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The National Newsletter

Issue No. 3 (March 1st, 2019) For more information contact: DemocracyBrazil@gmail.com
Facebook Page: National Network for Democracy in Brazil
The U.S. Network for Democracy in Brazil is a decentralized, democratic, non-partisan national network founded at Columbia Law School on December 1, 2018 with three objectives:
  • Educate the U.S. public about the current situation in Brazil
  • Defend progressive social, economic, political, and cultural advances in Brazil
  • Support social movements, community organizations, NGOs, universities, and activists, etc., who will be vulnerable in this new political climate
National Steering Committee Meeting
On February 23rd, representatives from the U.S Network for Democracy in Brazil’s affiliated and working groups, as well as international observers, participated on the call for the second National Steering Committee Meeting. We gladly report that we our number of affiliated members has grown, and the list now includes:
  1. Advocacy Group Against Brazil's Far-Right (Worcester, MA)
  2. Assembly for Brazilian Democracy at UC Berkeley
  3. Brazilian Democratic Front at Brown University
  4. Brazilian Resistance Against Democracy Overthrow (BRADO), New York
  5. Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA)
  6. Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice (Washington, D.C.)
  7. Center for Economic and Policy Research (Washington, D. C.)
  8. Coletivo Boston Contra o Golpe
  9. Coletivo HuManas
  10. Coletivo Marielle Franco (San Diego, CA)
  11. Collective on Translation and Educational Material
  12. Coletivo Por um Brasil Democrático (Los Angeles)
  13. Columbia Working Group for Democracy in Brazil (New York)
  14. Comitê de Princeton em Defesa da Democracia no Brasil
  15. Defend Democracy in Brazil/New York
  16. Friends of the MST
  17. Grassroots International
  18. Historians for Peace and Democracy
  19. Indiana Committee for Solidarity with Brazil
  20. International Press Committee (IPC)
  21. Mulheres da Resistência em New York
  22. NNDB University of Denver Chapter
  23. National Network for Democracy in Brazil at Harvard
  24. Oklahoman Committee for Democracy in Brazil
  25. Penn State Committee for Democracy in Brazil
  26. Re-Existir (Santa Cruz, CA)
  27. The Brazilian Women’s Group
  28. The Lantern (University of Texas)
  29. Tricontinental Brasil
  30. United Food and Commercial Workers Union
  31. University of California, Irvine-Orange County Brazilianists  
  32. University of Chicago in Solidarity with Marginalized Brazilians
  33. University of Miami Chapter of USNDB
  34. Witness
Marielle Presente

