What are state police doing in the Meseta P’urhépecha and why are they doing it?

On Wednesday 5 April, 2017, a large convoy a state police vehicles was dispatched to the indigenous community of Arantepacua, in the municipality of Nahuatzen in the central highlands of Michoacán, Mexico. Nahuatzen is a municipality in which more than 80% of the population live below the official poverty line. This part of the state … Continue reading What are state police doing in the Meseta P’urhépecha and why are they doing it?

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Calling police to account in Bairro da Paz

This post is mostly about a recent event in a community in Salvador, the capital city of the state of Bahia, which I began to study in 2006. Bairro da Paz is an irregular settlement with a population of 60,000 residents, formed by a land invasion during the last years of military rule. The remarkable … Continue reading Calling police to account in Bairro da Paz

Canalha! Canalha! Canalha!

Canalha is a Portuguese word that means "scoundrel" when applied to an individual and "rabble" or "riffraff" when applied to a group. Senator Tancredo Neves, the grandfather of Aécio Neves, shouted it thee times in the direction of Senator Auro Moura Andrade, after Andrade falsely claimed in the plenary session of April 2, 1964, that President … Continue reading Canalha! Canalha! Canalha!

Violence in Bahia

5,450 people were murdered in the state of Bahia in 2014. In terms of absolute numbers of deaths, this is the highest level in the country and far higher, for example, than São Paulo. Bahia's capital, Salvador, is now the sixth most violent metropolitan city in Brazil according to the Federal Justice Ministry. It is … Continue reading Violence in Bahia

Ostula under siege

In an interview broadcast in full on YouTube, the commander of Ostula's communal police, Germán Ramírez, has described the indigenous community as "under siege". In addition to the military, a growing concentration of federal police agents has gathered in the surrounding area, suggesting that an operation to disarm the communal and municipal self-defence forces is … Continue reading Ostula under siege

Ostula demands

The indigenous community of Ostula has now presented a series of public demands to the state and federal authorities. These go beyond the demand for the immediate release from prison of Cemeí Verdía, former commander of Ostula's communal police and the autodefensas of Aquila, Coahuayana and Chinicuila, and the dropping of charges against him, which … Continue reading Ostula demands

Violence(s) in the Brazilian urban periphery

The Brazilian cities of Osasco and Barueri, in greater São Paulo, have been witnessing a spate of execution-style killings that left at least eighteen people dead and six wounded on the night of August 13. The killings were committed by masked men using cars and motorbikes, observed by residents in different locations. In some contrast … Continue reading Violence(s) in the Brazilian urban periphery

Justiça Global takes the Cabula case to the UN

The NGO Justiça Global, responsible for a devastating analysis of extra-judicial killings by the police of São Paulo in 2006, has now taken the case of the killing of twelve men in the Cabula neighbourhood of Salvador, Bahia, to the office of the UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns. As I … Continue reading Justiça Global takes the Cabula case to the UN

Judicial decision on Cabula deaths provokes criticism

In a post during May I reported that the Bahia Public Attorney's Office had concluded that the killing of twelve young people in the Cabula neighbourhood of Salvador was an extra-judicial execution. Judge Marivalda Almeida Moutinho has now absolved the nine officers accused of these killings, arguing, on the basis of police evidence, that they acted … Continue reading Judicial decision on Cabula deaths provokes criticism

Another questionable incident in the pacification of Western Mexico

On Friday 22 May, 42 civilians and a federal police officer died in what, according to the official version, was an armed confrontation between members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and federal forces in a ranch on the borders between the Michoacán municipalities of Ecuandureo and Tanhuato, close to the main highway that … Continue reading Another questionable incident in the pacification of Western Mexico