In the video below, journalist Sonali Kolhatkar interviews Grassroots International’s Brazilian partner Maria Luisa Mendonça of the Social Network for Justice and Human Rights (Rede Social). Maria Luisa shares the current political context of what has been happening in Brazil.
As we have learned from her and from other partners such as the Landless Workers Movement (MST), the past several weeks and months have been brutal ones for social movements and the struggle for democracy in Brazil, with many peasants and Indigenous communities coming under violent attacks, including assassinations, because of their struggles to defend their land and territory. At the same time, Brazilian media now have reported that they have a recording of President Michel Temer (who has corruption charges against him and who took power through an institutional coup in 2016) authorizing payment to former house speaker Eduardo Cunha to try to keep him silent about the corruption investigation.
Social movements took the streets on May 24 to occupy Brasilia, calling for Temer’s resignation, demanding direct elections, and opposing neoliberal reforms those that gut workers’ rights, social security, and pensions. Temer unleashed military forces to repress the movements.
As Maria Luisa shares, the challenges are serious, but the struggle continues. We are deeply grateful to and humbled by Maria Luisa, Rede Social, MST and all of partners who continue shining the light to expose the truth of what is taking place, while putting their lives on the line to work towards a positive vision for the future.