Brazil bus hijacker shot dead by police sniper, hostages released

A man who hijacked a bus on a bridge in Brazil has been shot dead by police after holding the passengers hostage for hours.

The attacker seized the vehicle as it crossed the the Rio-Niteroi bridge with 37 on board at around 6.30am local time Tuesday, stopping it mid-way and prompting all lanes to be shut down by local authorities.

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Police began negotiating with the hijacker and he had released several of the hostages before reportedly attempting to disembark from the vehicle while holding a gun to the head of a captive. Military police said that a sniper “neutralized” the suspect and “all the hostages were released unharmed.”

A spokesperson for the military police told local media that the man was carrying a toy gun. He had earlier threatened to set the bus alight and claimed to have been a former military police officer, but this was disputed by police.

The incident is being investigated by the Niteroi Homicide unit.

  • Published in World

'Bolsonaro Should Not Offend The Argentine People', Lula Says

The Workers Party leader rejected Bolsonaro's offensive words against the winners of the primaries in Argentina.

Brazil's former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva blasted the statement made by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro about Alberto Fernandez's victory in the Argentinean presidential primary elections.

“I saw a speech by Bolsonaro against Argentina and the victory of Alberto Fernandez. I could not believe that a Brazilian President had such foolishness and sassiness to talk about his most important trade partner and strategic ally​​​​​ by offending the Argentine people and the man who won the primary elections,” Lula said in an interview granted from jail.​​​​ on Friday.

Last week, the far-right Brazilian President expressed his disgust at the electoral failure of President Mauricio Macri, a neo-liberal politician who lost by more than 15 percentage points in the elections held on August 11.

Besides describing   the winning candidates as "left-wing bandits," Bolsonaro said that Brazil will not welcome the Argentines when they begin to escape from their country due to the return of Peronism to power.

The Workers' Party (PT) leader also criticized the support Bolsonaro has provided to the Macri administration despite its poor economic performance.

"Does Bolsonaro think that Macri, who brought inflation to 74 percent, is good for Argentina? The one who increased the external debt to US$100 billion? The one who greatly increased the amount of people sleeping at the streets of Buenos Aires? For the love of God," Lula said.

"In an interview with journalist Bob Fernandes (TVE Bahia), which will be broadcasted today at 6:00 pm through social networks, President Lula said that [Jair Bolsonaro's Economy Minister ] Guedes wants to destroy the Brazilian economy and that it does not matter if he remains imprisoned until abuses committed against him can be demonstrated."

Regarding the return of the left to power in Latin America, Bolsonaro described critics of neoliberalism in inappropriate terms during a meeting in the city of Parnaiba.

“We will end the poop of Brazil. The poop is this race of corrupted and communists. In the next elections, let's sweep this red gang from Brazil. Since Venezuela is good [for this people], I'll send this gang there. Whoever wants a little further north will go to Cuba.

Lula da Silva explained that, once again, this sort of political discourse demonstrates the clear incompatibility between Bolsonaro's personal attitudes and the office he holds.

“Bolsonaro behaves like the chief of the hooligans. He doesn't want the team to improve. He wants conditions to continue booing and cursing. That is what he wants," the former leftist president stressed.​​​​​​​

  • Published in World

Prosecutors Reject Bolsonaro's Son as Brazil's Ambassador to the US

The Federal Public Prosecutor's Office filed a court order this Monday to block the appointment of federal Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of President Jair Bolsonaro, to the post of Brazilian Ambassador to the United States.

The Public Prosecutor's Office argues that it rejects such an appointment as a possible act of nepotism, even though it has already been approved by Donald Trump's government.

It details that the government follows criteria to choose ambassadors who are not career diplomats, such as recognized merit in diplomatic activities, relevant diplomatic services offered to the country and at least three years of experience in such activities.

The Brazilian Constitution prohibits the designation of a spouse or relative up to the third degree of consanguinity to exercise a post of commission or trust in any of the powers of the State.

However, the Comptroller General of the State considers that this interdiction only refers to the election of administrative posts, but not non-political offices, which is why it endorsed the appointment of Eduardo Bolsonaro as Brazil's official representative in Washington.

According to the Attorney General's Office, the post of Ambassador to the US is the most important in Brazilian diplomacy, and as such this appointment should be taken seriously and responsibly, regardless of family ties. It warned that in the past the appointment of persons without technical conditions for diplomatic missions has had negative repercussions for the country.

There is 'danger of harm if a person is named without adequate preparation to establish intense negotiations with foreign agents,' stressed the Attorney General's Office, which called to respect the technical criteria for choosing diplomatic chiefs.

  • Published in World

Brazilian president suggests less pooping to help save environment

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday suggested eating less food, and therefore, defecating less, as an answer to some of the world's problems.

Bolsonaro — who has come under fire in recent weeks after data showed increased deforestation of the Amazon rainforest — offered the response to a reporter who questioned if it was possible to boost the economy, feed those who are hungry and save the environment at the same time.

"It's enough to eat a little less. You talk about environmental pollution. It's enough to poop every other day," Bolsonaro said, according to AFP. "That will be better for the whole world."

