On the morning of April 1st, April Fools’ Day and also the 59th anniversary of the 1964 military coup in Brazil, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of the former DOI-Codi, one of the main centers for the torture and murder of prisoners. politicians, in São Paulo, for the “parade&scracho” of Cordão da Mentira.
The block, organized by theater groups, musicians and activists, denounces the state violence of the Brazilian business-military dictatorship and, also, of democratic times.
“Genocides, fascists, uniforms: will they really be amnestyed?” is the theme of the 2023 cordon, which takes place two days after the return of Jair Bolsonaro (PL) to Brazil, the first time that, the target of a series of inquiries, he sets foot in the country without a privileged forum. Next Thursday (4), Bolsonaro testifies to the police about the case of jewelry received from Saudi Arabia.
Mothers of victims of police violence from different parts of Brazil participated in the act. Among them, members of the Mães de Maio Independent Movement and the Mães de Paraisópolis (SP) and Mães de Manguinhos (RJ) collectives.
One of those present was Ilza Maria de Jesus Soares, from the Mães de Maio movement, who had her son Tiago murdered at the age of 19, on May 14, 2006 – the date of Mother’s Day that year. For her, the situation shows that “the dictatorship never ended”.
“The State didn’t just kill our son, it kills each of the mothers. Day by day we are fighting. Our children will no longer be present with us, but we fight for the grandson, for the nephew, for yourselves, you see. ?”
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Also present at the event was Ana Paula Oliveira, co-founder and coordinator of the Mães de Manguinhos Movement, created in 2014 after a series of murders in operations carried out by the Pacifying Police Unit (UPP) in the Manguinhos favela, in the north of Rio de Janeiro. Among them was Jonathan, son of Ana Paula, killed at the age of 19 by the police.
“Since then, we’ve been waging a fight for justice, for memory, for truth, but, above all, a fight for life, right?”, defines Ana Paula, who echoes Ilza when explaining that she came to the act of showing that “in the favelas and on the outskirts the dictatorship never, never ceased to exist, because the State continues to torture, continues to disappear with our bodies, continues to murder our bodies”.
“As there was really no justice and reparation for the victims of the dictatorship, this keeps repeating itself. Unfortunately, after this dictatorial period, they continue with a new standard. , right? There’s a CEP, which are the favelas and outskirts of all of Brazil, not just Rio de Janeiro”, he says.
“We are here to say that we do not accept it, that we are not going to take a step back. And that fascist, genocidal, racist, uniforms, depending on our struggle, will not be granted amnesty, because we expect justice to happen. This justice institutional, it is flawed. It does not see us, it only sees us when it is to condemn us, to punish us. But I believe in the struggle of mothers, in the struggle of the people who walk beside us. I always say that justice is us.”
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Representatives of the Unified Black Movement (MNU), the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST) and prison survivors, among others, also made speeches.
The walk left in front of the former torture center of the military regime, a building that now houses the 36th Police District. A symbolism that dialogues with the analysis of Ivan Seixas, who felt firsthand the violence perpetrated by the dictatorship in the building’s rooms.
At the age of 16, in 1971, Ivan was arrested along with his father, worker Joaquim Alencar de Seixas, leader of the Tiradentes Revolutionary Movement (MRT). The two were taken to DOI-Codi, where they were tortured together. His mother and two sisters were also arrested at the center. Everyone heard Joaquim’s execution.
Even as a minor, Ivan was imprisoned for five years, going through several repression facilities. His case featured in numerous reports abroad of serious human rights violations committed by the civil-military dictatorship.
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“The dictatorship set up a war machine against its own people. The DOI-Codi fought, arrested, tortured and killed us, and the Civil Police had death squads”, recalls the militant, who sees continuity in the repression even after the redemocratization.
“Today, this logic of State terror has changed to killing the organized and conscious population. and black people from the outskirts, which is a way to contain a possible social explosion. Because capitalist exploitation has become so exaggerated that they need terror, they need state terror.”
With the shouts of “no amnesty”, the act made a stop in front of the Southeast Military Command, in Ibirapuera. There, from the end of 2022 until the beginning of the year, a camp of Bolsonaro supporters was established who defended the annulment of the presidential election and a military intervention in the country.
end the past
To the sound of speeches, theatrical interventions and music, Cordão da Mentira ended around 2 pm at the Monumento das Bandeiras, in front of Ibirapuera Park.
“If the monuments can celebrate the barbarism of colonization, we can remember the genocide. If the police continue to murder the peripheral population, we can listen to the mothers of victims of state violence”, says a note from the organization of the act. “If they can lie about the history of the massacred, we can make a fool of the lie”, she summarizes.
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The need to recover and elaborate the memory of the dictatorship was highlighted by philosopher and professor at the University of São Paulo (USP) Vladimir Safatle. For him, “memory is a fundamental condition for the social projection of the future”.
“A country that doesn’t know how to deal with its memory cannot have the strength to project the future. So it’s not that you get stuck in time and keep working out as if it were revenge. No, you make time run out. Brazil’s problem is that the past never ends”, he analyzes.
“We want to go back to the past to elaborate on the past, put an end to the past. I think this shows, among other things, where the country’s true struggles lie. If the extreme right is strong today, it’s because it feeds on that past that never ends.”
captain of the bush
This, which was the 11th edition of Cordão da Mentira, had as theme songs “Frevo da ‘falha'” and “Capitão do Mato”. The first, by Douglas Germano and Everaldo Silva. The second, also by Germano, who was present at the event, with Batuqueiros and his People.
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“Capitão do mato is in uniform / captain of mato stands guard / at the bank, at the dealership and at the hotel door / at the mall, at the supermarket and for those who already have a voice / he doesn’t even look like one of us”, says the song released on disco Party Alto (2021). The song was accompanied by the drums Dona Elisa, from the collective Democracia Corinthiana and from the Quilombaque Cultural Center. “Beats mercilessly / puts a stick on the brothers / disappears who disobeys the boss”, she concludes.
The act ended to the sound of Mangueira’s 2019 samba plot: “Brazil has come to listen to Marias, Mahins, Marielles and malês”.
Editing: Nicolau Soares
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