How far will Cabral’s Military Police go?

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(after molotov was thrown, likely by undercover police, aka “P2”)

“The cravings of Sergio Cabral, governor of Rio de Janeiro, of making his successor in the State government and contemplating that part of the population that applauds BOPE when they gun-down drug traffickers in Complexo do Alemão is taking Rio de Janeiro along a dangerous road. Cabral’s recent acts and declarations have revealed a despotic facet of the governor and, apparently, serve as a licence for the Military Police to expand the authoritarianism they employ in the favelas to the wealthiest neighborhoods of the Fluminense capital.

After last week’s riot in Leblon, the most expensive per square meter in Brazil, Cabral diagnosed the vandalism problem in Rio de Janeiro in the same way as Arab dictators — placing the blame on “international organizations”. As it happens in the Middle East, attributing the violence to the foreigner isn’t a simple diagnostic error. It’s a device to exempt their own government from any responsibility for what’s occurring.

In the same speech, given last Friday, Cabral promised an “answer to society”. The answer came via the Special Commission of Investigation of Acts of Vandalism in Public Manifestations (CEIV, in Portuguese). The so-called CEIV was created on the 19th of July, by way of the decree 44.302, published in the Diário Oficial of the State on Monday, the 22nd. The text that the commission created (here in its entirety, in PDF) has alarming authoritarian contours (not to mention it’s illegal, PT).

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In Article 3, Cabral determines that all “solicitations and determinations of the CEIV” have “absolute priority” above any other request sent to public or private bodies. In a single paragraph, Cabral obligates telephone companies and ISPs to follow requests by the CEIV in a “maximum timeframe of 24 hours”. It’s not clear if questions like the Pope’s security or a problem in a hospital, for example, will be put to the side in detriment of combating vandalism, or if the telephone/Internet companies have the right to appeal the CEIV’s orders.

More worrying is Article 2 of the commission’s creation. According to the decree, the CEIV can “take all actions necessary to carry out the investigation of acts of vandalism, and may request information, conduct investigations and perform any acts necessary to the conduct of criminal proceedings for the purpose of punishing wrongful acts under public demonstrations.” This text, as Bernardo Santoro on his blog Instituto Liberal reminded us, opens it up to anything, through not being clear on what “all necessary actions” means. Can the CEIV declare prison sentences, do illegal wiretapping and torture suspects, for example?

In the best of hypothesis, the text is a disaster provoked by haste and by the lack of knowledge of those who wrote it. In the worst, it’s a reflection of the climate, inflated by the government of Rio, of “anything goes against vandalism”.

Reflections of the climate have been observed. On Friday, the newspaper O Globo published an interview with the sociologist Paulo Baía, in which he commented on the riot in Leblon. “The police saw crime occurring and didn’t act. The message of the police was the following: now I’m going to give a smack-down on everyone”, said Baía. On that very Friday, the sociologist suffered a lightning kidnapping in the Aterro do Flamengo. “In the car, they passed along the message and nothing else. They said I shouldn’t give any other interviews like todays at O Globo and to not say anything else about the Military Police, because, if I did, it would be the last interview I’d give in my life”, said Baía.” – Carta Capital (PT, more here)

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Mayor supports AfroReggae

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“I’m an optimist. Time and again, despite my age, I still have flashes of utopic hope of a more dignified life for the Carioca.

One of these rare moments from last weekend.

What happened was the following: the State Government considers that some favelas in Rio are pacified. Without a trace of the old drug traffickers or militia that, in fact, governed the communities. Among them are the favelas that make up the Complexo do Alemão. Cabral — and his Secretary of Safety — consider the region “pacified”, free from the truculence of traffickers. A sad untruth. In spite of the existing UPP in Alemão, the NGO AfroReggae received orders from the traffickers to close out their activities at the community center there, which benefited 350 children, with art workshops at the principal activity.

While the State Government kept mum on the announcement that the NGO would stop operating in the favela, the mayor Eduardo Paes personally went to the location and said the Mayor’s Office would assume all of AfroReggae’s activities, with an attitude that I would define as “macho”. He personally confronted the orders of the traffickers. And even donated some land to Renê Silva, responsible for the newspaper Voz da Comunidade, to rebuild the new headquarters. The old one was located in the AfroReggae building and was burned down in an act that until now is considered criminal by the NGO’s directors.

Paes was also elegant. He said the pacification process of Alemão wouldn’t reverse, an affirmation that should have been made by those responsible for the security of the State, or rather, the governor. It was a way he found that wouldn’t leave Cabral in an uncomfortable situation.