The U.S. National Network is organizing a nationwide campaign on the occasion of the first anniversary of Marielle Franco’s assassination. We are calling for events to be organized on or around March 14 by all of our affiliated groups. Anyone who would like to organize an event and be part of this campaign but is not currently a part of a USNDB affiliated groups is also more than welcome to do so.  Please send us your events’ information as soon as you can so we can add it to our list of events around the country as well as circulate it on the next issue of the newsletter. Here’s a preliminary list of events happening around the country:
  • Defend Democracy in Brazil/NY is inviting all the activists in NY and general public to a debate on the legacy of Marielle and the persecution of human rights defenders in Brazil with Marcia Tiburi, writer and feminist from Rio followed by a spiritual interfaith ritual at Washington Square Park on March 14, anniversary of the assassination of Marielle Franco. Invitations will follow. Save the date.
  • Peter Klein and Stephanie Savell are sponsoring an inspiring event at Bard College with photos of Marielle Franco and her neighborhood entitled “Maré de Dentro,” which will run until March 1st. The exhibit will then open again on March 5th at Brown University.
  • On March 14th, Gladys Mitchell-Walthour will a moderate panel at the National conference of Black Political Scientists in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in honor of Marielle Franco’s work and memory.
  • Sharelle Barber will be showing her documentary on Marielle Franco in Washington, DC on March 11th. Additional screening engagements include 03/01 at The BOLD conference in Washington, 03/04 at Tufts University, 03/08 at the People’s Forum in New York, 03/12 at the University of Pennsylvania, 03/12 at The Scribe Center in Philadelphia, 03/18 at Penn State, 19/03 at Howard University, 03/23 at Spelman College and 03/30 in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
  • Sidney Chalhoub will give a talk, “Racismo, Feminicídio, Homofobia: Uma Visão Histórica da Tragédia Brasileira,” on March 14th from 6-8pm at Harvard University Robinson Hall.
  • Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice - Washington DC and D.C. United Against Hate will hold a tribute for Anderson and Marielle in front of the White House on March 14th at 6:30pm. More information here.
  • Princeton University will hold a tribute to Marielle, “Black Feminisms across the Americas: A Tribute to Political Activist Marielle Franco,” with a keynote address by Angela Davis on March 14th from 5-7pm.
  • Harvard University will hold a panel, “The Other Side of Violence: Marielle Franco and the Struggle for Brazilian Democracy” with Mariana Cavalcanti and Geri Augusto on March 12, 5-7pm, at the Basement Seminar Room in Robinson Hall.
  • Penn State Committee for Democracy in Brazil will hold the “Defending Democracy in Brazil Week” from March 11 to March 19, 2019 which will include a screening of Sharrelle Barber’s documentary on March 18th.
  • UC Berkeley will hold a roundtable, “Marielle Franco: Her Assassination A Year Later” with Cidinha da Silva, James N. Green and Tianna Paschel on March 13th.
  • A heartfelt gathering will mark Marielle Franco’s life and legacy in Los Angeles on March 9. Details are being refined by the Coletivo Por Um Brasil Democrático - LA and its partners, including local Angelino groups. There will be a show with Arro Verse, who wrote a song about Marielle - Glory Eyes. For more info, please contact: cpbdla@gmail.com 
  • The USNDB University of Denver chapter will hold a panel at the Denver Justice and Peace Committee in downtown Denver on March 13th at 6 pm.
  • The Canadian-based Coletivo Brasil-Montreal will hold a demonstration in honor of Marielle on March 16th at 3pm at the Place des Arts.
  • U.S Network for Democracy in Brazil at Brown will hold a vigil for Marielle and Anderson at Brown University’s Main Green on March 14th at 6pm.
Statement about the resignation of congressman Jean Wyllys
 
The U.S. Network for Democracy in Brazil expresses its solidarity with Congressman Jean Wyllys, who has recently decided not to return to Congress for a new term in office because of the death threats against him and members of his family, as well as other forms of violence that he has been subjected to in the recent past. Jean Wyllys, who was the only openly gay member of the Brazilian congress, served two terms there and had been elected for a third one last October. He represented the PSOL (Socialism and Liberty Party) and has been a staunch defender of LGBTQ rights.
 
The fact that a congressman is forced to leave his office because of death threats shows the fragility of Brazilian democracy at present. The episode must be understood in a larger framework. First, it shows that the homophobic tirades and attitudes of President Bolsonaro and his surrogates endanger the lives of LGBTQ people even more in a country already known for unrelenting violence against this sector of the population. According to the Grupo Gay da Bahia, at least 420 LGBTQ Brazilians died as victims of homophobia in 2018. Second, Brazil is the country with the most deaths of human rights and environmental activists. In 2017, there were 57 registered killings. The audacity of the criminals who are threatening Jean Wyllys is related to their certainty that their actions will be met with impunity. Although it has been 11 months since the brutal assassination of Rio de Janeiro Councilwoman Marielle Franco, her murderers have not yet been identified and brought to justice. Marielle Franco was also a member of the Socialism and Liberty Party and a defender of the rights of LGBTQ people.
 
The U.S. Network for Democracy in Brazil urges the Brazilian executive, judicial, and legislative branches to investigate and bring to justice the criminals who have been threatening and assaulting politicians and activists engaged in the struggles for human rights in the country. Their impunity is unacceptable and a threat to democracy.
Statement of the US Network for Democracy in Brazil on the Crisis in Venezuela
 
The Steering Committee of the US Network for Democracy in Brazil, a non-partisan organization aimed at defending democracy in Brazil, has followed with great concern the recent events surrounding the ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela. We are particularly alarmed by the rapidly escalating rhetoric, including the mention of the possibility of resorting to violent actions, proposed by different parties inside Venezuela, as well as by governments of other countries in the region and elsewhere, including Brazil and the United States. This is not a course of action that lives up to the tradition of peaceful resolution of conflicts consolidated in much of Latin America in recent decades and a cornerstone of Brazil’s much-praised diplomatic history.
 
