Activists from Palestine, Chile, Colombia, the United States, Argentina, and Mexico, among others, met Friday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to share their experiences of struggle against increasing militarization and racism in their countries.
“If states internationalize the militarization of our lives, we will internationalize the fight against militarization, racism, and apartheid!” the organizations affirmed in a public statement.
Under the banner “United Struggles Against Militarization, from Latin America to Palestine,” several activists and organization began a Popular Hearing, the last event on the agenda for the III Black July international event, which began on July 23.
The event is organized by mothers, family members, and groups from Rio de Janeiro’s favelas who have lost loved ones and are targeted by state violence. The event aims “to learn together, divide our experiences and improve our mobilization with all other spaces and countries that suffer the same as each of us here in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.”
The Brazilian state of Rio has been militarized since February 2018. According to the government, the militarization is an attempt to combat drug trafficking, however, the community that lives in Rio’s favelas have denounced an increase in state violence and murders.
During the Popular Hearing there were interventions from human rights organizations like Argentina's Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Brazil’s Network of Communities and Movement Against Violence, the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, representatives of Chile’s Mapuche community, the United States-based Jewish Voices for Peace, and India’s Popular Union for Democratic Rights.
Alessandro Biazzi, professor of international relations in Rio's public university CEFET, told teleSUR there are many similarities in the use of militarized security in Israel, Brazi and throughout Latin America. "Surveillance policies against civilian population, walls that separate 'unwanted' populations, an increasing military presence, legal repression, and human rights violation that remain uninvestigated. These strategies occur in Rio and occupied Palestine.”
The speakers denounced militarization in their countries linking it to the export of Israeli arms and its model of militarized security used against the Palestinian people to Latin America and countries around the world.
They have also highlighted the role of international capital in the systematic violation of human rights in the global south and stressed the need for organized international resistance to the dispossession they generate.
A representative of BDS Latin America also launched the regional report "Israeli Militarization in Latin America," which details how the links between the Israeli military complex and the governments of Latin America enable the continued repression of the Palestinian people living under occupation and the different social movements who combat dispossession in Latin America.
At 5 p.m. the groups will participate in a demonstration against Militarization and Racism in the and will later tribute murdered Brazilian council-member Marielle Franco, and other victims of violence and militarization in the South American country.