“Paes’ political bravado” is what the political adversaries of the Mayor’s Office, of which I include myself, might say. It may be. But he fulfilled a role that’s of an authority: he went to the place of conflict and invoked the power given him. If he is going to manage to keep this attitude or not, we will see in the next few weeks.

The quick action of Eduardo Paes as a constituted authority imposing itself is encouraging. Leaving his office to show his face in a conflict zone should be common in a democracy. Paes inaugurated the posture of a statesman of Rio. One point for him.” – CartaCapital (PT)

A Little More Patience

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I was reading a Brazilian newspaper the other day when I noticed a new phrase used in the comments section of an article. The phrase was “ter paciência de Jó” (to have the patience of Job, which apparently is a phrase in English, too) and it means to have a lot of patience. The origin of the phrase is in the Bible (James 5.11) and refers to Job’s refusal to condemn God in the face of losing his family and livestock. It is said that obtaining patience is the hardest, yet most rewarding, of the seven heavenly virtues, thus why having the patience of Job means having it in good measure.

For those in need of patience (or a relaxing tune), I thought I’d share one of Lenine’s songs called “Paciência”, with the translated lyrics below. Before starting, I thought it important to mention the meaning of two phrases. One is “faço hora” (from “fazer hora”, which is an informal way to say “to delay“). The other is “vou na valsa“. This comes from the phrase “vai-da-valsa” which basically means “to live it up” while “ir no vai-da-valsa” means to let things happen as they may. Here’s an example of the phrase, “Jack Nicholson no filme The Bucket List, vive na base do vai-da-valsa.” (Jack Nicholson in the film The Bucket List lives life based on the spur of the moment). I wouldn’t say it is a common phrase but I go by the motto that all phrases learned are good phrases. On to the song!

Mesmo quando tudo pede
Um pouco mais de calma
Até quando o corpo pede
Um pouco mais de alma
A vida não para…

Even when everything requires
a little more calmness
Even when the body requires
a little more soul
Life doesn’t stop…

Enquanto o tempo
Acelera e pede pressa
Eu me recuso faço hora*
Vou na valsa*
A vida é tão rara…

While time
goes faster and asks us to rush
I refuse I delay
I take things as they come
Life is so rare…

Enquanto todo mundo
Espera a cura do mal
E a loucura finge
Que isso tudo é normal
Eu finjo ter paciência…

While everybody
waits for a cure for everything bad
And craziness pretends
that all of this is normal
I pretend to have patience…

O mundo vai girando
Cada vez mais veloz
A gente espera do mundo
E o mundo espera de nós
Um pouco mais de paciência…

The world keeps spinning
going slower and slower
We hope from the world
and the world hopes from us
for a little more patience…

Será que é tempo
Que lhe falta pra perceber ?
Será que temos esse tempo
Pra perder?
E quem quer saber ?
A vida é tão rara
Tão rara…

Is it that time
is too short to perceive?
Do we have this time
to lose?
And who wants to know?
Life is so rare
So rare…

São Paulo and Rio have the highest bus fares

Continuing my coverage of the São Paulo protests, here’s a piece by Folha on research regarding bus fares across 12 cities.

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The infographic relates to how many minutes the citizen of each of the 12 cities listed above has to work in order to afford the bus. It was likely done in multiples of 100, as opposed to 60 (seconds/minutes), for calculation purposes.

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“Last week was marked by the protests against bus fare increases throughout the country; it seems the protests originating in São Paulo are writing a chapter for the history books.

But is it possible that our bus fares are so expensive? We researched the price of bus fares in 10 cities around the world and compared them with Rio and São Paulo, where the protests were the most intense. Many analyses look at the prices in the local currency and convert them into dollars. These results show the same conclusion: Brazil is far from being the place with the most expensive fares — São Paulo and Rio are the cheapest, compared to those of London, Tokyo, Ottawa, New York, Lisbon, Paris and Madrid.

This type of analysis is superficial because it doesn’t take into account the average wage; in other words, one dollar in one country being easier to earn than in another. A more correct approach is to take into account the price of the fare in minutes worked, considering, therefore, the average wage and the hours worked in each city. Upon classifying the prices by the wages, São Paulo and Rio have the highest bus fares.

The resident of São Paulo has to work 14 minutes to pay to use the bus. For a resident of Rio, it’s 13 minutes. They’re higher than the 4 minutes worked by Chinese citizens. Perhaps the protesters aren’t actually against the R$ 0.20 increase in the bus fare, but rather they’re against a means of transport that doesn’t measure up to what can be found around the world.