Critics say that Bolsonaro's policies will help accelerate further deforestation of the Amazon — 60 percent of which is part of Brazil. A key regulator of the Earth's living systems, the rainforest's trees take in as much as 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year and release 20 percent of the planet's oxygen.

New data published last week by the National Institute for Space Research, a federal Brazilian agency, showed that more rainforest was lost between May and July this year than during the same period in 2018, 2017 and 2016.

In July alone, 870 square miles of vegetation was cut down — the biggest surge in deforestation rates since the institute adopted its current methodology in 2014.

Bolsonaro alleged the agency might have manipulated the deforestation data to make his far-right administration look bad. He fired physicist Ricardo Galvão, who served as director of the National Institute for Space Research, after deeming the information "doubtful."

Brazil was once heralded as a global environmental success story. But as data indicates an influx in Amazon deforestation under Bolsonaro — a climate change skeptic with a strongly pro-agrobusiness agenda — some fear what could happen to the rainforest.

  • Published in World

Foro de São Paolo: Venezuela Is Today the First Trench of the Anti-Imperialist Struggle

So declared Cuban President Díaz-Canel in his July 28 speech at the Foro de São Paolo in Caracas. It is not the first time that Cuba, through its leaders and revolutionary press, has made such an affirmation. Furthermore, in a modest and unassuming way, so has Venezuela. No doubt similar declarations will be made in the future. The fate of Venezuela is still being played out, even though the Bolivarian Revolution and its President, Nicolas Maduro, have defeated every single attempt by the U.S. and by Venezuela’s external and internal enemies to overthrow the government.

Some supporters in Caracas of both the Cuban Revolution and the Bolivarian Revolution questioned whether Cuba should also be honoured for standing in that first trench.

The writer of these lines believes that the answer is “yes and no.” Since 1959, Cuba has solidly positioned itself – and likewise been designated by the world anti-imperialist movement – as proudly standing upright in that first trench as far as Latin America is concerned. Moreover, the international left consensus continuously and correctly reminds us that the Cuban Revolution has primarily been holding that banner courageously aloft on its very own.

Even though other important breakthroughs have occurred, nothing compares to the rise of Hugo Chávez and the fledgling Bolivarian Revolution through the December 1998 elections.

And in the wake of this watershed in Latin American history arose the development of regional integration, which would not have been possible without Chávez together with that other Latin American giant, Fidel Castro. Thus, one can say that both Cuba and Venezuela occupied that coveted (but not sought-after) first trench standing on the same footing.

However, as a result of the first coup attempt against the Maduro government on January 23, 2019, everything changed. The ripple effect not only hit Latin America but also, to a large extent, the world.

Never before in decades on this planet have we witnessed such a U.S.-led international, sustained, vicious and coordinated economic, political and diplomatic media disinformation/lying campaign against a government and its leader – in this case, President Maduro – as we have seen over the last six months (and ongoing).

To put this in context by taking definite time frames, one can recall the “Black Spring” media war against Cuba in 2003 over the arrest of mercenaries, the so-called “dissidents.” However, this was nothing compared with Venezuela in 2019. After a relatively short period of time, the controversy over Cuba fizzled out on its own.

As far as personalizing a media war by targeting an individual leader, what comes to mind is the “blitzkrieg” in much of the international media against the persona of Fidel Castro after his passing on November 25, 2016, as the term employed to describe that disinformation in my latest book.

Like starving sharks sensing blood, much of the mainstream media carried out a virtual non-stop, 10-day campaign. It centred around the theme that the “dictator” had passed away and so finally Cuba could come to its senses and liberate itself from socialism, its political system, and make concessions to the U.S. in order to “be deserving of” better relations.

However, it lasted only while the Cuban people laid their leader to rest. It soon became clear that Cuba would remain on the same path it had chosen to take since 1959. The time span was not more than about two weeks. It was, thereafter, business as usual.

These and other examples are relatively minor compared with the current 2019 anti-Maduro campaign.

Cuba defeated the mercenary U.S.-backed military invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 at a time when the Revolution was already solidly in power and did not share any political or economic power with pro-U.S. forces. Close to 60 years after the Bay of Pigs, the U.S. is still licking its wounds. It knows that it cannot – and will not – dare to attempt a military coup in Cuba or invade the island. Whether or not the U.S. likes it, the military option for Cuba is not on the table.

The situation in Venezuela, however, is different. While the civic–military union is solid, a military intervention in Venezuela is still possible – and is always on the U.S. table. For example, during the Foro while meeting with parliamentarians on July 28, one of the Bolivarian Revolution’s main leaders, Diosdado Cabello, said, “It is probable that the U.S. Marines will enter Venezuela; the problem for them, however, is how they are going to leave [alive].”

Even though some of the important Trump allies in the Lima Group do not approve of a military solution, how much weight does this hold in the balance when all these allies fully support regime change?

