Note from BW of Brazil: As outrage, protests and media attention focuses on the murders of African-Americans Eric Garner and Michael Brown and subsequent lack of justice in the cases, the northeastern state of Bahia is facing the silent murders, kidnappings and disappearances of numerous black youth in this primarily Afro-Brazilian state. Bahia is arguably in a state of emergency as the black bodies continue to turn up dead, often being mutilated and/or shot, or not turning up at all in what has the markings of an organized campaign of genocide. This ongoing war on the black body has been covered on this blog since its inception, but we continue to ask, where is the international outrage? It seems that males of African descent are under siege and thus the time has come for the international afrodescendente (African descendant) community to stand in solidarity on this issue.
Bahia: parents of dead or missing youth report dramas
by Vladimir Platonow
Mothers and fathers denounce to Amnesty International a series of crimes of murder, kidnapping and disappearance of black youth in Salvador and other cities in the state of Bahia (Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil) Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil
Five mothers and one father of missing or dead youth in Bahia in recent years reported, on Thursday (4), to Amnesty International (AI), in Rio de Janeiro, the dramas experienced. They asked for help to solve the cases, they claim, have not received due attention by the government of Bahia.
In all the cases, the young people are black and from humble families. Mostly, there are witness reports of police or experienced involvement. In almost all cases, the investigations were inconclusive, without pointing the authorship or locating the young people, to the dismay of parents who don’t know to this day if their children are alive or dead.
The latest drama is that of Ruth Silva, mother of Davi Fiúza, 16. She reported that her child was picked up when he was observing a police operation on the 24th of October, in the Vila Verde neighborhood of Salvador. “Suddenly he was hooded, had his hands and feet tied together and thrown into an unmarked car. There were many police cars around, according to witnesses. Since then, I have tried all legal and judiciary means, went to the morgue, in the fields [of corpses], but nothing,” she said.
The case of Davi Fiúza motivated the AI to report the situation to the United Nations (UN), as well as other young people, until today missing, to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OEA).
Another David, with the surname of Alves, had a similar fate. The son of the vendor Iracema Barreiros Alves, he was seized by the police, at age 17, on December 6, 2013, in Salvador. Alves was, according to his mother, in the company of two other minors, with the driver nit having a license. He was released, but was never seen again.
“He was taken to the Minor Offender police station and then to the Fundação Casa. I got a call to come get my son, but when I got there they said he was already going home, only that he never arrived. I went back and they he had been released with the father of another minor, that left him in another place. How did they release my son to someone else?” asked Iracema.
The son of Antônio Carlos Borges de Carvalho, Jackson Antônio, ended up dead on June 23, 2013, in Itacaré, a beach town 150 kilometers south of Salvador, and to this day no one knows why. “My son was brutally murdered at age 15. He was judo fighter since the age of 7, surfed and attended the first year of a tour guide technical course. The body was found by me, buried in a hole, upside down, with his legs cut off at the knee and shot in the head. Until today, I haven’t had access to the investigation. The police chief put it in confidentiality of the court,” said Carvalho.
Cleonice Oliveira, mother of Jean Carlos Oliveira da Silva, 20, said her son was kidnapped along with two youth, the brothers Luis Ricardo, 20, and Sérgio Luis Nascimento, 28, on May 16, 2013, after the house was invaded by the Companhia de Operações Especiais (COE or Special Operations Company) of the Military Police. “They were handcuffed and hooded, at dawn, in the house where they lived, and placed in vehicles. For a year and seven months we haven’t had any more information. There is no investigation. We want to know where they are. That’s what drives us.”
The teacher Lucimoura Santos, mother of Sérgio Luís and Luís Ricardo, still awaits news of her children: “They took them and to this day I have no information on their whereabouts. But we hope that they are alive.”
Ana Lucia da Conceição Silva, mother of Matheus Silva Souza, 19, is another that hasn’t seen her child again. “He left home saying he was going to an internet cafe on May 10, 2012. So far, I have no news. I learned that my son was caught by police and tortured in the Itaigara neighborhood in Salvador. He was with two colleagues, who ran [after seeing the police]. He stopped, to justify himself. Then they shot him in the leg and threw him in the trunk of the car. Until this day, I do not know what happened. The disappeared my son. “
Hamilton Borges, militant of the Quilombo X Ação Comunitária (Quilombo x Community Action) organization and the Campanha Reaja (React Campaign), said the goal of the entities is to fight the death squads, police brutality and the current logic of public safety in the state. “Being black, young and poor is a death sentence in Bahia. Police stops are lethal. People are being told by families not to go out into the streets. We live in a big jail, where there’s torture, killings and disappearances that, in truth, are kidnappings,” Hamilton said.
He claimed that the Bahian government has not created any mechanism to combat death squads or police brutality, which would lead to the Bahian police being the third biggest killer in the country, in absolute numbers. In addition, Hamilton said there is a racial component in the stops.
“If the police find a white boy of the upper middle class smoking marijuana, they take him home to his parents, saying that he was making a mistake. If a black boy is just wearing a cap, a tattoo, they kill and disappear him.”
Sought for a statement on the cases, especially the latest, David Fiúza, the Department of Public Safety of Bahia said in a statement that all necessary measures are being taken. It said that various aspects are being investigated, including that of police. Those who were on duty on the day of the disappearance are being heard in the investigation. The secretariat also reported that in the period 2013-2014, 104 police officers were laid off, thanks to the work of internal affairs.
Source: Agência Brasil