of this were the constant changes of health ministers, seeking someone to submit to him in his genocidal plan, eventually finding his match within the Armed Forces, as it should be.
In the scientific field, Bolsonaro promoted denialism, stimulating an obscure anti-vaccine campaign and advertising medicines without scientific proof of effectiveness in combating the virus.
With these and other measures, the fascist Bolsonaro led thousands of people to doubt the existence or even the danger of contagion from the virus, a fact that ended up taking the lives of 207,000 Brazilian workers.
PEOPLE ORGANIZED FOR THEIR OWN DEFENSE
No matter how hard the reactionaries try in every way to murder the people in order to destroy productive forces, aiming to restore the parasitic reproduction of the capitalist system, the people, together with their organized vanguard, have carried out and continue to carry out campaigns of awareness, distribution of masks, alcohol and inputs for the protection of the poor and working people.
As an example of this effort, Sanitary Committees for Popular Defense (CSDP) were created throughout Brazil with the purpose of defending the health of the people. These committees showed once again that the workers can only count on their equals, because if they depend on the bourgeois-landowning state, they will only be faced with suffering and death.
Caption: Sanitary Committee in protest through the streets of Pinhais. January 2021 Photo: Outreach
Last Sunday (January 10), the Sanitary Committee for the Popular Defense of Pinhais/PR organized, together with the residents of the region, an act in mourning for the more than 200,000 deaths caused by COVID-19 and to demand the vaccine for all as a measure of containment of the pandemic, which has, at the beginning of this year, already reached records of deaths and contamination in the country.
The action aimed to mourn the victims and denounce the complete disregard with which the Brazilian State has been dealing with the health crisis. Such a neglect that in this moment of global race for the vaccine, there is an absolute lack of haste by the government of Bolsonaro/generals and local governments to ensure mass vaccination that could finally put an end to this nightmare for the people.
The Committee went through the busiest streets of the region carrying a large banner with the slogan “Fight for the 200 thousand deaths of Covid-19!” and “Vaccine for all now!” During the route they also handed out flyers from house to house while talking to the residents and merchants who, among several demonstrations of support, also wanted to show their grief and indignation by hanging black cloths in their houses and establishments. At the end, the banner was hung in a public square of the neighborhood.
The Sanitary Committee of Pinhais/PR continues organizing the popular masses in the fight for their basic needs through actions to prevent the coronavirus and against the effects of the economic crisis. Throughout 2020, the Committee distributed hundreds of hygiene and protection materials; promoted popular bazaars, community meetings, public health and political protests; collected and distributed basic food baskets and organized the free distribution of thousands of meals to residents of the region.
Caption: In the image from left to right, Jarbas Teixeira de Sena’s body, photo of him alive and photo of Cristiano Rezende Exterkotter. Both murdered at the behest of the latifundium. Photo: Peasant Resistance.
Reprinted reports issued by the Peasant Resistance Newspaper on threats and attempted murder by order of the latifundium against a peasant resident of the Bacuri Area in Rondônia.
Peasant Joel, resident of the Bacuri area, located in the municipality of Rio Crespo in Rondônia, can be murdered at any time.
For more than a week, gunmen at the service of the landowner Gesulino Cezar Travagini Castro have been watching the worker’s house. Joel escaped from an assassination attempt on January 2.
Gesulino is the perpetrator and leader of dozens of murders in the region of Buritis, a city in Rondônia located 330 kilometers (km) from the capital Porto Velho, in the region of Ariquemes. In this city he relies on the collusion of some civil and military police officers, especially the collusion of the Buritis Civil Police Chief, Lucas Torres Ribeiro.
In Cujubim, city of Rondônia located in the same region, 159 km from the capital, Gesulino also organized civil and military police to cover up his crimes, counting on Mayor Pedro Marcelo Fernandes Pereira.
The modus operandi of murders motivated by land disputes is always the same: the murderers approach the victim and shoot him with several rounds.
Several gunshot victims in the region have something in common: they came into contradiction with Gesulino Cezar Travagini Castro. As the murders that took place in the region in 2019 and at the end of 2020 demonstrate.
