Indigenous People Occupy Brazil’s Legislature, Protesting Bill’s Violation of Land Rights

Representatives of indigenous groups from the five regions of Brazil protest against Bill PEC 215. (Photo: Santiago Navarro F.)Representatives of indigenous groups from the five regions of Brazil protest against Bill PEC 215. (Photo: Santiago Navarro F.)
Representatives of indigenous groups from the five regions of Brazil protest against Bill PEC 215. (Photo: Santiago Navarro F.)Representatives of indigenous groups from the five regions of Brazil protest against Bill PEC 215. (Photo: Santiago Navarro F.)

Indigenous leaders from the five regions of Brazil traveled for days to an encampment convoked by the Coordinating Body of Brazil’s indigenous people (APIB), which took place from April 13 to 16 in the federal district in Brasilia. The district is both a geographical center and a center of power in Brazil, as it is where the three branches of government are headquartered.

For four days and three nights, more than 1,500 indigenous individuals filled one of the gardens in front of the National Congress with colors, music and rituals. Their principal objective was to put pressure on the three branches of government so that the proposed constitutional amendment No. 215 – better known as the PEC 215/2000 – is not passed. This amendment, among other things, would transfer the decision-making power of demarcation of indigenous territories to Brazil’s legislative branch. Currently, this type of legal-political decision is in the hands of the executive branch.

“Indigenous people are moving toward complete disappearance. This law will leave us in the hands of the multinational corporations.”

Continue reading Indigenous People Occupy Brazil’s Legislature, Protesting Bill’s Violation of Land Rights

Philadelphia prepares for mega event: hosting Pope Francis

A general view of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is seen from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art looking towards City Hall in PhiladelphiaPHILADELPHIA (RNS) Advance preparations for the wildly popular Pope Francis, due in Philadelphia five months from now, might rival the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000.

Security stakes are high, both for the pontiff and the estimated 1.5 to 2 million fans from at least 150 countries, who will be sharing Mass with him on the city’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. But in addition, the pilgrims will need to be fed, housed, protected and understood in their native languages — not to mention shuttled into town from lodgings as far away as the Jersey shore — 60 miles to the east. Continue reading Philadelphia prepares for mega event: hosting Pope Francis