The city of Rio de Janeiro is home to 6 million people with approximately 1.5 million residents living in favelas. These residential communities, named after the favela trees native to the region, are commonly misunderstood by outsiders. Although 32% of favela residents belong to the lower-class, a 2013 study found that 85% of people residing in favelas like where they live. Some favelas have high crime rates, but many are high-functioning, self-governing communities.
Brazilian workers of Portland Cement Company (PERUS) strike for economic justice and better working conditions, 1962-1974
The Portland Cement Company plant at PERUS opened in 1925. Located on the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city, the plant served as the main source of raw building materials for the city. In 1951, prominent Brazilian businessman, José João Abdalla, took over the plant, making it one of the thirty subsidiaries under his control. J.J. Abdalla showed serious disregard to the needs of the workers, neglecting to provide the proper maintenance and development of facilities, which hugely impacted production and quality and safety of working conditions.
In the summer of 2013, massive protests against the World Cup and public service cuts erupted across Brazil. Following this wave of protest, the State Union of Education Professional of Rio de Janeiro (SEPE-RJ), which represents both state teachers in Rio de Janeiro and municipal teachers in the city of Rio, launched a strike on 8 August 2013.
During the 1800s, the slaves of Brazil held
uprisings and rebellions that led to the governments’ careful construction of methods
of controlling black Brazilians. After one revolt in 1835 the Bahian Parliament
passed legislation to control the “ganhadores.” Ganhadores were freed and
enslaved African males who transported goods and people through the city of
Bahia, now known as Salvador. Part of this legislation required that the
ganhadores pay taxes for their services.
Ganhadores refused to pay the required dues in every way possible,
In Brazil in
2000, the Margaridas, or Daisies, formed in honor of Margarida Maria Alves, a
union leader renowned for surmounting the embedded cultural stereotypes and
obstacles for women, especially those working in rural areas. Alves
became the president of the Rural Worker’s Union in her town, but was
reportedly assassinated in 1983, at the age of 50, because of her advocacy for
those working in rural or forested areas.
After her death, she became a feminist icon in the fight for equality
Brazil is the largest country in South America with resources comparable to the continental United States as well as vast amounts of land for agricultural development. At the time of this campaign, two-thirds of the population went hungry and were without work. 48% of the arable land was controlled by 1% of the population for large-scale agricultural enterprises. In 1964, there was a military coup that resulted in a twenty-one year military dictatorship and small farmers were pushed off their land, which was taken by the government.
Brazilian Rubber Tappers campaign to protest the deforestation of the Brazilian rainforest region, 1977-1988
For centuries, those who made a living by extracting and collecting rubber from rubber trees had been virtual slaves to the powerful rubber barons who controlled the Amazon region. Attempts were made in the 1960s to unionize these workers, called “rubber tappers;” however, these attempts failed. The 1970s marked a shift in the dynamics of the extraction of resources from the Amazon. Ranchers from Southern Brazil began to buy up huge tracts of land in order to clear them for cattle grazing land.