Bolsonaro supporters storm Brazilian congress
Crowds supporting former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro on Jan. 8 infiltrated and vandalized the country's seats of power, one week after the inauguration of left-wing President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva. Demonstrators smashed the windows of the the National Congress building and stormed its senate chamber. Protesters then breached the Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF), entering the main courtroom clad in Brazillian flags. Many also forced their way into the Planalto Palace, the presidential building. In an event eerily reminiscent of the January 2020 attack on the US Capitol, a large mass of protesters could be seen gathering outside the National Congress building while others streamed into its hallways and chamber. Protests have also been reported outside the country's Presidential Palace. Clashes between police and protesters have been reported, but one journalist tweeted a video of what appears to be a Federal District Military Police officer taking a selfie with demonstrators.
Brazil: cyberattack on 'Democracy Manifesto'
Faculty at the University of São Paulo produced a "Manifesto for Democracy" in response to threats by President Jair Bolsonaro not to respect the results of Brazil's upcoming elections if he loses. The letter was released and read aloud at an event at the university on Aug. 11—the date of the release of a similar manifesto in 1977, opposing the military dictatorship then in power. The letter has accrued more than 800,000 signatures. However, the day before the manifesto's release, the computer system collecting the signatures was debilitated by a "distributed denial of service" (DDoS) attack. The IP addresses indicated that the attack originated in Russia. (Brazilian Report)
Econo-protests sweep Argentina
Argentina has seen weeks of mass protests in response to a rapidly deepening economic crisis. Prices for basic goods are skyrocketing, leaving many struggling to make ends meet. The protest wave began on Argentina's independence day, July 9, when thousands marched on the presidential palace. Dubbed the "Argentinazo," the mobilization was held in Buenos Aires and cities across the country. Last week, center-left President Alberto Fernández named his second new economy minister in less than a month, as his own coalition has fractured over how to handle the burdensome national debt.
Argentina: state liable for 1924 massacre
A federal judge in Argentina's Chaco province on May 19 ruled that the national state bears responsibility for the 1924 massacre of some 500 indigenous laborers in the region, and ordered that reparation measures be instated. On July 19, 1924, national police and vigilantes linked to the area's landowners fired on a large group of indigenous protesters, who were marching over harsh conditions on the cotton plantations where they had been reduced to forced labor. A case seeking justice in the Napalpí Massacre was brought by Argentina's Secretariat of Human Rights and the local Chaqueño Aboriginal Institute. The verdict was read in the indigenous languages Qom and Moqoit as well as Spanish. (Secretaría de Derechos Humanos, BBC Mundo)
Chile: Boric faces Mapuche challenge
Gabriel Boric, a young leftist lawmaker and former student protest leader from Punta Arenas, is celebrating his victory over far-right rival José Antonio Kast in Chile's Dec. 19 presidential run-off election. His declaration "La esperanza le ganó al miedo" (Hope triumphed over fear) has gone viral over social media in the South American country. He was the candidate of Apruebo Dignidad (Approve Dignity), a new coalition that came together to press for progressive reforms under Chile's new constitution. The constitutional redrafting process was set in motion by incumbent President Sebastian Piñera in response to a wave of popular protest two years ago. (TeleSur, NYT, The Wire, Al Jazeera)
Paraguay violates indigenous rights: UN committee
Paraguay's failure to prevent toxic contamination of an indigenous people's traditional lands by commercial farming violates their rights and sense of "home," the UN Human Rights Committee found in a landmark ruling Oct. 13. The Committee, made up of 18 independent experts from across the world, monitors countries' adherence to the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights. The decision on Paraguay marks the first time it has affirmed that for indigenous peoples, "home" should be understood in the context of their special relationship with their territories, including their livestock, crops and way of life.
Chile: new escalation in Mapuche country
A group of masked armed men calling themselves Mapuche Territory Resistance seized control of Malleco National Reserve in Chile's La Araucanía region Oct. 9, occupying the administrative offices and releasing a video of the action in which they declare their readiness to resist "any violent act on the part of the State." The statement accused the Chilean Forestry Corporation (CONAF), which runs the reserve, of "usurpation" of traditional Mapuche lands and opening them to timber exploitation. President Sebastian Piñera responded by lodging a criminal complaint against the occupiers and demanding their eviction.
Argentina: anti-mining protesters chase off president
Protesters against a mining project pelted stones at the vehicle of Argentina's President Alberto Fernández on a visit to southern Chubut province March 13, forcing him to flee the scene. The incident took place at the pueblo of Lago Puelo, in an area recently affected by devastating forest fires. Fernández was assailed as soon as he tried to step out of the car, with protesters chanting slogans against both him and provincial governor Mariano Arcioni. Fernández cut short his tour, and after escaping the confrontation was whisked from the area by Federal Police helicopter. The Chubut provincial legislature is considering a measure to allow Canadian firm Pan American Silver to move ahead with its $1 billion Navidad mining project, but the vote has been held up by protest mobilizations by communities opposed the project, under the slogan "No is no." (Europa Press, Diario Junio, Entre Rios)
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