Let us take one example to draw a distinction between Cuba’s and Venezuela’s situation from the author’s own country. It is still very “fashionable” in Canada at all levels of society and in the mainstream media to oppose the U.S. blockade against Cuba and refrain from open regime change rhetoric. However, the U.S.-led media war against Venezuela is so powerful and all encompassing in Canada that it is “fashionable” in this country to repeat all the U.S. lies and swallow hook, line and sinker the U.S. narrative against Venezuela and especially its leader, Maduro.

Venezuela is thus indeed in the first trench of the anti-imperialist struggle. In the course of a meeting on February 4, 2019 with a small foreign delegation in Caracas, Maduro pointed out to us that Venezuela was not seeking the honour of being the epicentre of the international anti-imperialist battle. However, invoking Vietnam, he drew the historical parallel and stated that Venezuela is indeed up to the challenge.

Yes, Venezuela is in the first trench. However, as Díaz-Canel pointed out, the U.S. is also targeting Cuba and Nicaragua.

Thus, due to its repeatedly stubborn refusal to abandon Venezuela despite U.S. attempts to starve Cuba into submission and take the road of treason, Cuba is indeed, in a manner of speaking, sharing that first trench with Venezuela. Yet, Venezuela ranks first there, up front, not by its own choice, but rather because of a situation forced upon it by the U.S. and its allies. The Bolivarian Revolution holds its head up, courageously peering over the trench and ready to take that first bullet, if need be – but not without a fitting response.

Diaz-Canel: Bolsonaro Lies about Cuban Doctors

President Miguel Diaz-Canel denounced that the Brazilian head of State, Jair Bolsonaro, lies about the Cuban doctors in that country, and acts with servility towards the United States.

President Bolsonaro lies again. His servility towards the #US is shameful. His vulgar slanders against #Cuba and the #MaisMedicos program will never deceive the brother Brazilian people, who know well about the nobility and humanity of Cuban medical cooperation. #SomosCuba, the Cuban president wrote on his Twitter account.

It was Diaz-Canel's response to Bolsonaro's statement that the presence of Cuban healthcare experts in Brazil was aimed at 'creating guerrilla groups'.

Since his electoral campaign, the Brazilian president has launched a frontal attack on the Mais Medicos program, in which Cuban physicians were rendering their services in Brazil's neediest communities, with positive results in health indicators.

Bolsonaro attacks on Cuban doctors caused Cuba to cancel its participation in that program.

  • Published in Cuba

Bolsonaro may be Forced to Reveal Everything about Political Prisoner

The Brazilian Prosecutor's Office assesses Jair Bolsonaro's statement about the disappearance of political prisoner Fernando Augusto de Santa Cruz Oliveira, whereby the president could be forced to reveal everything he knows about the case.

'It is extremely serious not only because of the friction with the ethical and moral decorum that is expected of all citizens and public authorities, but also because of its legal implications,' the Federal Attorney General's Office of Citizen Rights, in a public note to the Public Ministry.

Bolsonaro unleashed the controversy when he told reporters on Monday that he would tell Felipe Santa Cruz, president of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), how his father died during the military dictatorship (1964-1985).

Felipe is the son of the late Fernando Augusto Santa Cruz de Oliveira, killed by the Armed Forces in 1974, as evidenced by a secret Aeronautical document.

However, Bolsonaro dared to say that Fernando was executed by an armed group of the left and not by the military.

'Who is that OAB? If one day the president of the OAB wants to know how his father disappeared in the military period, I tell him. He will not want to hear the truth. I tell you, 'said the politician of the extreme right.

Signed by the federal prosecutor for Citizens' Rights, Deborah Duprat, and deputy Marlon Weichert, the note notes that 'rare situations cause as much suffering as the disappearance of a loved one.'

In Brazil, more than 80 thousand families face the disappearance situation each year from different sources: social, health and violent disappearances.

'Everyone suffers, almost always in silence, this perennial pain, which does not cease until the whereabouts of the loved one are discovered. Respect for this pain is a sign of humanity and dignity, practiced by different civilizations and all religions', details the Prosecutor's text.

  • Published in World


In an entertaining and heavily contested match, Brazil imposed their will on Argentina for a final score of 30 to 21 to win both a gold medal and a golden ticket to the Olympic Games next year.

Brazil and Argentina arrived at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games with their best Handball teams in search of tickets to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. So it was not a surprise that both teams starred in the Grand Final of the Pan Am Games in Peru.

In an extremely exciting duel, there was no rest for either team and the score was deadlocked at 12 after the first 30 minutes of action, reflecting the parity of the teams.

However, during the halftime, the green and yellow squad made a tactical change, pressed harder and left everything on the court in search of victory.

They began to cement an insurmountable advantage over the team wearing the albiceleste flag in the second half. Crucial to Brazil’s success were the talented players Adriana Cardoso, Larissa Araujo and the goalkeeper Renata Arruda.

Finally, Brazil won by a clear 30 to 21 margin and Carnival broke out in the VIDENA sports complex.

Brazil not only has a new gold medal to their name, but also won the ultimate jackpot of reaching the top handball tournament in the world that will take place next year at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

After a hard fought final, Argentina took home the silver medal and the bronze went to Cuba.

  • Published in Sports
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