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OPINION | Died for being black | CNN

2020-11-27T22:12:50.778Z

Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas died while being held by security agents in circumstances very similar to those of George Floyd in the United States. Both black. Both died while being held and immobilized by security agents. Both events generated multiple declarations of repudiation of police actions in general and among the black population in particular. | Opinion | CNN



Friends and family of Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas at his funeral (SILVIO AVILA / AFP via Getty Images)

Editor's note:

Pedro Brieger is an Argentine journalist and sociologist, author of seven books and contributor to publications on international issues.

He currently serves as director of Nodal, a portal dedicated to news from Latin America and the Caribbean.

He has collaborated with Argentine newspapers such as Clarín, El Cronista, La Nación, Página / 12 and Perfil, and with magazines such as Noticias, Somos, Le Monde Diplomatique and Panorama.

Throughout his career, Brieger has received important awards for his informative work on radio and television in Argentina.

(CNN Spanish) -

The title of this column repeats the first sentences of a statement from a racial equality working group of the Public Defender's Office of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, whose capital is Porto Alegre.

There, on Thursday, November 19, a black man named Beto Freitas died while being held by security agents in circumstances very similar to those of George Floyd in the United States, a case that had wide repercussions.

Both black.

Both died while being held and immobilized by security agents.

Both events generated multiple declarations of repudiation of police actions in general and among the black population in particular.

Both are descendants of slaves brought from Africa.

George Floyd and Beto Freitas.

United States and Brazil.

Two countries united by a long history of racism.

While the Freitas case is just beginning to be investigated, there are already defendants in the Floyd case.

To add more tension to the situation in Brazil, it must be said that Freitas died on the eve of November 20, the day of black conscience that commemorates the murder of black leaders in an anti-slavery revolt of 1695 and is a holiday in multiple cities of the country. .

The man had gone to a supermarket and after an altercation he was taken off the premises by two private security agents - one of them, a temporary employee of the military police, both white.

For unknown reasons, Freitas punched one of the guards, and they proceeded to beat him and pin him to the ground for several minutes, including with one knee on his back and neck, while customers, employees and other guards watched.

Freitas died there after about four minutes.

In addition to the images of the security cameras obtained by a TV newscast, the event was filmed by several people and went viral on social networks, generating a wave of protests.

MIRA: Curfew in Philadelphia for protests after the death of a black man at the hands of the police

In the investigation of Freitas' death, one of the employees told the police, according to the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, that the man seemed angry for some reason that she did not understand due to the confusion at the time and because he was wearing a mask. .

Lawyers for the military police officer who worked as a security officer say that he did not intend to kill Freitas and that he was not motivated by race.

(Luis Alvarenga / Getty Images)

The fight against discrimination needs a clear message from the main authorities to combat stereotypes, expand rights and recognize the history of racism itself.

More so in the case of Brazil, which was the last country in Latin America to abolish slavery and where today more than 56 percent of the population declares themselves black or mulatto.

But today the fight against racism does not seem to be on the government's agenda.

According to a compilation of public statements by officials, racist discourse has grown and doubled in the past year instead of diminishing.

One day after Freitas' death, on Black Awareness Day, Vice President Hamilton Mourao said that there was no racism in Brazil, while Jair Bolsonaro, on Twitter, reported that he was "color blind" and that there was no "one skin color better than others ”.

In any person this phrase could be interpreted as an anti-racist and egalitarian gesture.

But the president of Brazil is known for his record of discriminatory expressions.

To effectively combat discrimination, the president needs to be on the front line.

It is not the case.

Racism

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2020-11-27

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