As Enrique Peñalosa, the ex-Mayor of Bogotá, would say, “an advanced city is not one where the poor are using cars, but one where the rich are using public transportation”. What’s happening here seems to be the opposite.” – Source (PT)

The 1958 São Paulo Protests

In addition to my São Paulo protests post, I translated this article from Estadão’s archives.

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“At the end of November 1958, residents of São Paulo went to sleep with one bus fare and woke up with another. At the end of that day the city went to sleep with four protesters dead, dozens wounded and 150 vehicles destroyed. The bus riders only found out about the readjustment when they found, on the morning of the 30th, announcements on the windshields of the buses and trolleys with the new fare on it. With the increase in the still of the night, the bus fares went from Cr$ 3.50 to Cr$ 5.00, and the trolleys went from Cr$ 2.50 to Cr$ 3.00 (the monetary note of the time was the cruzeiro, with the symbol Cr$). Aware of the possible reactions, the mayor Adhemar de Barros sent armed police to many of the city’s bus stops. On the days of the protests, Barros was in Rio de Janeiro.

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The first reaction by the population was to complain. But at 10:30am news started to arrive about the first bus and trolley paralyzations by students which went throughout the day. The students of the Liceu Pasteur school stopped a trolley on its last stop in Vila and the other was stopped by students of Mackenzie University on Rua Maria Antonia. During the whole of the morning and afternoon the protests were peaceful. To prove it, Mackenzie students set up a chess table in front of a stopped trolley car.

But the paralyzations took a turn during the evening, when there was more need of public transport. The students had already blocked the buses from making their rounds on Avenida São João. At the same time the shop owners were closing their doors, someone shattered the windows of the Olido movie theater. In several parts of the city the protesters emptied the buses, in others, like at the 14 Bis plaza, the fare inspectors of the now-extinct Metropolitana de Transportes Coletivos Company (CMTC) instructed the bus drivers to go back to their garages.

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With the bus stops more and more overcrowded with people, the Civil Guards were sent to disperse the protesters and to free up the circulation of the vehicles at the Praça da Sé and the Praça Clóvis, the two busiest terminals at the time. The soldiers carried with them, aside from real ammunition, blanks and smoke bombs. When the troops from the Guard Battalion and the Cavalry arrived, around 6pm, they were greeted with sticks and stones by the protesters and they couldn’t stop the buses from being destroyed and put on fire. At 9pm, without being able to disperse the crowd, the troops received orders to shoot rounds into the air. The result was 4 dead, three by bullets, and dozens wounded and arrested.

To clear out downtown, the Mayor’s Office had trucks from the Mogiana Company, from the Department of Water and Sewage and the Department of Highways, to transport people free of cost.

Authorities. Only at 9pm, when the movement had dominated the city, did the authorities meet at the Campos Elísios Palace. At the meeting was the governor Carvalho Pinto, chief of staff Quintanilha Ribeiro, and the Secretary of Justice, Pedroso Horta. On the way out of the meeting, on a televised interview, Horta justified the increase with a reminder that one of Adhemar de Barros’ campaign promises was to get  the CMTC finances back on track. And one of these measures would be by increasing the bus fares.

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On the following day, the paralyzations and the police repression continued. This time it was in front of the Prates Palace, the then-seat of the House of Representatives in the D. Pedro II Park. The protesters went there to demand the lowering of the fares. The councilman Monteiro de Carvalho got up on the hood of a car and explained that the issue of fares was the City Hall’s responsibility. The crowd was dispersed around 7pm with the “blows of police batons on their heads”, according to what the Estado newspaper.

Scrapped. The CMTC with 12,000 employees in financial crisis was scrapped, the fleet wasn’t renewed and they weren’t even able to import parts and accessories for the broken buses. In 1957, with a fleet of 1,333 diesel buses, only 821 actually worked. The company also had 110 electric buses and 210 trolleys that hadn’t been taken off their routes due to the incapability to substitute the fleet.” – Source (PT)

For more on the protests in English, go here.

