Note from BW of Brazil: Before I get into today’s topic, yet another tragedy, I wanted to briefly mention a message I received yesterday from a Brazilian guy. He wrote the following: “Its ok to tell our reality, but you could post more good things from the black Brazilian community. Everybody that reads this will die of fear of coming to Brazil.” And how do I respond to this? Sorry! I don’t post things here to scare away people who’ve never come to Brazil but are thinking about it. There are stories on this blog that feature beautiful women of color, people doing positive things and organizations that are doing good work. In fact, there are a number of blogs out there in English that are more dedicated to mostly positive things about the country.
But this blog must also expose the horrible things that happen. For decades, people of color that live outside of Brazil were lead to believe (because of propaganda) that racial problems didn’t exist in Brazil. I still get messages from time to time from people who speak of their experiences with (mostly white) Brazilians in the US who continue to deny the racial problems that are regularly featured here. There are also millions of Brazilians who continue to look at the United States as this great wonderland where there is an abundance of opportunity with so many great things in a rose-colored vision that they think is completely opposite to Brazil. Do the research. The US, particularly in the last decade, is no Disneyland. In fact, if one analyzes the facts objectively, they will see that many of the things that seemed to make the US such a great country are quickly collapsing right before the very eyes of many unsuspecting Americans.
In terms of the Brazilian reality, over the past few days, the media has been buzzing over the latest bloodbath and multiple deaths, this time from the northern state of Pará. In an unfortunate night of fear, chaos and disregard for life of the sort that has been featured in numerous previous posts, we bring yet another example of the violent realities of life in Brazil.
A bloodbath and panic in Belém: nine people are dead after murder of a Military Police soldier
A night of panic and extreme violence in the capital city of Pará: A massacre left residents terrified and terror spread itself through social networks.
Nine people were killed late on Tuesday night (4) in six districts of Belém, said the secretary of Public Security of Pará, Luiz Fernandes, at a press conference on Wednesday (5). Initially, the Military Police had reported that there were seven dead. The crimes occurred after the Military Police corporal Antônio Marcos da Silva Figueiredo, 43, was shot to death near the street where he lived. The cases are being investigated by the Homicide Division of the Civil Police to verify the relation between them. At least six deaths have characteristics of an execution.
The corporal Antônio Figueiredo was killed around 7:30pm Tuesday at Rua Augusto Corrêa, in the neighborhood of Guama. He was coming home, according to Sergeant Silva Dias when he was approached by three men who shot him.
The criminals fled and, until the publication of this text had not yet been arrested. According to Colonel Braga of Military Police internal affairs, Figueiredo was responding to a common process in court for murder. He was away from activities due to a health problem.
After the death of the PM, on Tuesday night, there began to circulate information in social networks that there had been a massacre occurring in the suburbs of the city, and that dozens of people had already been killed. The Centro de Perícias Científicas Renato Chaves (Renato Chaves Center for Scientific Forensics) reported that the identification of the bodies would be made in the morning with the arrival of families to assist in the work. All the victims are men.
Several audios and videos of the alleged gunshots being fired were published on the Internet and shared among residents of Belém. Some profiles attributed to police summoned a “massacre”. A voicemail came to be shared by the WhatsApp application in which a person asked that residents of the Guama neighborhood not leave the house because a policeman had been killed and they would make a “limpeza” (clean-up) in the area.
On the morning of Wednesday, other information attributed to criminals said there would be a “revanche” (rematch). Many residents are afraid to leave their homes. At 9:30am, the hashtags #chacinaembelem, #guama #belem and were among the most talked about topics on the social network Twitter.
The Department of Public Safety (Segup) reported that the information circulating in the social networks are not true, including photos of dead people from the Kiss club (fire in January 2013) saying they were the from the “chacina” (massacre) in Belém were used. The Segup also said that people who are spreading false information will be punished.
According to Segup, four of the deaths occurred Tuesday night in the neighborhood of Terra Firme, one in Marco, one in Guamá, one in Jurunas, one in Sideral and one in the Tapanã. The General Command of the Military Police put the Magistrate of the corporation into motion to investigate the allegations relating to the case and also ordered reinforcement of teams through the Special Missions Command and the intelligence service of the Military Police.
The Secretary of Public Security also informed that all the victims are men and at least six have characteristics of summary execution. At the press conference, the Secretary confirmed that there was no confrontation with police and no deaths during the operation to find the killers of the Military Police corporal.
Police investigations revealed that the assassins arrived by motorcycle and with helmets in the execution of most of the people. The Magistrate of the Military Police would not rule out nor confirm the participation of members of MP in these crimes.
The General Commander, Colonel Daniel Mendes, put the inter-agency bureau of public security into action to monitor and control the situation.
Gaby Amarantos criticizes alleged involvement in of MPs in killings; Amnesty International calls for investigation
Born in Belém, the singer Gaby Amarantos could not contain herself and vented hours after a massacre had taken the lives of at least nine people late on Tuesday (4) in five districts of the state capital. There are suspicions that the murders were committed by Military Police in revenge for the death of a fellow police soldier.
The singer lamented on her Facebook page that the dead were “young blacks, gays, lives, working people, innocent.”
Translation of Amarantos post above: “I am outraged by the slaughter that happened yesterday in the periphery of Belém, many killed, among them young blacks, gays, lives, working people, innocent and my city has become one of the most dangerous places in Brazil. We need attention from government officials need and I live in the periphery, so all my family and I feel this is up close, I don’t want to move from my city but I make an appeal to the authorities.”
She also did not spare criticism of the authorities, who must fulfill their role of “providing security” and not promoting what she herself called “cleaning” in the periphery.
Translation of Amarantos post above: “The boy in white cap was gay, and was known by the nickname “carequinha” (little bald one) and was one of the victims of yesterday, was celebrating his birthday when he was approached and mistaken for a criminal, innocent and with no prior record and others were also murdered among 1 police soldier and criminals. I am here asking that AUTHORITIES fulfill their roles and give us security, now if you think that the solution to the “cleansing” of society is KILLING, then you are also complicit in the violence. This is not advocating crime or criminalizing the defender but expressing myself in the face of a deplorable act, I need not expose my social actions to anyone and I know that crimes like this happen every day, but I will not be indifferent pretending nothing happened because it’s ugly for our state. I cry for PEACE and send my love and prayers to the families of the victims!”
The severity of the case made the Amnesty International organization divulge a public statement on Wednesday (5), in which it called for “the immediate and independent investigation of the massacre.”
“Amnesty International further calls on the Federal Government to monitor the case and government officials in the state of Pará take all necessary measures to ensure the immediate safety of the residents of the neighborhoods where the killings occurred,” adds the post.
Until the evening of Wednesday, more than 15 hours past the murders, the federal government had not issued an announcement on the slaughter that took place in the state capital.
In social networks, other Military officers asked for revenge for their murdered colleague, as shown on a page of Rondas Ostensivas Táticas Metropolitanas (ROTAM or Rounds Metropolitan Ostensivas Tactics) or Pará.
As reported to Amnesty International, reports from residents indicate the actions of hooded men, who closed the entrances and exits of neighborhoods using MP vehicles of Pará. Videos posted on the internet show the despair and violence of the slaughter in Belém.
In a statement, the government of Pará said “they were investigating the circumstances and perpetrators of these murders” and that the participation of MPs in the crimes are being determined by internal affairs of the corporation.