MURDERS BY ORDER OF THE LATIFUNDIUM
On January 12, 2019, former councilman Jarbas Teixeira de Sena, 45, was shot dead in a bar in the city of Cujubim. The killer was on a motorcycle.
On October 16, 2020, Cristiano Rezende Exterkotter, 34, was murdered in the Bacuri Area. His wife reported that he was riding a motorcycle to his neighbor to get a bunch of bananas when he was shot.
On December 25, 2020, Ronaldo Leonardo da Silva, 43, was murdered in an area of agrarian conflict.
Both Cristiano Rezende and Jarbas were murdered in the Bacuri Area at the behest of Gesulino and his gunmen with the collusion of Cujubim and Ariquemes police.
The deaths caused by this landowner are never investigated. Even though these are widely known by the population of Buritis, the criminal continues to be covered up by Chief Lucas Torres. Even when the executors of his orders, the gunmen, come to know more about his criminal endeavors, Gesulino kills them.
Caption: Police operation against Camp Manoel Ribeiro. Photo: Peasant Resistance.
We have received a serious new report from the Peasant Resistance website dealing with persecutions, threats and confiscations made by the repressive forces (Environmental Police, Military Police and National Force) at the service of the latifundium in the state of Rondônia. It follows in full:
Rondonia’s police forces continue to perpetrate harassment and intimidation against peasants on the lands of the former Santa Elina Farm, even during the end of the year, as reports made by peasants in the region reveal.
Peasants have reported that 5 vehicles with 25 police of the Military Police, Environmental Police and National Force, made intimidating approaches on routes and businesses in the Zé Bentão Area and at the entrance of Camp Manoel Ribeiro, on the second day of the year. Residents also stated that 3 vehicles circulated in the region on January 3. According to witnesses, most of the police officers did not belong to the neighboring municipalities.
According to reports from residents, during the raids, the police asked for information about Camp Manoel Ribeiro, if anyone knew any of the leaders and if they knew about the existence of weapons in the area, revealing their flagrant persecutory purpose and attempt to criminalize the camp and the peasants fighting for land.
PEASANT HAS HUNTING RIFLE SEIZED
That same day, a peasant was arbitrarily arrested for traveling with his hunting rifle on a local road.
Now, it is public knowledge that on the sites, the use of weapons is indispensable for the survival of the peasants, as a working tool in small hunts to complement their protein diet and as individual protection from animal attacks in the forest areas.
While small peasants have their work tools confiscated, it is well known that large landowners keep real war arsenals and gangs of gunmen on the properties they claim to own and are not even investigated.
POLICE POINT GUN AT PEASANT’S HEAD
A resident of the Zé Bentão Revolutionary Area reported that on December 26 she was violently approached by military police in a blitz in the city of Chupinguaia when she was traveling with her underage daughters to spend the New Year at her relatives’ house in another municipality.
The peasant woman had a gun pointed at her head while the truculent police raid took place just one day after the Christmas celebrations. The fact generated great outrage in the worker and her family.
All these arbitrary acts only increase the hatred and indignation among the people against the injustices of this old state.
AGAINST THE CRISIS, TAKE ALL THE LAND FROM THE LATIFUNDIUM!
As we have stated in previous reports, since the victorious land seizure of the Nossa Senhora Aparecida latifundium almost 6 months ago, the repressive agencies have intensified the persecution and criminalization of the camp under the pretext of curbing crimes in the areas. In addition to the criminalizing actions by these police apparatuses are the actions of the latifundium, which foments mistrust among the masses against the Camp, always blaming the just taking of the land for all the crimes and ills that happen in the surrounding areas. In this way, they cunningly intend to diminish the support of neighbors for the Camp and its occupants.
However, the hard reality of life and work of the people is stronger and more forceful than the lies and plots of the reaction. This fact has caused more and more peasants to organize themselves around what is the only real way out of the crisis: the seizure of all the lands of the latifundium.
Residents of the Santo Cristo favela, in the Fonseca neighborhood of Niterói, in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro, protested after military police (MPs) murdered two young men during an operation in the community on January 5.
