Tag Archives: Politics as Usual

A Tale of Parliamentary Burlesque Act.II- EThics call home

27 Mar

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The picture above is part of a major reaction from Brazilian society against the election of a racist, homophobe and misogynist as President of the Federal Congress’ Human Rights Commission. It says: “I’m not from this Planet, but if I was, Marcos Feliciano would not represent me”.

Indeed, the Brazilian congress is famous for its detachment from society (keep reading this blog and you’ll never be bored by it), so much so that most Brazilians prefer not to talk or discuss about the National Congress. The election of Marcos Feliciano to preside the HRC, however, was not seen as yet another practical joke made by the congress on us. It hurt deeper.

His election was held on March 7th. On March 9th, hundreds of people were protesting in São Paulo.

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FEMEN was there too! 🙂

Social media response was also fast, noisy and went right on spot: Feliciano Não me Representa became an intergalactic anthem, as seen above. (Don’t miss looking at the thousand pictures. Some are quite creative.) Artists expressed their revolt too. From the regularly opinionated, like Caetano Veloso, who gathered friends and activists in the Brazilian Press Association, to the most apolitical, like Xuxa, who called him a monster on twitter. A few Federal Congresspersons create a Parallel Front of Human Rights, as they refused to participate in a Human Rights Commission presided by Marcos Feliciano.

Protesters gathered at the HRC venue, making it impossible to hold any session. They yelled “Feliciano, Facista”and outvoice him. Until now, no session has been properly held by the HRC since Marcos Feliciano’s election.

But It is not that the members who elected Marcos Feliciano heard the protesters outcry passively. Another famously facist Federal Congressperson, Jair Bolsonaro, went on to confront the protesters, saying unpublishable things and showing this sign:

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The message above, showed inside CDH’s venue, expresses Jair Bolsonaro’s opinion on what the protesters do in their daily lives. It is a slang that I can only translate as “burn the donut everyday”. If you’re too classy, you’ll never get the meaning, sorry.

Despite the resistance, protests became so widespread that last thursday the president of the Federal Congress, acknowledging that the Congress’ popular image was peaking a historical low, urged the PSC to appoint another president to the HRC. This tuesday, however, the PSC decided to maintain Feliciano at the HRC presidency. And there is not much that the National Congress’ President can do about it, as he does not have the power to overthrow the Commission’s election.

If politicians do not come to their minimal sense, the only hope is a technicality that is pending judgement by the Supreme Court, for the session that elected Marcos Feliciano was a closed one and it should not have been an open session. 

So, ET, could you keep calling please?

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A Tale of Parliamentary Burlesque. Act.I- Meet Marcos Feliciano

26 Mar

Marcos Feliciano is the Presidential Pastor of an evangelical church called Assembléia de Deus – Catedral do Avivamento. He is also a federal congressman of PSC – the Social Christian Party. Furthermore, he was blessed by God with unbeatable beauty and style.

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Don’t you girls (and naughty boys) even salivate, for he is a married man.

The political views of Marcos Feliciano are also sound and clear. He is an objective, prosperous man, who is not afraid to speak his mind. About same sex marriage he has said that it brings hate, crime and rejection. About black persons, he has said that africans are the descendents of a cursed member of Noah’s family, this being the explanation for the paganism, occultism, misery and diseases like ebola in Africa. About women’s rights, he has said that when you encourage women to have the same rights as men, they want to work and hence their maternal side is nullified.

In his political life, Marcos Feliciano faces many challenges: currently, he is the defendant in two cases pending before the Brazilian Supreme Court: one for inciting discrimination and prejudice and another for embezzlement. These little obstacles, however, are not strong enough to hold him down and he has recently been elected president of the Brazilian Federal Congress´ Human Rights Commission (CDH).

Traditionally, the Human Rights Commission has been presided over by the Labour Party – PT. This time, however, the Labour Party did not consider it a priority. It preferred to preside over other commissions. Therefore, as a result of a very complex parliamentary game (God’s will, for certain), the presidency of the Human Rights Commission was to be held by a member of the PSC.

The fact alone that the HDC was going to presided by the PSC caused outrage among the pagans, who knew that the HDC was no longer going to be ruled by the gay-women-and-black-alliance. Indeed, at the election day, several congresspersons left the commission’s venue, saying they were protesting. That very blessed day, in a closed session, Marcos Feliciano was democratically elected by 11 votes and 1 abstention. No vote against!

If you want to know more about Marcos Feliciano and his church, visit http://www.catedraldoavivamento.com.br/site/  The website is in portuguese, but you can certainly use google translator to find out more about him. Also, if you have a church already (I mean, if you OWN a church) you can affiliate it to Catedral do Avivamento. Just fill this form: http://form.jotformpro.com/form/22714443500948

Last, but not least, if you want to contribute financially to his church, It accepts that you send them your credit card, but, as Pastor Marcos Feliciano famously said (the recording is all over youtube): “It is the last time that I speak: Samuel de Souza gave his credit card, but didn’t gave his password. That’s not worth. When he ask for God’s miracle, God will not give it to him and he will say that God is bad.”

Oh, Glory. Praise the Lord!


To be continued.

Affirmative Action in Brazilian Universities

4 Sep

Brazil’s president just sanctioned a law establishing that 50% of places in Public Universities and in Federal Technical Schools should be allocated to students coming from public high schools, which are generally less likely to pass the highly competitive entrance exams required by the public universities. Within this 50% quota, half of the eligible students shall be black, indigenous, or from families with very low income.

Apart from a few NGOs, the new law has created outrage among most Brazilians, to the point that is quite surprising that the law was actually approved by both federal legislative houses and sanctioned by the president. It seems like VERY few people agree with it.

I confess: I sometimes have mixed feelings about affirmative action measures. They look amazing on paper, but they are so incredibly hard to put into practice. And in Brazil, a country in which few people know exactly what they are, race-wise, categorizing everyone is quite difficult. Also, my personal desire for a meritocracy in Brazil is sometimes too strong to reasonably give space to other principles. Additionally, Brazilian public universities, even if they are actually not that good, are the few places in the country where some science is produced. And I fear science may pay the price when the university receives fewer qualified students.

Still, unless one chooses to close their eyes, Brazilian racial and educational divide is clear: in general, the darker the skin, the poorer, and the more years spent in public high schools (which are free, but generally bad), the less chance one has to get into a public university (also free, but of better quality). The best way to deal with the situation would be to improve the quality of the public high schools, but I admit it: this takes time, a generation at least.

So, even if just to prove that I have my eyes open to Brazilian inequality (yes, I’m not that cold yet), I salute the new law and hope it will be applied wisely and will meet its objective of a fairer society, with more equal opportunities to all. It is a brave law!

Disclosure: I studied in a private elementary school and in a private high school. They were far from the good, but way better than the public options in my hometown. I passed the entry exams to study law in a public university. At that time – the ancient 1994 – there were 1050 applicants for Law and only 40 available places. I don’t remember anyone in my law classes being from a public high school. There were around eight students with darker skin (though mixed race is 52% of my home state population, according to 2010 census). There wasn’t a black student in my class (blacks are 5,7% of the population there, according to 2010 census).

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