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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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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At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

Things That Matter

At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

A massive protest movement that swept across Colombia seems to have paid off – at least in the short term – as President Ivan Duque says that he will withdrawal the controversial tax plan that sent angry protesters into the streets. However, the protests claimed at least 17 victims who died during the unrest and hundreds more were injured.

Now that the president has withdrawn the controverial bill, many are wondering what’s next and will they have to take to the streets once again.

Massive protests claimed the lives of at least 17 people and hundreds more were injured across Colombia.

Unions and other groups kicked off marches on Wednesday to demand the government of President Ivan Duque withdraw a controversial tax plan that they say unfairly targets the most vulnerable Colombians.

Isolated vandalism, clashes between police and protesters and road blockades occurred in several cities on Saturday, and riot police were deployed in the capital.

Rights organization Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of possible police abuse in Cali, and local human rights groups alleged up to 17 deaths occurred.

After a week of protests, the government has shelved the controversial plan.

Faced with the unrest, the government of President Ivan Duque on Sunday ordered the proposal be withdrawn from Congress where it was being debated. In a televised statement, he said his government would work to produce new proposals and seek consensus with other parties and organizations.

President Duque, in his statement, acknowledged “it is a moment for the protection of the most vulnerable, an invitation to build and not to hate and destroy”.

“It is a moment for all of us to work together without paltriness,” he added. “A path of consensus, of clear perceptions. And it gives us the opportunity to say clearly that there will be no increase in VAT for goods and services.”

The tax reform had been heavily criticized for punishing the middle classes at a time of economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The government introduced the bill on April 15 as a means of financing public spending. The aim was to generate $6.3 billion between 2022 and 2031 to reignite the fourth largest economy in Latin America.

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