Statement of the Corrente Comunista Revolucionária (Section of the RCIT in Brazil), 21 August 2018, www.elmundosocialista.blogspot.com
The images could be confused with photographs that illustrated the reports about North African migrants being harassed by right-wing groups at Europe’s closed borders. But the scenes of violence and aggression against citizens and refugees families occurred in Pacaraima, a city of the state of Roraima, with 12,000 inhabitants, on the northern border between Venezuela and Brazil. Several places of Venezuelans’ refugees fleeing the political and economic crisis in their country were attacked Saturday (August 18) by angry neighbors in this little city in northern Brazil.
On Saturday morning, a Brazilian merchant was injured and his family accused a Venezuelan migrant of assaulting him and stealing from him. About a thousand migrants until then lived in those streets. In retaliation, dozens of Brazilian residents attacked the two major makeshift migratory camps and burned their belongings, as reported by the task force charged with managing the flow of migrants. Images broadcast by local TV stations released by international agencies show parts of a burned camp.
Videos filmed by Pacaraima's own inhabitants were witnesses of the clashes, while the streets bordering the border were full of debris. "It's terrible, they burned the tents and everything inside," said Carol Marcano, a Venezuelan who works in the regional capital Boa Vista and who was at the border that day.
In a statement, the Venezuelan government asked the Brazilian government to "take all measures of protection and security" in relation to Venezuelan citizens. At the same time, the governor of the state of Roraima, Suely Campos, asked Brasilia (federal capital) for security reinforcements to "deal with the increase in crime", which she attributes to the growing number of Venezuelans in the region. The Brazilian Ministry of Public Security said it would send a contingent of 120 men, who will arrive on next Monday and join the teams already present in the region.
The tradition of the Brazilian people with respect to immigrants
One must never forget that these migrants from our neighbors in South America and Central America, such as Haitians, have been subjected to extreme exploitation. We can say they are treated as slaves or semi-slaves. This is the case of the Bolivian community in textile garments in São Paulo, or of the Haitians in the construction industry in several Brazilian cities. Let us also remember that Brazilian migrants are still being barred at airports in Europe and the United States, thus suffering the same odious discrimination of xenophobia that now our country shamefully shows to the world.
Brazil has always stood out because it welcomes migrants from any country, it is an old tradition. In fact, like all of the American continent, with the exception of native Indian groups and blacks brought as slaves, we are all descendants of migrants.
What has changed in the last 3 years?
What has changed so that a part of the Brazilian population adopted the same discriminatory, reactionary and xenophobic practices? The answer is the parliamentary coup-d’état in 2016 that overthrew the elected legitimate president Rousseff and installed an extremely reactionary, conservative, regime of emergency that made profound attacks on urban workers and poor peasants. The cutbacks in social investment and rising unemployment caused by so-called structural reforms (pension, labor, education, privatization, etc.) are creating a level of impoverishment of the population at a level of 100 years ago.
It is in this context that, in addition to abandoning its own population in removing the minimum social, economic and civil rights, there is a total lack of an official state policy regarding the various immigrants and refugees (Syrians, Haitians, Bolivians, Senegalese, etc.) who are in Brazil in order to survive. And this situation has now exploded in the state of Roraima.
The influence of the electoral campaign
This context is decisive for the aggravation of the violence with patterns of xenophobia and discrimination widely stimulated by the government of the state of Roraima, commanded by the governor Suely Campos of the Progressive Party, by the sensationalist press and by the discourses of neo-fascist groups. Media reports speculate that the governor's campaign for re-election is at the forefront of the crackdown on repression of Venezuelan refugees in an effort to have more votes for her re-election. Earlier, the governor filed a Supreme Court action to close the border and prevent the arrival of refugees, something that was promptly rejected by Supreme Minister Rosa Weber.
The Position of the Revolutionary Communist-CCR Current
The Corrente Comunista Revolucionária (Brazil section of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency) expresses its total solidarity with Venezuelan migrants and refugees and all migrants in general. We denounce the responsibility of the Temer Government and the elites in causing the worsening of this situation with obvious objectives. As in the city of Rio de Janeiro, we condemn any military intervention in the state of Roraima. The expansion of this policy of intervention, in the name of security, at a time when we live in a regime of emergency, can pave the way for the total militarization of the country. In addition, a possible militarization of the border with Venezuela would be a way for this government to meet a demand from the US government for the Brazilian government to pressure the neighboring country and try to overthrow the Maduro government. We reject any intervention in Venezuela, both from the United States or any neighboring countries. It is neither the demoralized coup government of Michel Temer nor US imperialism which can give lessons of democracy to any country!
*All support to the immigrant workers and refugees of Venezuela or any other country!
*For the opening the borders!
*Migrants must have the same rights as the Brazilian natives!
*No to the military intervention in Rio de Janeiro, in Roraima and in all the country!
*No to any intervention by imperialist powers or by the Brazilian government in the territory of Venezuela!