Brazilian students and human rights activists marked the first anniversary of the massacre and disappearance of the Mexico's Ayotzinapa students with a demonstration on São Paulo’s busy Avenida Paulista, one of the main avenues in the city, expressing the identification of Brazilian workers and youth with the Mexican dead and missing teaching students.
The protester carried placards with the pictures of the 43 disappeared normalistas and handed out leaflets promoting a “Week of struggle against state violence,” with conferences and activities marking the anniversary of the Iguala massacre and kidnappings and the 23rd anniversary of Brazil’s infamous 1992 prison massacre of Carandiru, which took place in São Paulo.
The WSWS spoke with youth at the São Paulo protest.
Monique declared that the same kind of repression seen in Mexico takes place in Brazil and throughout Latin America. “People must denounce state violence which doesn’t have frontiers,” she said, adding that what happened in Iguala was not only “political, but also social repression.”
About the current situation in Brazil, Monique argued: “[President Dilma] Rousseff’s government like all PT [Worker’s Party] governments pretends a greater approach towards the poor, but when it comes to important decisions—when they decide who’s going to pay the political and economic cost amid a crisis of capitalism—they are always against the poor. I think the government has proven to be on the side of the rich and against the poor in Mexico and here in Brazil, especially against the indigenous people”.
“We’re here to remember the 43 students disappeared by the [Mexican] state,” said Otávio. “States all over the world employ violence in pursuit of their interests. [The 43] stood in the way of the Iguala mayor [Abarca] and his interests, which were linked to organized crime, and this happens all over the world. By standing in the way of the interests of the state and the powerful, one meets bullets and torture”.
Asked if he saw any connection between what happened in Iguala and Brazil, he answered: “Totally. In Latin America, the state constantly attacks its citizens. Here in Brazil, it’s no different. The military police of São Paulo state is the police force that kills the most people in the world.” The Brazilian government, he said, “defends the interests of agribusiness, of big industries and small oligarchs.”
Rafael declared that what happened in Iguala occurs every day in Mexico and Brazil, and that he was there for an “appeal to solidarity for what happened to the 43.”
“The most important thing its that spaces for resistance are the only place where you have a voice,” he added. “The state tries to silence you with violence. You’ve got already a year of this disappearance, and while this occurs in Mexico, what is going on in Brazil is the genocide of indigenous peoples like the guaraní kaiowá in the [state of] Mato Grosso, who are being killed by gunmen, and the state is there and supporting this.”
Asked why he thought the Mexican students were “disappeared,” Rafael answered: “The state does not accept disagreements. And when the state does this [repression], it is accepting it’s detached from reality. Capitalism needs to combat people, to repress students, to kill indigenous people and the black and the poor. Annihilate those who dare to think different from what it proposes.”
“The state’s logic is to kill,” said Lucas, “here and in Mexico. The resistance has got to be shared...it has to be international. That’s why we are doing this week of events.”
About the 43 disappeared students, Lucas said: “The state has to end with resistances to their capitalist plans...to their state plans. The state works like that. The first step is to ignore; if it can’t manage to do that, it then criminalizes and we end up with the 43 missing.”
“I don’t believe in the government. I don’t believe in the state. New forms of struggle and resistance must be created.”