In the early evening of January 5, residents of the Santo Cristo favela in Niterói, in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro, protested after the murder of two young people during police operations in the community. The demonstrators partially closed the Alameda São Boaventura, a road that leads to the Rio-Niterói Bridge, the main access route between the two cities. The action denounced the police violence and demanded justice for the two boys, using posters and banners.
The victims were Gabriel Machado, known as Zulu, 19, and Jeferson, 15. According to Gabriel’s sister, Jaqueline Teresa Machado, the young man was mentally disabled and at the time he was shot he was picking up cans, an occupation with which he sought his survival.
The demonstrators also raised complaints that the same policemen who were in the operation that resulted in the murder of the two young men were at the protest, in a way to intimidate the people there.
In the version of the police force, which was disproved, the police officers were attacked when they arrived in the favela. This was contested by the residents who report that the MPs had already arrived shooting.
In the operation that resulted in the death of two black and poor youths, the MPs of the 12th Battalion (Niterói) seized, according to them, a pistol, 163 bundles of marijuana, 196 ‘pins’ of cocaine, and a grenade. This is an insignificant amount even in police operations with the sole objective of “fighting drugs.”
“WAR ON DRUGS”: POLICY OF EXTERMINATION OF THE BLACK AND POOR POPULATION
The police operations that take place almost weekly, especially in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, with the objective of carrying out the “war on drugs” are in fact nothing more than a trick, in which reactionary governments set supposed objectives, never achieved, (namely: to end drug trafficking and dismantle the retail drug network) that is used to promote the genocide of the black, poor, and favela dwelling population committed by the repressive forces (MP and reactionary armed forces) and fully legalized by the old Brazilian state.
Proof of this are the 1.5 tons of marijuana found in a latifundium in Mato Grosso do Sul in November 2020 and the 39kg of cocaine in the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) plane in 2019 – just two operations that gained publicity after being discovered. And the second largest seizure of war weaponry was found far from any favela. In June 2017, 60 war rifles were seized at the Galeão International Airport, coming directly from the USA, indicating two things: first, where the weapons that kill the poor people in the favelas of the country come from, and second, who profits from this “war”: the military-industrial complex of American imperialism.
Caption: CDD residents demonstrate on second day of protests. Photo: AND Rio de Janeiro Support Committee
RJ: CDD residents close Yellow Line after MP murders worker; see editorial comment
On January 4, residents of the Cidade de Deus favela (CDD), in the west zone of Rio, closed both directions of the Yellow Line, an important road that connects the region to the center of the city. They were protesting the murder of 38 year old Marcelo Guimarães.
According to family members, the man was killed by military police of the 18th Military Police (MP) Battalion. A video shows the MP’s armored car fleeing the crime scene. A new protest is scheduled for January 5, at 5 p.m. at the CDD.
In the protest on January 4, the residents placed barricades with pieces of wood, furniture and other objects and closed the two lanes of the Yellow Line, leaving traffic completely interrupted. A MP armored vehicle tried to break the blockade, but was repelled by the infuriated demonstrators and turned back.
According to witnesses, Marcelo was shot at around 8:30 a.m. when he was passing through a road under the Yellow Line that connects to the CDD. The man was returning home after leaving his son at daycare before going to work. According to family members, the man went to pick up the cell phone he had forgotten and then go to work. Marcelo, who worked in a marble shop, and was married and the father of two children, was hit by a rifle shot from inside an armored MP vehicle, known as a “skull”.
A witness reported that he saw the moment when the rifle’s barrel came out of the “skull” and fired from a short distance, hitting Marcelo’s chest.
“Two police officers entered the ‘skull’ seconds before Marcelo went on a motorcycle. I saw the moment when the barrel of a gun came out (from the door of the vehicle) and the shot was fired. It hit the guy in the chest,” the witness told the newspaper Extra.
During his testimony one of the MPs confessed that he fired from inside the “skull”. According to the military, the shots were made to “protect ” a colleague in uniform. The armor and rifles used in the action were investigated, according to a note released by the MP. A video shows the moment the policemen flee with the armored vehicle without helping the victim. According to witnesses they returned only 40 minutes later.
