Right-wing Brazilian presidential candidate picks dictatorship-loving general as a running mate

Remember last week when we told you that there was some jibba-jabba about the possibility of Brazil sliding back into being a military dictatorship? According to Reuters, far-right leaning presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, has named a retired general as his running mate in the nation’s upcoming elections. Here’s the shit-and-giggle part: the general in question is Antonio Hamilton Mourão. He’s the same fella that told the media that there was a possibility of there being a military coup if the Brazilian government didn’t get its shit together.

From Reuters:

Bolsonaro, running as a candidate for the small Social Liberty Party (PSL), has pegged much of his candidacy on controversial remarks, whether defending of the past military dictatorship or suggesting acts of violence against homosexuals.

In an interview last year with Reuters, the candidate for the Social Liberty Party (PSL) played down Mourão’s remarks.

“It was just a warning. Nobody wants to seize power that way,” Bolsonaro said. “Maybe we could have a military man winning in 2018, but through elections.”

Bolsonaro had struggled to find a running mate as other parties tried to distance themselves from his controversial comments. Other proposed vice presidential candidates - including another general, an astronaut and a sitting senator - ultimately fell through.

Encouraging acts of violence against homosexuals and propping up the deeds of a past dictatorship. I can’t imagine why Bolsonaro was having problems finding a running mate.

Unfortunately, as we’ve learned over the past few years, having no moral compass or compassion for minorities won’t stop a dangerous bully or a dictator from coming to power during an election year. Read the rest

Brazil's ambitious anti-poverty initiative engages its youngest citizens

New research suggests that a key cause of poverty is poor parents' lack of engagement with neonates and toddlers. Brazil is trying to change that by showing parents the importance of interacting meaningfully with young children through eye contact and activities. Read the rest

Could Brazil become a military dictatorship once again?

Brazil escaped the clutches of a military dictatorship three decades ago. But fascism is really hot right now, so the nation may be about to get back on its bullshit once more.

From The New York Times:

Retired generals and other former officers with strong ties to the military leadership are mounting a sweeping election campaign, backing about 90 military veterans running for an array of posts — including the presidency — in national elections this October. The effort is necessary, they argue, to rescue the nation from an entrenched leadership that has mismanaged the economy, failed to curb soaring violence and brazenly stolen billions of dollars through corruption.

And if the ballot box does not bring change quickly enough, some prominent former generals warn that military leaders may feel compelled to step in and reboot the political system by force.

For those in Brazil old enough to have lived through the last time the country was run by a bunch of violent tools in matching slacks, it’s a worrisome notion. The last time that nation was ruled by its military, 434 people "disappeared" or were killed by Brazil’s military government, not to mention the scores tortured and abused during the dictatorship’s 21-year reign.

A lot of analysts believe that the possibility of the military taking over the Brazilian government again is remote. However, given the jump to right-wing politics, authoritarian rule, kleptocracy and dictatorships that countries like Nicaragua, Poland, Turkey, the United States and the Philippines have been wallowing in of late, anything is possible – especially in light of the nation's rising violent crime rates, a 13% unemployment rate, and a growing underground economy. Read the rest

Burning hot Portuguese cover of Sade's "Sweetest Taboo"

In 1994, Brazilian singer Vânia Bastos released this scorching cover of Sade's "Sweetest Taboo" sung in Portuguese. Most recently, the track is included on the new compilation "Onda De Amor: Synthesized Brazilian Hits That Never Were (1984​-​94)" from Soundway records.

Read the rest

Teachers on four continents stage mass strikes

In the USA, there are tens of thousands of teachers in open rebellion, in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, and things are heating up in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa and Colorado. Read the rest

A flooded river turns a jungle path into a crystal clear underwater world

The Olho D'Agua river in Bonito, Brazil flooded in early February after a heavy rain, submerging the jungle around it. You'll see in this trippy video that the river's waters are so crystal clear that the path, vegetation and foot bridge are perfectly visible underwater.

The footage was captured by a park guide at Recanto Ecologico Rio da Prata, an ecotourism group that operates in that area. They write:

This was a rare episode, and by the end of the day the river had returned to its normal level.

We would like to inform that on this date the tour operated normally until the 1st stretch, which, although it is also above normal, all the tourists left satisfied because they experienced a different and special day in the attraction!

