With already one of the worst disparities of wealth in the world, the gap
between rich and poor has widened even more over the last two decades in Brazil.
The income of the wealthiest 2.4 percent is now approximately 14 times greater
than the median Brazilian family income.
In 1980, the wealthiest
Brazilians earned only 10 times more than the median family income. In comparison
with Brazilians living under the poverty line, the wealthiest now earn 80
times more income.
During the last 20 years,
the Brazilian economy, which weathered a recession, debt moratorium, and various
economic plans, managed to double the number of wealthy Brazilians. According
to the book, Atlas da Riqueza no Brasil (Wealth Atlas in Brazil) by
economist Marcio Pochmann, there were 1.162 million wealthy families (2.4
percent of the population) in Brazil in 2000.
Twenty years ago, the
number was 507,000 (equivalent to 1.8 percent of the population). In the study,
families with monthly income over R$10,982 (Brazilian monetary value in September
2003) are considered wealthy. Today, this monthly income amount would be approximately
$3,814 U.S. dollars. The government mandated minimum wage hovers around $85
dollars (R$240) per month.
The southeastern region
of the country, led by São Paulo, had 67.2 percent of the wealthy families
in 1980. Twenty years later, the southeastern regional percentage climbed
to 73.5 percent. In the arid northeastern region, the numbers fell from 9.4
percent in 1980 to 7.2 percent in 2000.
Pochmann's book shows
that the 2.4 percent wealthiest Brazilian families account for 1/3 of the
nation's wealth according to the 2000 Census. Atlas da Riqueza no Brasil
will be published by Editors Cortez at the upcoming Bienal do Livro.
In six years, the number
of people killed by the police of Rio de Janeiro has tripled. Since 1998,
the Civil Police has classified the deaths as "acts of resistance"
during conflicts between the police and alleged criminal suspects.
According to Antônio
Garotinho, Rio's Secretary of Public Security, the increase in the number
of deaths is happening because there is more direct confrontation in the last
In 2003, 1,195 suspects
were killed by the Rio police, which is 32 percent more than the 900 people
who were killed in 2002. The 2002 figure was already a record number. The
numbers were provided by the State Secretary of Public Security.
Last November, Garotinho
had celebrated the numbers in his weekly radio program. He said, "I do
not want anyone being killed (by the police). I wish from my heart that there
is peace, but while there are people in the path of evil, the police must
act to give peace to other people."
Garotinho is the former
governor and husband of Rosinha Garotinho, the actual governor. Bringing offending
officers to justice can prove difficult. In order to shelve investigations
of police misconduct, the police agent has only to secure two witnesses who
will testify that the agent was being attacked by the alleged criminals.
Less Indian Land
Brazilian President Luiz
Inácio Lula da Silva will probably reduce the Indígenous Reservation
Raposa/Serra do Sol, in the State of Roraima (high Amazonas). Lula justified
the reduction by stating that he is taking into account the rights of the
non-indigenous population and economic interests in the state of Roraima.
According to Representative
Lindberg Farias,from Rio's Workers' Party and a member of the congressional
commission formed to study the issue, rice farms and the Uiramutã municipality
may be excluded from the reservation. This would decrease the reservation
by 1.5 percent.
This material was distributed by News from Brazil, a service from Sejup
(Serviço Brasileiro de Justiça e PazBrazilian Service
of Justice and Peace). To get in touch with them, send a message to email@example.com