Revolted, Marcelo’s family denounced the sadism of the military and reiterated that there was no confrontation at the time of his death: “And they kill and keep laughing. Because there were police here (at the scene of the crime) laughing. I only want one thing: that this time justice be served. It can’t go on like this, they’re murdering lives,” Angélica, Marcelo’s mother, said indignantly.
The wife, Carla, accused the MPs: “It was the cops who took my husband’s life. I know this because there was no confrontation at CDD. Unfortunately I got there and my husband was on the ground,” said the wife, moved.
“My brother was going to work, he’s even wearing his work boots. He’s being treated like a lowlife, a father of two,” said his sister, Carine Guimarães.
MP THREATENS RESIDENTS WHO PROTEST
On the same day Marcelo was murdered, a MP used social media to threaten anyone protesting the murder of the worker and denouncing police violence.
The MP, who is stationed in the same battalion responsible for the worker’s death, said that if the residents went out to have “fun” they would get hurt. According to the corporation, the military was summoned to give a statement.
This case is far from being accidental, and is the result of the old social order. Seeking to justify this and so many other deaths of workers, victims of a true genocide, the old state, through the MP, always claims that it is a casualty, a “stray bullet”, etc., as if the misfortune that occurs in the favelas and the “accidental” death of innocent people (the great majority are not accidental) were “side effects” to eliminate delinquency. But as we can see, the bloodbath of the police force not only fails to eliminate crime, but unites these forces; in order to combat it, it would be necessary, in addition to solving the main problems that launch young people into this life, to focus on the repression of the real bandits: landowners, big businessmen and politicians involved, from the top of their heaps of money, with international drug trafficking, led by tycoons who do not suffer at all from the police operations in the favelas. On the other hand, this delinquency that grows in poor neighborhoods, of which Marcelo and so many others were not involved in, is the result of an economic massacre that, in Rio de Janeiro, from May to October, increased the number of unemployed by 48% (not counting the legions of thousands of street vendors and other workers on the edge of complete misery). First, the old order disposes of a huge contingent of angry and disillusioned youths, leading them to commit crimes, and then kills those who have nothing to do with delinquency but are poor and black, potentially angry at such exploitation and oppression, which is their “crime.” This and all other cases are not accidents, but sinister wickedness, with the aim of controlling the revolt of the poor – revolt against all the rottenness and suffering they face – by imposing a regime of police terror, of shock. And the greatest proof of this is the threat of a petty policeman, a little devil who finds himself the authority to declare an end to the right to protest, always effectively denied to the masses of people.
AND stands in solidarity with the family and friends of Marcelo and so many others who, in the darkness of alleys, are targets of the murderous rage of the old Brazilian state.
RJ: Second day of protest at CDD after PM murders worker
On the afternoon of January 5, the residents of Cidade De Deus (CDD) held the second demonstration against the murder of Marcelo Guimarães, a 38-year-old worker killed by the Military Police (MP) the day before, according to witnesses.
Residents and demonstrators gathered at the place where Marcelo was murdered. The family joined the action after the burial that took place in Inhaúma earlier that day.
In an exclusive statement to AND, Guilherme, who works in front of the murder site and witnessed the moment of the murder, said: “There was no exchange of gunfire… He slowed down and the ‘skull’ (armored MP vehicle) fired a shot. He fell here, where the blood mark is… The ‘skull’ came around shooting up, then they came with a plastic bottle full of shell casings and released it here.”
Outraged by the situation, the family made several speeches during the protest, denouncing the genocidal policy of the old state and the cowardly actions of the MP. Marcelo’s daughter, Vitória Guimarães, said: “We want justice, not only for him, but for all those the police killed. My father was a worker, different from them, who are bandits and corrupt. The government kills the blacks, the poor, the slum dwellers, and the workers. My father was honest, they are not, that’s the difference”.
Marcelo’s mother-in-law, Claudia Lucia, said: “The policeman was a coward! He has to pay! Carla, Marcel’s widow, reinforced: “There was no exchange of fire, my husband was murdered!
