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News > Latin America

Brazil's Minister of Human Rights Calls Temer the Godfather of Black Brazilian Women

  • Michel Temer does his best godfather pose.

    Michel Temer does his best godfather pose.

Published 19 April 2017

Organizations and activists rejected Michel Temer, Brazil's unelected president, being characterized as the godfather of Black Brazilian women.

Brazil's Minister of Human Rights Luislinda Valois sparked outrage when she referred to Michel Temer as the godfather of Black Brazilian women during a ceremony in Brasilia. Valois statement was captured on video and soon spread via Whatsapp.

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Apart from the controversial excerpt, Valois also commented that Temer should not abort his political positions. "Don't change, president. Continue. Us women need you, sir. I ask you to remain by our side and support us," Valois said.

Several organizations and activists within the Black community rejected Valois' statements. Nilma Lino Gomes, ex-Minister of Human Rights during Dilma Rousseff's presidency, underscored that she won't ignore Valois' trajectory, nor her history as a Black woman within a "select misogynist, male chauvinist, racist judicial camp. This deals with her beliefs and political and ideological position, leading her to believe that we, Black women, are in need of a godfather. Let me say that a white man and coup plotter does not represent us."

Gomes, who also served as dean of the University for International Integration of the Afro-Brazilian Lusophony, recalled that such statements are symptomatic, coming a year after the parliamentary coup which ousted the first female president of Brazil. "Black women throughout Brazil struggle for the return of democracy," she added.

A public statement released by the Black Women's March of Sao Paulo reiterated that they do not recognize Temer, Brazil's unelected president, as their godfather. The text also read: "The attacks orchestrated by Temer ever since he assumed the presidency directly affect us. Luislinda should have remembered this when she bestowed upon us a position that we reject."

Other organizations such as the National Gender Coordination of the Black Entity Collective, the National Coordination of Rural Black Quilombo Communities, and the Latin-American and Caribbean Committee in Defense of Women's Rights also condemned Valois' statements.

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