We do acknowledge that the people of Venezuela experience today one of the country’s worst humanitarian crisis and that the status quo is unsustainable. Yet, we are convinced that international meddling, especially by the region’s most powerful countries, the United States and Brazil, will only worsen the situation, affecting most of all Venezuela and neighboring countries. It is no coincidence, in fact, that an indigenous woman was killed by security forces amidst conflicts involving the unauthorized entrance of aid at the border of Venezuela and Brazil.
The sudden interest in Venezuela from both the Trump and Bolsonaro administrations raise serious issues, especially their willingness to support and work with only one side of a much more complex international conflict. We do not take sides in the domestic disputes between Venezuelan politicians, such as Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaidó, and we urge both sides to pursue a mediated peaceful resolution of their disputes. Moreover, while some countries are taking sides, there are still those, as well as international agencies such as the United Nations, that stay ready to help Venezuelan authorities to find a path forward that does not involve violence.
 
Foreign intervention, especially from the United States, has for far too long been a trademark of US-Latin American relations. Fortunately, this approach had receded in the last 30 years or so. The latest developments in Venezuela and the surrounding region calls attention to the possibility of a tragic reversal of this recent trend. We, thus, urge all parties in Venezuela, Brazil, and the United States to deescalate their rhetoric, accept the fact that foreign incursions into Venezuelan affairs will only worsen an already dramatic reality, and agree to pursue the path of dialogue aimed at a negotiated peaceful resolution of current conflicts
News and Events
  • Brown and Harvard Universities are organizing an international conference on April 18-21, 2019 at the Watson Institute at Brown University entitled, “The Challenges to Brazilian Democracy,” with social movement activists, academics and others, which will also launch the U.S. Observatory for Democracy in Brazil. The conference will be free and open to the public. For more information, contact: Brazil@brown.edu
  • Dra. Rosana Pinheiro Machado is currently on an academic tour of the United States speaking on issues related to ethnography of low income Bolsonaro voters. Events will happen in California, Arizona, Wisconsin, Texas, Michigan and many more. For information on events’ dates and location please go to: http://rosanapinheiromachado.com.br/pt/rosana-pinheiro-machado-on-an-academic-tour-across-the-usa/?fbclid=IwAR2IQVwyqWP3ofUC2sdAJe_NxvugTy37_GPNNXxzJcMX3qI0xo00i4vYLIM
  • The group Re-existir announces the 18th annual Global Women's Rights Forum at the University of San Francisco on March 5-7, 2019. A session with Anielle Franco (Instituto Marielle Franco), Lúcia Xavier (CRIOLA), and Tianna Paschell (UC Berkeley) about state violence, black women’s mobilization in Brazil and their transnational connection with movements such as Black Lives Matter will occur on March 6th. For more information go to: https://bit.ly/2m06bXA
  • Members of DDB and other Brazilian activists participated in the first public demonstration against the US intervention in Venezuela in New York City last Saturday February 23. Hundreds gathered in front of the Trump Tower. The calls were to end intervention of the US in Latin America.
  • Calls for papers (MLA 2020; Seattle, January 19-22, 2020)
    • Brazilian Academia under Siege: Education, Censorship, and the Rise of Far-Right Politics
      How is academic freedom being affected by far-right politics in Brazil? How are the production and circulation of knowledge, identity politics, and classroom dynamics changing under Bolsonaro’s government? 250-word abstract and brief bio to Victoria Saramago, saramago@uchicago.edu, by Sunday, March 24, 2019.
    • Latin America and the Rise of the Right: Citizenship and Belonging
      Addresses the emergence of far-right governments in the context of racism, extractivism, militarism, and the menace of “gender ideology.” Submit abstracts (250-300 words) and a brief bio to Estela Vieira, evieira@indiana.edu, and Mariela Méndez, mmendezd@richmond.edu by Friday, March 1, 2019.
If you have any questions or concerns about the content of this newsletter, please contact Marina Adams at democracybrazil@gmail.com.
Edited by James N. Green and Marina Adams.
March 1, 2019
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