The demonstrators marched on to a central square in CDD and, as they passed the police station, the protest stopped and the demonstrators chanted: It was not confrontation, it was murder! and It is not over, it has to end, I want the end of the Military Police!
The MP were clearly present throughout the action, with vehicles, armored vehicles (“skulls”), policemen with rifles and many of them with their faces covered. Surrounding the streets around the site and the demonstrators during the protest, the policemen were booed and rejected with the masses shouting: Murderers and There was no confrontation.
On the same day, in another part of the state, in Niterói, neighborhood of Fonseca, another protest was taking place. The causes were similar: residents of the Santo Cristo favela accused the MP of murdering two young men.
Caption: Graffiti demanding emergency aid until the end of the recession and against the election, in Montes Claros, North of Minas Gerais.
Emergency aid will stop with the end of 2020, after 11:59 p.m. on December 31. The program was created in March by the federal government to help informal workers during the new coronavirus pandemic. The aid will end precisely when there is a new surge in Covid19 cases in the country.
According to a survey by the Observatory of Metropolises and the Observatory of Social Debt in Latin America (PUC-RS), the aid prevented 23 million Brazilians living in large metro areas from falling into poverty.
Another survey, this time by Datafolha, published on December 21 in the Folha de São Paulo newspaper, showed that 36% of the families who received the aid had no other source of income.
The five installments of R$600 and the four of R$300 benefited 67.8 million people, according to data from the Caixa Econômica Federal (CEF).
Created in March, after an agreement made by Congress and the Planalto [the president’s office], the aid initially would be R$200 at the will of the fascist president and his economic team. However, realizing that this would further aggravate the crisis of bureaucratic capitalism in the country, causing misery and social and political instability with the threat of popular protests, the representatives of the so-called ‘center’ and the civil-military right pushed for the amount to increase to R$600.
EVEN BEFORE THE END OF THE AID, THE POPULAR MASSES WERE HARMED
Marked by delay and bureaucracy, the first installments of the aid were disbursed with many difficulties, causing long lines of workers in CEF’s agencies. The difficulty of having their names approved for the aid caused workers, outraged by the negligence, to destroy CEF agencies and ATMs.
In an interview on December 15, Jair Bolsonaro said: “Aid is emergency, the very name says: emergency. We can not keep signaling to extend, extend and extend.”
With the end of the emergency aid in 2021, the trend is that the crisis that devastates the country will deepen even more, since the economy is far from having a significant recovery. Unemployment trends continue to grow, and Covid19 cases are returning with force and reaching the grim number of 1,000 deaths a day, a fact that comes just after the electoral farce, in which all the reactionary political forces unified around the massive propaganda of the obligation to vote.
“When we add the second wave of Covid, activity restriction and new quarantine with the end of emergency aid, we see a very complicated situation in the first half of 2021,” says Sergio Vale, chief economist and partner at MB Associados.
A statistic that serves as a parameter for next year is that with the reduction of aid from $600 to $300, 75% of families have already reduced the purchase of food, and 65% decreased the purchase of medicines. Also according to Datafolha surveys.
Another factor pointed out by the economist is the debt, mainly among the poorest population, during this period of pandemic and recession.
According to him, in an attempt to maintain the pattern of consumption with the loss of income in the pandemic, people took out loans, especially those consigned for retirees. This led poorer families to rely on the income of retirees in the income composition.
“Families have gone into debt and should reach 2021 with reduced consumption capacity,” says Vale.
THE CROSSROADS OF REACTIONARIES
From the very beginning we have stated that this reactionary government is doomed to division. Paulo Guedes and company, supporters of “fiscal austerity” and cuts in rights, seek only one prospect: “fiscal security”. In other words, it matters to him to send the following message to international financial capital: “invest” here so that we may guarantee your morbid rentism, even if it is by forcing the people to go hungry and without any rights. As part of this, these henchmen demand to maintain the “spending ceiling”, so that the country may, among other things, impose a 20-year freeze on investments in health, education, etc., in addition to reducing spending on jobs and other state monopolies.
