Things That Matter

Here’s How Brazil’s New President Went After LGBTQ People And Minorities His First Week In Office

After leading a divisive campaign, newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro promptly issued executive orders targeting Brazil’s indigenous groups, the LGBT community, and minorities. The far-right leader ran on a platform where he stated he would overhaul many aspects of life in Latin America’s largest nation. In just his first week of office, Bolsonaro offered a glimpse of what could be the start of many far-right policies.

Hours after his inauguration, Bolsonaro issued an order for that will make it impossible for new lands to be identified for indigenous communities.

In a devastating blow to indigenous communities, Bolsonaro issued an order to put the Minister of Agriculture (MOA) in charge of designating protected lands for indigenous people, according to The New York Times. That ministry has historically favored the interests of industries that want greater access to protected lands. It’s a move that’s seen as undermining the indigenous rights and environmental protections of countless people in these undeveloped areas. “Quilombolas,” descendants of former slaves, would also be affected by this move.

FUNAI (the National Indian Foundation), the department in charge of indigenous rights, oversaw these indigenous lands but Bolsonaro’s decree now places those responsibilities to the MOA.

There has been an outcry from many indigenous rights groups that say the order represents a threat to Brazil’s indigenous population. Protected lands for indigenous groups take up 13 percent of Brazil, much of which in located in the rainforest and with limited development.

He has continued to deliver on his anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric by limiting their rights.

The newly created Human Rights Ministry will no longer adhere to the concerns of the LGBTQ+ community which could spell trouble for countless people in Brazil. The newly named Ministry of Women, Family, and Human Rights made no reference to LGBTQ+ rights in its priorities.

According to the AP, Damares Alves, the new human rights minister, didn’t acknowledge the LGBTQ+ community in her first address. Alves has previously said that “the Brazilian family is being threatened” by diversity policies. This new realignment and focus on human rights has caused fear and anger in the LGBTQ+ community that feels that the move will result in more discrimination.

“The human rights ministry discussed our concerns at a body called secretariat of promotion and defense of human rights. That body just disappeared, just like that,” Symmy Larrat, an LGBT activist told the AP. “We don’t see any signs there will be any other government infrastructure to handle LGBT issues.”

Many of his policies fall in line similarly with those of  U.S. President Donald Trump.

Both presidents have had hard stances on immigration, minority groups and an agenda filled with nationalist policies. President Trump tweeted praise of Bolsonaro’s inauguration speech, saying “the U.S.A. is with you!” and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even attended Bolsonaro’s swearing-in ceremony.

Similar to Trump, Bolsonaro has attacked the press and even placed restrictions on journalists at his inauguration. Reporters had to arrive several hours before the event began and weren’t allowed to move freely in the presidential palace limiting the scope of their reporting.

All these swift orders by Bolsonaro have rewarded the base that got him elected which some see as similarities of the early days of President Trump’s tenure. He’s made a big splash in his first days as President and has signaled even bolder acts to come.

His first few days in office might be an indication of what’s to come in  Bolsonoro’s term as president.

After years of recession, corruption scandals and a crime wave that led to record homicides, there was an outpouring of anger that elected Bolsonaro to the presidency. But now that Bolsonaro is elected, Brazil must anticipate what’s to come next and be prepared for which direction their far-right leader will take them. Whether it’s on issues like security, where he plans to loosen gun restrictions in Brazil to allow citizens to carry a gun for self-defense, or boosting the economy with plans of privatizing major airports and seaports, he’s sure to face some opposition.


READ: Brazil Elected A New President And People Across The World Are Comparing Him To Donald Trump

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Cardi B Has An Important Message About The Deaths Of George Floyd And Breonna Taylor

Things That Matter

Cardi B Has An Important Message About The Deaths Of George Floyd And Breonna Taylor

@TheAmirVera, @danicapaige08 / Twitter

Thank heavens for Cardi B because boy does the Dominican rapper know how to use her voice.

Since her rise to fame, the hitmaker has made a point to use her platform to raise awareness of the issues she finds important. From politics to our world leaders, the rapper has done her due diligence to break down current events to her followers.

Fortunately, she’s up to it again.

Last week, the rapper took to Twitter to open up about the protests breaking out across the country in an effort to demand justice for the wrongful deaths of Black people killed by police.

You might have already heard about the protests that broke out over the weekend which outcried the wrongful deaths of two Black people: George Floyd a Black man from Minnesota who was killed while being restrained by the police on May 25. The other, Breonna Taylor a 26-year-old woman, was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police officers on March 13, 2020.

In regards to their recent deaths, Cardi B  shared her thoughts and a call to action.

