For black leaders of heavily Afro-Brazilian state of Bahia, Marina Silva being black and female is not enough; activists lay out 16-point agenda

Presidential candidate Marina Silva recently met with black leaders in the state of Bahia
Presidential candidate Marina Silva recently met with black leaders in the state of Bahia

Note from BW of Brazil: With only four days remaining before Brazilians head to the polls for the first of a probable two votes, according to recent polls, the PSB presidential candidate has lost much ground in her attempt to become Brazil’s first black and second female president. According to the latest numbers, Marina’s percentages of voting intentions continues to slide as the Workers’ Party (PT) incumbent Dilma Rousseff has increased her lead over Silva by a count of 40% to 25% with the surging PSDB’s Aécio Neves gaining ground at 20%. As previously reported here, due to some of stances and political allegiances, many black leaders have expressed suspicion of of her candidacy and her recent meeting with Afro-Brazilians in black majority state of Bahia will reveal a lot about her reception with a population that has strongly supported nearly 12 years of PT policies. Although leaders admit that her being a woman, defining herself as black and of poor origin are valuable assets, these traits are not enough for her to earn the support of a population that has long been ignored in Brazilian politics. People vote for parties that appear to have their best interests on their agenda and so far Silva hasn’t been able to prove that she’s in their corner. 

Marina being female and black of Marina is not enough for blacks in Bahia

From the newsroom, with information from the A Tarde newspaper by Cleidiana Ramos

Recently in Salvador, Bahia, Marina Silva met with leaders of the black community to discuss her proposals
Recently in Salvador, Bahia, Marina Silva met with leaders of the black community to discuss her proposals

Salvador – The fact that the former senator Marina Silva (PSB) self-declares herself the “first black woman from a poor background”, with chances to win the presidency of the Republic, was not enough that the Movimento Negro (black movement) of Bahia, that it would opt in a unified way in regards to her candidacy in the race with President Dilma Rousseff (PT) who is running for re-election.

In two meetings held in recent days, the division became explicit with names like João Jorge Rodrigues of the organization Olodum, and Vovô, of the organization Ilê Aiyê, making the choice for Dilma – who leads in the polls – and others like Zulu Araújo, former president of the Fundação Palmares (Palmares Foundation), and councilman Sylvio Humberto (PSB), of the Instituto Steve Biko, declaring support for Marina Silva.

A meeting that took place on Wednesday (9.24), at the headquarters of Ilê served for the disclosure of a letter of support from supporters for Rousseff’s re-election. Meeting participants – mostly black leaders of the PT (Workers’ Party) and PC do B Communist Party of Brazil), connected respectively to CONEN (Coordenação Nacional de Entidades Negras or National Coordination of Black Entities) and UNEGRO (União de Negros pela Igualdade or Union of Negros for Equality), of the governing Movimento Negro – adhere to the campaign without presenting any demands, nor holding anyone responsible for commitment to historic banner issues that the movement itself has pushed.

Blacks with Dilma

The justification for adherence to Dilma, was that “at stake is not just an electoral dispute, but political projects,” as Gilberto Leal, of CONEN said during the meeting. “Our choice is for whoever has closer conquests to the banner issues that we historically stand for,” said Leal, an outspoken critic of the management of the sociologist Luiza Bairros at the head of the Special Secretariat for Policies to Promote Racial Equality (SEPPIR), of the Presidency of Republic.

The President of Olodum, João Jorge Rodrigues, although affiliated to the PSB (Marina Silva’s party), not only joined the campaign for Dilma’s re-election as he attacked the candidate of his party. “My party, the PSB, in which she came in because she could not create her own, in 1947 fought for religious freedom, an issue that she does not understand, as well as gathering support for someone like Marco Feliciano that does enormous harm to human rights,” he said, omitting that the Rede Sustentabilidade (Sustainability Network) – Marina’s party – has been frustrated by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) amid allegations made ​​by the candidate herself of interference of the Federal Government, concerned that there was not time for its legalization for the electoral dispute of this year.

Blacks with Marina

On Saturday (9/20), black Bahian leaders linked to the PSB candidate received Marina and launched a manifesto in which they reported having discussed at the meeting, “confronting racism, the defense of racial equality, combating religious intolerance, ensuring the mainstreaming of government policy, central to the defense of the Republican, secular state and respect for ethnic and racial diversity.”

Further ensuring they guaranteed that Marina made ​​commitments to these causes and expressed support for the candidate, presenting a text with proposals.

In this sense, new government actions that ensure public policies in progress and ensure ongoing dialogue with the black Brazilian community, actions that preserve the autonomy of the Movimento Negro, treating it with dignity and respect, recognizing the plurality and diversity existing in it are necessary – imperative in a democratic environment in which we live – to ensure their participation in all decisions relating to the promotion of racial equality in the country.

We want a government that dialogues with all forms of expression of Brazilian negritude, regardless of the policy matrix to which it is linked or the religious denomination to which it belongs. Similarly, we want a government that is a partner of these organizations in all actions aimed at eradicating racial inequalities in Brazil, particularly in relation to black Brazilian youth who have been victim of genocide. We want a clear commitment to the future government that is, on one side, maintain the achievements to date, particularly racial quotas for black men and women in universities, by means of a strong program of permanence of these young people in higher education, and on the other, that steps leading to the acceleration of the process of promoting racial equality in Brazil are adopted, as the effectiveness of public tenders, with racial quotas, already approved by the National Congress.

