Beginning at sunrise on 25 March 2019, 300 Ava-Guarani hailing from twelve villages in Guaíra, Paraná and Terra Roxa, São Paulo occupied the Ayrton Senna Bridge, which spans the Rio Paraná in Brazil. The location of this protest was a strategic disruption for two reasons; the bridge serves as the connection between the municipalities of Guaíra and Mundo Novo, and the highway that runs atop it is an access point to nearby Paraguay.
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.
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,
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 Indigenous protest construction of Belo Monte Dam on Xingu River in Brazilian Amazon, 2008-2011
During the 1970s, when Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship, the proposal of building several hydroelectric dams on the Xingu River was first presented. These dams were suggested as a way to increase energy supply to Brazil. The location of these proposed dams, along the Xingu River, was within the Brazilian Amazon in the region of Para, Brazil. The proposal was eventually put on hold, due to controversy regarding the dams’ potential location on idigenous land.
In 1964 the military took control of the Brazilian government in a coup d’état and began a twenty-year military rule. The government often had disagreements with the Catholic clergy in Brazil, especially foreign missionaries and priests, which made up about 40% of the Brazilian clergy. During that time many of these clergy members were espousing Liberation Theology, a use of biblical teaching for the purpose of improving and liberating the oppressed and the poor, especially the lower class in rural Brazil. However, this radical teaching often put clergy members in confront