Wish – Drummond

Wish/Synthesis of Happiness
by Carlos Drummond de Andrade*

I wish for you …
Fruit from the jungle
The scent of the garden
Flirting at the front gate
Sunday without rain
Monday without a bad mood
Saturday with your love
To hear a kind word
To have a pleasant surprise
A full moon
Re-examining an old friendship
To have faith in God
Not having to hear the word ‘no’
Nor ‘never’, ‘never ever’ or ‘goodbye’.
Laughing like a child
Listening to a bird song
To write a poem of love
That will never be torn
To form an ideal pair
Bathing in the waterfall
To learn a new song
To expect someone at the station
Cheese with guava
Sunset on the farm
A feast
A guitar
A serenade
To remember an old love
To always have a friendly shoulder
Clapping with joy
A mild afternoon
To put on old slippers
Sitting in an old armchair
Play guitar for someone
To listen to the rain on the roof
White wine
Bolero by Ravel …
And my great affection.

Apparently, there are two versions, one with a little more cultural reference and the one above. Here’s the former in Portuguese, which also goes by the name “Síntese da felicidade”. Also, this is a poem that has been attributed to Drummond but lacks proper citation*.

Bezerra da Silva – Vítima da Sociedade

Youtube won’t let me embed Vítima da Sociedade.

Victim of Society
Bezerra da Silva

If you want to arrest a thief
You can go back the way you came
The thief is hiding down below
Behind a tie and a collar

Just because I live on the hill
You awake my misery
The truth is I walk around hungry
I never stole from anyone, I’m a working man
If there’s a bank robbery
How is it that you can’t arrest the powerful boss
Cause the newspapers are saying that only theives live on the hills

…..

On the hill no one has a mansion
Not a house in the countryside for the summer
Not a yacht for a maritime ride
Nor a private plane
We are victims of a society
That is notorious and full of mischief
On the hill no one has millions of dollars
Deposited in a Swiss bank

Orient translation – Márcio Faraco

Since I have done a fair amount of translations on Eyes On Brazil, I’ve decided many would serve for Eyes On Portuguese as well. Here’s the first one.

Orient
written by Márcio Faraco
translation by Adam

Eyes of the Orient
blind to our world
they only see the sun and the skies

Burning eyes of love
they are gagged
made prisoners
of the gaze of God

But they see, those blinded eyes
they’re far from dull
eyes closed to seeing
but open to imagination
eyes abandoned even by solitude

Who will take care of these women
silent slaves
sewing a cloak
that will serve as their prison

(Lyrics in Portuguese)

Here’s what Faraco had to say about this song…

“I wrote this one eight years ago; I was impressed by those women in Kabul who lived at home like recluses. I’ve done a lot of work on it; we didn’t record it on the first trip to Rio either, I had to go back just to do this one.” It’s an afoxé, an Afro rhythm from Bahia over a cushioned tempo, a singular option for such a serious subject.”

In Portuguese, the Middle East is called Oriente Médio. When thinking of this song, given the context from Faraco himself, I take it to refer to the East, not specifically the Far East.

ProZ Term Questions – New Link

Over at ProZ, “the translation workplace”, they have a section where members can ask and answer translation requests for words or expressions. It is pretty similar to Word Reference forums (which can be found in my links page) although on ProZ, you will mostly find requests which are professionally-oriented so the terms listed will probably be of a more formal or obscure nature.

The Song of Exile – Gonçalves Dias

The Song of Exile
by Antônio Gonçalves Dias
translated by Nelson Ascher

My homeland has many palm-trees
and the thrush-song fills its air;
no bird here can sing as well
as the birds sing over there.

We have fields more full of flowers
and a starrier sky above,
we have woods more full of life
and a life more full of love.

Lonely night-time meditations
please me more when I am there;
my homeland has many palm-trees
and the thrush-song fills its air.

Such delights as my land offers
Are not found here nor elsewhere;
lonely night-time meditations
please me more when I am there;
My homeland has many palm-trees
and the thrush-song fills its air.

Don’t allow me, God, to die
without getting back to where
I belong, without enjoying
the delights found only there,
without seeing all those palm-trees,
hearing thrush-songs fill the air.

The original can be found here and the translation above is here.

Antônio Gonçalves Dias

Antônio (born in the state of Maranhão) was a Brazilian poet. A respected ethnologist and scholar, he lived much of the time abroad but drowned at age 41 on his way back to Maranhão. His songs, collected in First Poems (1847), More Poems (1848), and Last Poems (1851), which display both exuberance and longing, are a celebration of the New World as a tropical paradise and a glorification of the indigenous people. While in Europe, he wrote a dictionary of the Tupi language. His “Song of Exile” (Canção do Exílio, 1843) is known to every Brazilian schoolchild, and he is regarded as the national poet of Brazil.