Target: Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil
Goal: Denounce violent killings and mass evictions as part of Brazil’s efforts to reduce crime before the FIFA World Cup
Brazil’s pacification measures ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup have resulted in the death and displacement of thousands of citizens. In 2008, the Brazilian government appointed military-backed police to counter crime in some of the country’s toughest neighborhoods. Now, in order to clean up the streets before the World Cup games, the militarized units have increased their aggression, putting entire neighborhoods in danger.
Brazil’s infamous favelas are poor neighborhoods, generally ruled by local crime rings or drug gangs. Because of this, living conditions are poor and life is dangerous. Efforts to evict these gangs have resulted in shootouts in the streets as authorities choose to gun down offenders rather than arresting them. These armed confrontations often result in casualties as innocent citizens can get caught in the crossfire.
After military pacification, the neighborhoods are then cleaned up and improved, resulting in crippling rent increases that leave the neighborhood’s former residents homeless. These homeless squatters are now gathering en masse in makeshift communities comprised of tents and shacks, or taking up residence in abandoned or condemned factories.
While trying to put its best foot forward for the FIFA World Cup, Brazil has forgotten about their own citizens. While eliminating crime is an admirable goal, it should not come at the price of innocent civilian lives or livelihoods. Your signature will condemn the aggressive use pacification measures with disregard to the well-being of citizens.
Dear President Rousseff,
In preparation for the 2014 World Cup, Brazilian authorities have deployed militarized police to cut down on crime in the country’s infamous favelas. These neighborhoods, often rife with crime and gangs, house the poor in deplorable and dangerous conditions. Though it is important to improve the safety in these areas, many of the measures have resulted in dire consequences, including the loss of thousands of homes and hundreds of lives.
The militarized forces have engaged in armed confrontations in the street, where gunfights result in civilian casualties. Pacification of the favelas has also resulted in an increase in rent, leaving many of the neighborhood’s poorest citizens homeless.
Improving conditions in these neighborhoods is a worthwhile goal, but it is imperative that the welfare of citizens be considered in the process. I condemn the overly aggressive measures used ahead of the World Cup, which have endangered thousands of Brazil’s most needy citizens.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alicia Nijdam via Flickr Creative Commons