Brazil’s former President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has been in the media’s spotlight for quite some time. President for two terms, from January 1, 2001 to 2011, he was once one of Brazil’s most popular presidents. Coming from a humble background, Lula was born into poverty. He trained to be a metal worker outside of São Paulo and became involved in activism through work with the trade union. After being elected leader of the metal workers’ trade union, it was only a short time until he helped to create Brazil’s first major socialist party, the Worker’s Party.
News and Politics
Just days after Rio councilwoman Marielle Franco was assassinated, leftist councilman Paulinho Henrique Dourado was murdered in a similar fashion. Dourado was in his car when he was shot multiple times, killing him and injuring another passenger in the car. These assassinations are two of 15 political assassinations that have occurred in Brazil since 2017 and are the first two politically driven murders following Brazilian President Temer’s decree to put Rio’s police forces under the military’s control (Telesur, 2018).
Earlier this month, Colombia held a historic parliamentary election, as it included candidates from the former militarized guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The success of the election and its results may be a projection of the upcoming presidential election at the end of May, as well as a hint to outside investors of the country’s ability to maintain a stable economic sphere.
In 1997, El Salvador’s Congress made a motion to criminalise abortion, with legislators finalizing their decision without opening the case for public debate or consulting any medical professionals. The campaign was headed by a number of anti-choice groups backed by the Catholic church, and the opposition, which took the form of a few women’s rights activists, was literally silenced when their microphones were disconnected during the trial (Lakhani 2017).
Just past 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 25, a family was caught in the crossfire of a shootout between gang members and Mexican marines in the border town of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. In what has been described by the marines as a series of ambushes by the criminal group, a total of nine people were brutally killed, and 13 injured. Included in these numbers were a mother, father, and their two young daughters, aged 4 and 6 (Univision).
On March 14th, 2018, one of Brazil’s strongest voices in the fight for equal rights was assassinated in her car along with her driver on the way home from an event to empower young black women in Rio de Janeiro. Marielle Franco had just been elected the city councilor of Rio de Janeiro 18 months prior to her death. At 38 years old, Franco was the only black female representative on the 51-member council, and one of seven women (The New York Times, 2018).