Things That Matter

Mourners In Brazil And Colombia Remembered The Chapecoense Players Killed In A Plane Crash Last Year

One year ago, Brazilian pro soccer club Chapecoense was flying to Medellín, Colombia to play the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Colombia’s Atlético Nacional. Chapecoense, a small club that had moved up to Brazil’s top flight in 2004, was set to play two of its most important matches in club history. Unfortunately, tragedy struck before they landed in Colombia. Eighty-one people were aboard Chapecoense’s plane, which crashed just moments before reaching Medellín. Seventy-five people died, including athletes, coaches, journalists, and crew. Here’s how those lost in this tragedy were remembered one year later.

Soccer players and friends of those lost in the plane took time to reflect.

“What happened to Chapecoense was something that’s very hard to talk about,” said Neymar, who lost friends in the accident. “It was a tragic accident that involved soccer players, but also their families.”

In La Unión, Colombia, the closest city to the crash site, people gathered to remember those who died.

According to El Colombiano, military personnel and mourners took over the main square of La Unión to pay tribute to the athletes killed that day. A moment of silence was observed out of respect for the victims.

Officials unveiled a commemorative plaque in the city square honoring the dead.

Displayed on the plaque are the names of the victims and survivors. The names are grouped together to show the players, journalists, flight crew, and the other passengers on the plane.

There is a time capsule that officials in La Unión are giving to the city of Chapecó. Atlético Nacional players and fans filled the capsule with notes.

The time capsule will be sealed for 40 years, according to El Colombiano. The capsule will make its way to Chapecó after passing through the Atanasio Girardot stadium.

Residents of Chapecó gathered at the town’s stadium just after midnight on Nov. 29 to mark the time the plane crashed.

AFP news agency / YouTube

“It is best to choose reflection and seek peace,” a club spokesperson said in a statement, according to The News and Observer. “Our eternal champions deserve all the tributes, but on this day we need to be respectful with those that remain and with the good memories that need to be eternal.”

Fans filled the stadium with chants for the team they held close to their hearts.

Al Jazeera English / YouTube

They even took to the streets to march in remembrance of those lost.

Al Jazeera English / YouTube

The team that meant so much to so many might be gone but they are definitely not forgotten.


READ: Brazilian Soccer Team’s Cinderella Story Cut Short By Tragic Plane Crash

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The Last Wild Macaw In Rio de Janeiro Visits the Zoo Everyday Because She’s Lonely

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The Last Wild Macaw In Rio de Janeiro Visits the Zoo Everyday Because She’s Lonely

via Getty Images

If you’re the type of person who constantly complains about being single, this story will most definitely resonate with you. In Rio de Janeiro, there is a macaw that experts believe is the only free macaw currently living in Rio. To make things more tragic, this Brazilian macaw is so lonely that she makes daily visits to her fellow macaws at Rio de Janeiro’s zoo.

Every morning, a blue-and-yellow macaw (affectionately named Juliet) flies into the enclosure where the zoo’s macaw lives and canoodles with her fellow species.

According to the staff of the Rio de Janeiro Zoo, Juliet has been making daily visits to the enclosure for 20 years. The last time a blue-and-yellow macaw like Juliet was seen in the wild was in 1818. So it’s safe to say she’s fiending for some company. The average lifespan of a macaw is 35-years, which means Juliet has spent the majority of her life as a single lady.

“They’re social birds, and that means they don’t like to live alone, whether in nature or captivity. They need company,” said Neiva Guedes, president of the Hyacinth Macaw Institute, to the Associated Press. “[Juliet] very probably feels lonely, and for that reason goes to the enclosure to communicate and interact.”

Luckily for Juliet, the Rio de Janeiro Zoo is launching a program called Refauna that is aiming to breed and reintroduce blue-and-yellow macaws back into the wild.

The Refauna program plans to breed 20 macaw chicks and give them “training” on “forest food sources, the peril of predators and avoidance of power lines.” Once they’re thoroughly educated, workers will release the birds into the Tijuca Forest National Park to live full, free lives. Some people are hoping that with so many macaws flying free out in the open, Juliet will feel less lonely.

But some animal experts are warning the general public not to feel too bad for Juliet. “We don’t want to project human feelings,” biologist Angelita Capobianco told AP News. I look at the animal, and see an animal at ease.” That’s nice to hear. We love a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need a man to thrive.

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Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Things That Matter

Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Photo via Getty Images

Currently, Brazil is one of the world’s epicenters of the coronavirus. In March 2021, Brazil saw 66,573 COVID-19-related deaths. That means 1 in every 3 COVID-related deaths worldwide are occuring in Brazil.

And it doesn’t appear that the numbers will be slowing down anytime soon. While the United States is making strides in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Brazil is lagging far behind. And things are about to get a lot more complicated.

On Tuesday, Brazil passed a bill that would allow corporations to buy up as many vaccines as they can get their hands on, and privately distribute them to their employees first.

Elected officials in Brazil are arguing that the country has become so desperate to vaccinate its citizens, that it doesn’t matter who gets the vaccines first at this point.

The country, once renowned for having one of the most robust and efficient public vaccine-distribution programs in the world, has failed to make strides towards getting their citizens vaccinated.

“We are at war,” said the leader of the chamber, Arthur Lira. “And in war, anything goes to save lives.” We don’t know about you, but usually when it comes to war, we’ve heard that soldiers prioritize the health and safety of young, the weak, and the elderly before their own? We digress…

Brazil’s plan to privatize the vaccine rollout has brought up moral and ethical questions.

From the beginning, the World Health Organization has asked countries to first prioritize essential health workers and then high-risk populations when distributing the vaccine.

Anything other than that would promote a pay-to-play schemes in which the rich could protect their lives before poor people could. And poor people are more likely to die from COVID-19 in the first place.

As Alison Buttenheim, behavioral scientist and expert on the equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine said, vaccine distribution should not “exacerbate disparities and inequities in health care,” but instead address them. Brazil’s vaccine rollout plan would fail to do any of the above.

If countries begin to allow the rich to prioritize their own interests during the vaccine rollout, the consequences could be disastrous.

In a time when the world is stoked by fear and uncertainty, the worst thing that can happen is for rich companies to exacerbate inequalities by effectively choosing who lives or dies.

As the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization said at the beginning of the global vaccine rollout: “any distribution of vaccines should advance human well-being and honor global equity, national equity, reciprocity, and legitimacy.”

Poor Brazilians should not be left to fend for themselves against COVID-19 simply because they are poor.

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