In turn, the generals, with their counterrevolutionary policy of trying to defuse the radicalization of the class struggle and stop the mass rebellion, seek as the central axis of economic policy to try to mitigate the crisis, betting on the prescription of the bureaucratic fraction of the local big bourgeoisie, shabby anti-worker “developmentalism” and homeland sales. Relying on public indebtedness to generate extensive occupation of the labor force, “quick jobs,” “recovering purchasing power,” backed by massive corporatist and voter-oriented welfarism, they intend to hold on to a large part of the impoverished and miserable masses. For no other reason and purpose, they imposed emergency aid, fearing deeply the explosion of looting and great instability in the face of the hunger that large contingents of the masses were already experiencing and into which many would suddenly sink. With the aid, although not enough to ensure sustenance and end people’s hunger, it was possible to momentarily mitigate the sense of abandonment and contempt, real abandonment and contempt that these governments and the old state dispense to our people. The central concern of all this policy is the inevitable social degradation, which is getting worse every day and about to become, in a leap, social chaos and great mass rebellions.
On the morning of Monday, January 4, the first working day of 2021, the buses of the metropolitan region of Vitória, Espírito Santo, organized a shutdown of the public transportation service. The main claim is the demand for the immediate return of ticket collectors, who were discharged from their services as part of a measure ‘restricting the spread of COVID-19’ made by transport companies.
The demands made by the workers sought to give visibility to the current situation that they are being forced to go through, particularly that of the workers who were the ticket collectors. Soon after they were dismissed, some of them were offered other duties, in a clear attempt to make precarious an important sector of public transport workers.
With the change that occurred after the dismissal of the collectors, there was also a change in the form of tickets being charged. It is no longer possible to travel by paying the ticket in cash. Currently the ticket at the turnstile is only given with a card provided by GVBUS. This has made it more difficult for people living in the rural areas to travel to the capital, Vitória.
The reduction of buses in circulation was another loss for the workers who had to use transportation in recent months. This action was taken by the ‘public’ transport companies in the region of Vitória even though new buses were purchased in early 2020.
Bus workers, anticipating the defamation campaign and lies made by the union of businessmen, government and press monopolies, organized themselves to broadcast their actions through videos posted on social networks. In one of them one can see a bus driver saying that the buses are ready to go out on the streets, all that is needed is for the ticket collectors to return to their post.
“Without ticket collectors, buses don’t go out!” said a worker among dozens of buses that, even before daybreak, were already gathered at the vehicle garage door.
In another video, also recorded in the early hours of the morning, someone says “The ticket collectors, everyone here, want to work their jobs.”
“When we put the collector back in their place, the own company prevents the bus from leaving,” said a worker during the strike.
Still, the Transport Secretary, Fábio Damasceno, went to the communication monopolies in order to give an interview criminalizing the Workers Union in Road Transport in the State of Espírito Santo (Sindirodoviários):
“They are not complying with the judicial decision (…), not complying with the agreement of the Regional Labor Court – TRT, and once again harming the population. In this moment of pandemic agglomeration leaving the population without public transportation.”
The Union of Metropolitan Transport Companies of Greater Vitória – GVBUS (which gathers the public transport companies of the region) also spoke. In a statement, they said that the collectors have already been transferred to other positions, and also called the fair action of the workers ‘abusive’.
COLLECTORS ARE THE FIRST TO BE FIRED
The transportation service in the country is mostly done on road and mainly by bus. Workers living far from the service have to be prepared to face the precarious conditions of travel, as well as the fact that road transport is increasingly hampered by the ‘double function’ (a condition in which the worker performs both as driver and collector), something that is not restricted to the metropolitan region of Vitória.
The National Association of Urban Transport Companies – NTU – published a study that pointed out that 33 cities had completely eliminated the role of fee collector.
The data is doubly outdated, first because the entity itself states that not all systems responded to the survey; second because the study was made more than a year ago, in 2019.
The survey, even so, shows that in five municipalities payment by cash was also eliminated. In these cases, passengers have to use a card or ticket to pay the fare. In the city of Sorocaba, the collector’s station was eliminated in the 1990s. There, payment is made through card or by paying for the ticket with a QR Code (Quick Response Code) through a smartphone.
