Monday, November 10, 2008

Another Case of Extreme Military Violence in Brazil

Long-time readers to the blog know that I often have harped on the fact that torture and police repression in Brazil did not go away with the military dictatorship. This weekend offered a particularly gruesome reminder of this fact, as in Rio a youth in the military barracks who was caught smoking marijuana was set on fire (story in Portuguese, but the picture says enough). While the youth's condition is "stable," the burns were severe enough to cause him to be heavily wrapped, and his eyes were apparently affected.

Of course, some councilpersons in Rio have already taken a stand and demanded this issue be dealt with, but nothing will come of this - it never does. Until the Brazilian governmental systems at all levels begin to thoroughly and completely crack down on these types of military and police violence, until not one single state agent, from the lowest-ranking policeman to the highest-ranking general, retains impunity for these actions. And neither governmental leaders nor civil rights groups nor the police themselves have shown any sustained interest in making these changes. Maybe things will change some in the next 20 years, but quite honestly, I doubt it.