Read the rest

Haribo: sweetened with forced labor and abused animals

In "The Haribo Check," aired on German public broadcast ARD, a documentary team audits Haribo's supply chain and finds "modern day slaves" in Brazil working to harvest carnauba wax, a key ingredient in the sweets: the plantations pay $12/day, and workers (including children) sleep out of doors, drink unfiltered river water, and have no access to toilets, under conditions that a Brazilian Labor Ministry official called "modern-day slavery." Read the rest

Watch a waterfall suck swimmers through a rock into a cave

Pedra Que Engole means "swallowing rock," an accurate name for a small Brazilian cave accessible only via waterfall. Read the rest

Why did this man pull a gun on someone else in a snack bar?

This footage, dated to August 19, 2017, shows a man (in a white tee) in line with his family at a snack bar in Brazil. There's another man (in a blue hooded sweatshirt) next in line. The family appears to be ordering their food. The man waiting in line behind them is tinkering around on his phone, as one does. All of a sudden, the man in the white tee whips out a gun and threatens the man in the blue sweatshirt.

The footage is low-res and there's no sound. What was the man in the white shirt afraid of? Perhaps they know each other and are sworn enemies?

Well, you'd never guess, but it turns out that it's a cop who thought the guy in the hooded sweatshirt looked suspicious.

At least we can take comfort in the fact this sort of thing doesn't happen in America! Read the rest

Brazil's Lula found guilty of corruption and money laundering, sentenced to 9.5 years in prison

Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been found guilty of corruption charges stemming from a scheme at the state oil company, Petrobras. He will remain free on appeal. Lula remains a very popular politician with widespread public support. Read the rest

The Malta Files: a European version of the Panama Papers, revealing a global web of corruption

On Friday, a variety of news outlets around the world published the Malta Files, a cache of 150,000 documents leaked "from a Malta-based provider of legal, financial and corporate services," revealing, among other things, that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was secretly given a $25M oil tanker (!) by Azeri billionaire Mübariz Mansimov, a "friend" of Trump's who was present at the inauguration. Read the rest

In Paraguay, the "heist of the century" is blamed on a notorious Brazilian prison-gang

50 armed men in camou flak jackets driving armored cars cordoned off the roads leading to a transportation company's office in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay (a "smugglers' haven in the border region with Brazil and Argentina"), blew the entire face of the building up with demolition equipment, stole an estimated $40M and escaped by motorboat up the Parana River. Read the rest

Hackers hijacked a bank's DNS and spent 5 hours raiding its customers' accounts

Kaspersky Labs reports that an unnamed large Brazilian financial institution with $27B in assets was compromised by hackers who took over its DNS -- by hijacking its NIC.br account -- and for 5 hours were able to impersonate the bank to all its online customers (and possibly to control its ATMs) in order to plunder their accounts and steal their credit card details. Read the rest

The neoliberal politicians who impeached Brazil's president and took over are imploding in spectacular corruption scandals

Last June, a group of business-friendly right-wing politicians staged a legal coup and had president Dilma Rousseff removed, putting convicted fraudster Michel Temer in her office, which he used as an auction-block from which to sell off his country's crown jewels at knock-down prices to his pals, while slashing public services. Read the rest

Brazilian domestic spies use Tinder to infiltrate protest movements

Brazilian Army Captain Willian Pina Botelho posed as Baltazar "Balta" Nunes in a fake Tinder profile and set out to seduce members of left wing anti-government protest movements in order to infiltrate them. Read the rest

Black Lives Matter in Rio, too

In Brazil, racial discrimination against darker-skinned people is rife; and the famous unequal society is especially tilted against black Brazilians, who are subjected to horrific summary executions by police in the favelas (squatter neighborhoods). Read the rest

Brazilian police killing often as Olympic games loom

Amnesty International reports a "huge increase" in the number of people killed by police in Rio de Janeiro in the run up to the Summer Games.

According to new figures from Brazil’s Public Security Institute, in the city of Rio alone 40 people were killed by on-duty police officers in May: an increase of 135% on the same period last year, when 17 were people killed by police. Across Rio state as a whole, police killings almost doubled, from 44 to 84.

The 2016 Olympics are shaping up to be quite the trainwreck: a government meltdown, a doping scandal that may see Russia's entire team banned, and a public health crisis likely to convince many athletes, media and tourists to stay away.

Previously: Rio: your quadrennial reminder that the Olympics colonize host-states with Orwellian surveillance and human rights abuses Read the rest

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