What I want to bring to you is a reflective account of someone born in the heart of a Brazilian favela marked by the context of "drug war." Born and raised in a territory of vigorous social inequality and urban precariousness, both the sale and the I have lived with drug users, traffickers or lived situations of conflict with firearms, which have given me the chance to survive and secure my life only thanks to luck. However, my intention here is not to create stories about violence to feed a distorted image of one or more of the people involved. the peripheries, as does the Brazilian media Likewise,I do not want to feed any stereotype or fixed idea of what it's like to beperipheral (a resident of the peripheries), or even what it is like to live in these territories, for the survival strategies and understanding of reality are diverse here as anywhere. I present here the account of a favelado that does not conform to the torrent of lies and violence propagated by institutions of power, which feed on social inequality and on the very life of the black and favelado populations in Brazil.
The term favela is the name of a plant originating in the hinterland of Bahia . The uses of the term favela emerge in the context of the "War of Canudos," which was not really a war. We were taught by the media and the school to hide the genocidal practices that the state has been perpetrating against black people over its 500 years. However, I want to say that in Canudos, what really happened was a massacre of Christian populations that decided to create a community based on principles of solidarity and fraternity, between 1896-1977, in regions marked by latifundia and drought. Brazilian State, feeling threatened by the emergence of the Canudos Arraial, decided to send the army of the newly formed republic to massacre the local population, demonstrating brute force and power. Organized around the principles of the religious leader 'Antonio adviser', these thousands of Sertanejos decided to create a community based on principles of solidarity and mutual support.
Three military expeditions were felt and defeated by the local population, using only hoes, machetes and territorial knowledge. Local people had experienced more just and egalitarian society in a context where half of the national population was in conditions of extreme poverty. Outraged by the defeats, the military decided to destroy the Arraial, massacring its population and generating twenty thousand prisoners of war, among which were women, the elderly and children. The military practiced decapitation of prisoners and arson- the Arraial fire.
What does this story have to do with the favela and the 'drug war,' you ask? Well, it is interesting to know that the soldiers sent to the massacre in Canudos were black and poor soldiers, motivated by government gains they were promised if they became victors of the war. They would receive residences and a salary so they could settle. It turns out that after the soldiers returned and saw that the promise would not be fulfilled, and that the military forces did not abide by the pact, these soldiers occupied part of the hill of Providence in Rio de Janeiro, in protest, in 1987, and planted the "Favela" seedlings that they had brought from the Canudos massacre.
What I consider relevant in this story is that if the military forces were composed of black men who lived under the promise of land and wages after victory in Canudos, these men were without dwelling, income or basic existing conditions. Black populations were expelled from the farms after the signing of the Aurea law in 1888, and thousands of people started wandering through the hinterland in search of survival. Part of these populations decided to build a city from community work inspired by 'Antonio adviser', while another party, motivated by the government's warlike motivations, decided to join forces with the State in ostensible action against these communities. Given the conditions for the establishment of this pact, the government paid another population contingent, also desperate with lack of housing, employment and food, to destroy Canudos under the promise of land and pay. Following up the politics of whitening and destruction of black people, which began in 1850, poor blacks have been killing poor blacks in the name of the interests of the Brazilian elites.
This historical account, which I have outlined briefly, is very illustrative of the way the Brazilian State has been treating black populations in this country. The political games that are established in capitalist society- where populations in situations of vulnerability and social precariousness are used as a maneuver of racist governments that act by mobilizing poor sectors to carry out massacres against their own; in wars and conflicts that act in the very destruction and social control of black and indigenous peoples in the name of national sovereignty; coopting and promoting the social ascent and political roles of those who join the national forces; helping perpetrate violence and the maintenance of inequality.
The possibility of social ascension in Brazil for black people needs to break down the structures of power rooted in the set of institutions that constrains and prevents the development of black people. Otherwise, this ascension is intrinsically linked to the state, devoid of land, property and citizenship, molded by the fiction of liberal equality- which governs citizenship with private property, with dark people being part of a population that has been enslaved for 400 years and being "liberated" without any kind of social reparation. The jobs that would enable better social accomplishment would be the positions of public servants, the case of teachers, police officers, and the like.
What I am trying to say is that keeping people poor is one of the strategies used by the elites to ensure social control through force. So much so, that Michael Foucault himself states that since prisons were created, they were used against the poor, who had no money for bail and were obliged to serve their sentences by working in slave chains. Social and economic inequality in Brazil has color, territoriality, and follows the political interests of the slave-owning elites. The criminalization of poverty is the strategy to keep the system functioning against black populations in Brazil and in the world, because if the favela exists and is marked by the stigma of social violence, it does not come free or without interest.
We know that war is a product of the relations between market and state interests- the drug war is a living example of these interests. Regarding the sign of drug trafficker or drug user, agents of the state feel free to perform torture and gratuitous violence, extending this condition to black people, who in turn will always be suspects to these agents. The point is that the "good citizen" or "citizen of goods" in the Brazilian social imaginary has a profile that is not that of blacks, although the issue of drug use is widespread in all classes, races and social groups, while those which are penalized are poor black people.
In short, the "war on drugs" is the hallmark of the public security system to practice state terrorism against peripheral black populations and favelas . If the excuse for violence in the country comes from the dictatorial regime, the intriguing fact is that even after the regime, the homicide rate of the black population has continued to grow exponentially. The police culture in the country, the culture of war, has a target and that target has color. public security and human rights and who acts to change the current drug policy, in one of his lectures said that the largest shooting academy in Latin America is in Rio de Janeiro, and on the wall where shooting is practiced, there is the image of a gigantic favela for the practicing policemen. Anyway, as a great poet says "Is it future, if the past persists? Is the state really mine ally?"
Arraial: A small village, hamlet, marked by spontaneity and autonomy.
Áurea, the Law: adopted on May 13, 1888. The law that abolished slavery in Brazil.
Bahia: A state in the Northeast region of Brazil. It was the first point of contact the Portuguese had with what became the Brazilian colony. Its capital, Salvador, was Brazil's first capital. It is now the city with the most African descendants outside Africa (estimated 80% of the population). Though difficult to cite precisely, Salvador's port was one to receive the most enslaved Africans (Rio de Janeiro being second). Only in the second half of the 1700's, almost one million Africans came to Brazil, half of which came to Salvador (the others to Rio and other parts of the coast). Of the almost 5 million total enslaved Africans that came to Brazil during the nearly 500 years of Colonialism, Salvador is undoubtedly the city most affected by this horrific event in history, the legacy and reality that is still very much alive today.
Favela: A type of slum formed in response to rural exodus (in large cities eg Rio and São Paulo), and to over-population, homelessness, lack of infrastructure and social services. Favelas developed into well organized autonomous regions that operate in parallel to the governmental system. They have a parallel economy, infrastructure and security systems, often maintained by trafficking / traffickers.
Latifundia: Plural of Latifundium, a latin word for "Landed State". In Brazil, it means 'very large, privately owned, agricultural lands'.
Hill: A hill where there is a favela . Favelas first started forming in hills because they were a sort of terrain unaccounted for by the State or land owners.
Sertanejos: Of the Sertão - inland region, far from the coast, away from urban centers and 'cultivated' land.