“Seeing people looting and going extremely outraged, you know, it makes me feel like, ‘Yes, finally! Finally motherf****** is gonna hear us now. Yeah!’” the rapper said in her Instagram post. “And as much as people is so against it, at this point, I feel like I’m not against it, even though it do scare me and I don’t want anybody to get hurt, but it’s really frustrating. You want to know why? Because police brutality been going on even way before I was born, but it has been more visual ever since social media started getting poppin.’ And ever since, let’s say Instagram started–just one app–let’s say since Instagram started, how many peaceful protests have we seen? How many trending hashtags have we seen? These hashtags keep freakin’ repeating themselves. I feel like I’ve done videos against police brutality… I feel like this is my seventh time. I’ve been doing f*ckin’ police brutality videos ever since my teeth been f*cked up, and the only shit that changed has been my f****** teeth. You know what I’m saying? People are tired, so now their tired is showing that it’s, “Oh motherf*ckers are educated. Motherf*ckers can take the grown and adult way and act peaceful people are tired of that, so now this is what people have to resort to.”

Cardi B continued her post telling her fans to vote in the upcoming general elections.

“And another thing, I also want to say this: Another way for people to take power–I don’t want to make everything political, but it is what it is–it’s by voting. And when I say voting, I’m not only talking about the President. We could vote for mayors. We could vote for judges, and we could also vote for DA’s–district attorneys. Yes, we could vote for these people, for our county. We sure can. The people that are voting for these people are most likely cops, most likely rednecks; that’s why every single time some fuck shit like this happens, it goes to their favor, because these people have the power–DA’s, these judges, these attorneys–they have the power to prosecute these cops when they do f***s***,” she said

It didn’t take long for users to respond to Cardi’s post with support and words of heartbreak.

We will win this!

Puerto Rico Is Planning To Vote On U.S. Statehood Once Again And Here’s Why So Many Are Against The Idea

Things That Matter

Puerto Rico Is Planning To Vote On U.S. Statehood Once Again And Here’s Why So Many Are Against The Idea

VisitPR / Instagram

Puerto Rican’s are no stranger to referendums. Since 1967, they’ve had five chances to make their opinions known on U.S. statehood and each and every time, their voice hasn’t been listened to. Congress has failed to take up the issue after each referendum and local leaders are often guilty of using the referendum simply to drudge up support for their candidates.

But this upcoming referendum is different in that it comes at a crossroads for Puerto Rican politics. The island has been plagued by natural disasters, political scandals, and unprecedented hate crimes. Even Bad Bunny is letting his thoughts out on the referendum and many others have lots to say on the issue.

For the first time in the island’s history, the referendum will ask a single question: Should Puerto Rico be immediately admitted as a U.S. state?

On Saturday, Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood Republican governor, Wanda Vázquez, announced yet another vote on the question (the sixth since 1967 and the third since 2012). It’s a move that comes amid growing frustration with the island’s territorial government and its relationship with the mainland.

However, it’s a question that also outraged the island’s independence supporters and members of the main opposition Popular Democratic Party – which supports the status quo.

But it’s a gamble that members of the governor’s pro-statehood party are confident will pay off given that Puerto Rico has struggled to obtain federal funds for hurricanes Irma and Maria, a string of recent strong earthquakes and the coronavirus pandemic amid growing complaints that the island does not receive fair and equal treatment.

“Our people will have the opportunity once and for all to define our future,” Vázquez said. “It’s never too late to be treated as equals.”

The upcoming referendum is just the recent in a long line of previously failed ones.

In the past, voters have been asked more than one question and presented with various options, including independence or continuing with the current territorial status – but none of them have ever been as direct as the upcoming one scheduled for the November 3 general election.

However, many on the island see the referendum as little more than a political move by the governor’s New Progressive Party to get voters out on Nov 3 – to boost her party’s candidates.

The New Progressive Party has been rattled with scandal after scandal and many are ready for change.

The past few years have not been good for the party – or the island for that matter. A string of devastating hurricanes, a severe debt crisis, ongoing corruption scandals that even forced a pro-statehood governor to resign, earthquakes, and now a global pandemic – have all led to challenging times in Puerto Rico. To some observers, the idea seems to be: Let’s dangle the illusion of a yes or no statehood referendum (nonbinding) that is already dead on arrival?

Many also feel that Gov. Vasquez is not truly authorized to make such a decision since she was never actually elected to the office. Instead, she became governor after Ricardo Rosselló was forced to resign following massive protests.

Meanwhile, the Republican government on the island doesn’t even have the support of the Republican-led federal government. The Trump administration’s blunt response was basically, “The first priority for all Puerto Rico leaders should be getting their financial house in order.”

This coming November, there will be plenty of incentive to vote “no” and punish the Vázquez administration. Even prominent figures such as Bad Bunny are jumping into the fray against her leadership.

What would statehood mean for Puerto Rico?

Statehood would award Puerto Rico two senators and five representatives, but it’s unlikely a Republican-controlled Congress would acknowledge the referendum because Puerto Rico tends to favor Democrats.

Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections. And while the island is exempt from the U.S. federal income tax, it still pays Social Security and Medicare and local taxes and receives less federal funding than U.S. states. Many believe the island’s territorial status has contributed to its struggle to recover from the hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as worsened its economic crisis, largely caused by decades of heavy borrowing and the elimination of federal tax incentives.