Black leaders presented the candidate with a list of issues important to the black community
Black leaders presented the candidate with a list of issues important to the black community

That confront racism and to promote racial equality in Brazil are an integral part of the design of a fraternal and egalitarian nation, for strategic and sustainable development. Proposals:

1) Support for the creation of the National Fund to Combat Racism: an instrument that should centralize and coordinate the resources of the federal government for the implementation of public policies needed to combat racism, funding and promoting actions in partnerships with civil society organizations in the field of human rights, the Movimento Negro and anti-racism.

2) Religious Intolerance: ensure the full exercise of religious freedom in the country, inalienable constitutional rights of Brazilian citizens. (Art.5-VI). Combat and punish in an exemplary manner all those (individuals and institutions) that promote or exercise religious intolerance in Brazil, in particular against the religions of African origin, by means of national and educational campaigns.

3) Auto de resistência (Auto resistance or resistance of arrest): extinguishing of auto resistance, one of the most nefarious tools used by the Brazilian government, through the police force, in conflict with society, particularly against poor black youth of the country, which has contributed greatly to the impunity of crimes committed by police officers, and in defense of citizen police.

4) Secretariat for the Promotion of Policies of Racial Equality – SEPPIR: ensure the permanence of this institutional space as well as provide it with human, material and budgetary resources so that it can meet its objectives for the articulation of public policies promoting racial equality in the governmental environment.

5) Law 10.639/2003 and Law 11,645/08: monitor compliance of said Law, as well as expand the training of teachers by the Ministry of Education, with the goal of training all teachers in the elementary and middle school for teaching of Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous History and Culture.

6) Quotas in the University: maintaining the Quota System in Brazilian higher education and expansion of permanence of cotista (quota students) programs in universities. Adopting, also, actions to encourage and guarantee the equitable participation of black students in the Ciência sem Fronteiras (Science without Borders) program.

7) Quilombos: provide INCRA the technical conditions and human resources needed to accelerate the procedures for elaboration of technical reports of delimitation of the remaining quilombo territories and subsequent titration.

8) Black Youth: Combating violence against black youth through inclusion programs for the first job, full-time schools, access to cultural goods and support the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, proposed by Senator Lidice da Mata, of Bahia, to investigate the causes of the true extermination of black youth in the country.

9) Black women: contribute to the overcoming of all forms of institutional violence that affect black women, as well as the strengthening and expanding of their participation in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of public policies.

10) Capoeira: guaranteeing the regulation of the practice of the condition of Teacher and Mestre (Master) of Capoeira, ensuring the inclusion of capoeira in schools, according to Article 26/A of the LDB and tLaw 10.639/2003 and support to the non-subordination of Capoeira to the Federal Council of Physical Education.

11) Cultura Negra (Black Cultura): enlarge the budget (assuming the commitment of non- contingency) of the Fundação Cultural Palmares (Palmares Cultural Foundation) and promoting public competitions in order that this institution has the technical, human and budgetary resources necessary for the fulfillment of its mission to preserve, develop and disseminate cultural manifestations of African origin in Brazil.

12) Health of the black population: ensuring the resources necessary to expand the Health Program of the black population, in particular the prevention and monitoring Sickle Cell Diseases in Brazil.

13) Exchange: creation of Afro Latino and Caribbean Observatory, as well as holding festivals, meetings and other activities to intensify the ongoing exchange of information among Latin American and African countries in the Black Diaspora, thus contributing to exchange of experiences and to the advancement of racial equality in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Africa.

14) Environmental Racism: ensuring public policies that guarantee the sustainability and combating environmental injustices against the black population.

15) Work and Diversity: to ensure, within the federal public service environment, state-owned enterprises in mixed economies controlled by the union, private companies encouraged by the federal government, respect for ethnic and racial diversity in the occupation of positions and functions of direction, and fostering economic entrepreneurship of the black population, from the expansion of tax incentives and special lines of credit aimed at the qualification of this segment.

16) Intensify the economic relations between Brazil and the African and Caribbean countries, encouraging the participation of Afro-Brazilians in business through diversity and encourage the training of staff for operations in foreign trade.

Source: AfropressÚltimo Segundo

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. A lot of white racists in the United States said that President Obama could never be elected President. During the 2008 and 2012 US Presidential Elections, the African-American community in the US came out in record numbers and voted for President Obama. I encourage all Afro-Brazilians to unite around Marina Silva and fight racism! One day, Brazil could have a Black President if Afro-Brazilians get out and vote!

    • I understand your point but at the same time the Obama effect has been one of the greatest deceptions for African-Americans of all-time. Because he is black and apparently qualified, African-Americans supported him overwhelmingly although he made NO promises to them. African-Americans didn’t request anything from him and he has done basically done nothing for black Americans. Afro-Brazilians would gladly vote for Marina, but many see her as a trap of the “new right”. She may declare herself as black, but she doesn’t represent black interests. Dilma is not black, but blacks have made major gains under Dilma and Lula and the last 12 years of the PT. African-Americans should really see Obama for what really he is.

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