The study also shows that the collector’s station was partially eliminated in 32 municipalities. This list includes capitals such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Recife, Porto Alegre and Vitória (a place where today we see an important mobilization of workers for their rights).
Caption: This region is part of the Guarajá-Mirim State Park destroyed by landowners to raise cattle for export. Photo: Luiz Martins/ Amazon Network
Below, we reproduce an article issued by the Peasant Resistance Newspaper regarding the legalization of land grabbing by landowners of over 11 thousand hectares of land (protected areas) in Rondonia.
The reactionary governor of Rondonia, Colonel Marcos Rocha (no party), who is aligned with the extreme Bolsonarist right, wants to legalize the handing over of more than 11,000 hectares of the Jaci-Paraná Extractive Reserve and the Guajará-Mirim State Park to landowners in the region.
The blatant crime, wrongly called a “bill,” is even more scandalous than it seems. The Extractive Reserve and the State Park in question are located near the Karipuna indigenous reserve – the 9th most deforested in the country due to attacks by the latifundium. If approved, the delivery of the protected areas will further enhance the already frequent invasions of the land grabbing latifundium against the indigenous lands in the region.
The Extractive Reserve is located between the municipalities of Porto Velho, Buritis and Nova Mamoré, while the State Park occupies part of the municipalities of Guajará-Mirim and Nova Mamoré.
The interest of invading landowners to take illegal possession of the protected area dates back many years. In 2014, the rich land grabbers even tried to legally annul the creation of the Extractive Reserve, from 1998. With no success, the invaders had the audacity to ask for compensation in return for leaving the lands taken from the Union.
The intention to give the thousands of stolen hectares to the landowners of Rondonia was revealed in a speech made by the reactionary governor in a video posted on the Internet. In it, Marcos Rocha appears alongside the state’s Secretary of Environmental Development, the criminal police officer Elias Rezende de Oliveira, also of the extreme right. During the video, Bolsonarist Marcos Rocha still blatantly announces that this would be the first in a series of attacks, saying they intend to reduce the size of other reserves where there are “social and environmental conflicts.”
Thus, in a cynical and hypocritical way, the Rondonian governor indicates that the ‘resolution’ to the crimes of invasion committed by landowners is to reward those criminals with the fruit of their theft.
That is the public defense of crime! Another indisputable example of the pro-latifundium policy of the old state, rotten to the core.
At the same time that this anti-people state and the garbage press of the latifundium do not miss an opportunity to create allegations and criminalize the peasant struggle for land under the pretext of “defense of the environment,” “environmental protection,” and other deceptions, they treat the scandalous delivery of extractive areas to landowners with euphemisms like the “alteration of reserve limits” and “project to reduce reserve areas.”
It is these same agencies of the old state that persecute and criminalize landless and poor peasants in search of land, work, and housing when they organize to occupy public lands stolen by rich landowners, the agencies that devote their efforts to handing over indigenous and environmental areas to the rich landowners and their bands of gunmen.
Furthermore, these criminal measures against the Union’s property apply precisely in the region where thousands of landless people survive by working the land, where occupations by hundreds of landless peasant families, such as the Tiago dos Santos and Dois Amigos encampment, are growing. Masses of workers have bravely resisted the brutal evictions carried out by the troops of the military police to protect landowner criminals, like the well-known Antônio Martins, known as the old rooster, an element already condemned by the sharks’ own courts, for having taken land and bought a court ruling from a corrupt judge who illegally granted recognition of “productive land”, in lands of pristine forest. Not to mention the suspicious operations of army units around the União Bandeirantes, with which they aim to intimidate the population and spread rumors, defaming and accusing the LCP of crimes committed by landowners and their gunmen, authorities of the old state and its police. Likewise, after years of deforestation in Karipuna indigenous territory, and amidst clashes between landless peasants and the Union’s landowning thieves, old roosters, the federal police also carry out operations under the pretext of disbanding “gangs of land trespassers” to sell lots.