Tag Archives: Dilma Rousseff

Rousseff leads Brazil in mourning Rio shooting

10 Apr

The sad events that unfolded in Realengo, a working-class district of Rio de Janeiro, on Thursday not only stunned Brazil’s very Catholic, very moral population, but also presented a test to their newly incumbent president, Dilma Rousseff.

Relatives mourn 14-year-old Luiza Paula da Silveira Machado

The shooting of 12 children, all aged between 10 and 13, at the Tasso Silveira school by a former pupil, 24-year-old Wellington Menezes de Oliveira, was a crime of unprecedented proportions in Brazil. The media captured the panic and anxiety of relatives as they waited outside the school gates for news of their loved ones. A sense of their grief was shouldered by the whole of Brazilian society, seen in the mass funeral for the victims, attended by hundreds of mourners, when rose petals were released from a military helicopter flying overhead.

Rousseff addresses the nation after the shooting

Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, who has been in government since January, reacted to the tragedy both as a statesman and as a mourner. In a position where her femininity could easily be criticised, she still allowed herself to show emotion when addressing a grief-stricken nation. Her eyes flooded with tears, she said: “This kind of crime is not usual here in our country and that’s why I think that everyone here, all of us, men and women, must unite to condemn this act of violence, to condemn this violence against unprotected children.” Continue reading

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Could Brazil’s landslides have been prevented?

18 Jan

Since the Rio de Janeiro region of Brazil was hit by severe flooding and landslides on 12th January after a prolonged period of heavy rainfall, more than 13,000 people have lost or abandoned their homes. From the towns of Nova Friburgo, Teresopolis, Petropolis, Sumidouro and Sao Jose do Vale do Rio Preto the death toll has reached 676. The rescue effort has been criticised as people have been forced to wait so long for food, medicines and water it is feared they may resort to drinking the muddy flood water. In Teresopolis the city council has been forced to bury the dead before they have been identified as the mortuaries are filled to capacity. Some remote mountainous areas have been cut off for five days, and it is feared that more bodies could be found there.

Teresopolis after a landslide on 12th January

But could these floods, or the level of destruction caused by them, have been prevented? Brazil’s rainy season is often aggressive with rivers bursting their banks and a certain number of deaths. In January last year heavy rains killed dozens of people living just south of the towns currently affected. More planning and management might not have prevented this disaster, as a month’s worth of rain fell in just eight hours, but it surely would have limited the number killed and left homeless. Continue reading