Public declaration of repudiation and call to fight

Yesterday, 7/17, Judge Flávio Itabaiana de Oliveira Nicolau finally handled over the service that he had been hired for by Sérgio Cabral four years ago: he condemned all 23 activists involved in the protests against the FIFA spree to penalties ranging from 5 to 13 years in prison, in an initially closed regime.

What crimes did we commit?

Did we dare to denounce the misdeeds of Sérgio Cabral[1], Pezão [2] and co., covered all the time by the Judiciary and by Rio Public Ministry?

Did we dare to denounce the FIFA World Cup spree, whose only “legacy” left to the people was the debris of the removed communities and the breakdown of public services?

Did we dare to participate, as students and workers, shoulder to shoulder with millions of people in the largest mass demonstrations in the country’s recent history?

Did we dare to act alongside independent popular movements, which do not bow down or sell themselves to the “dark transactions[3]” of the official politics that misgovern us, whose major symbols are Pezão[4] and Temer[5]?

If they accuse us of this, we must accept with pride what our executioners say. Because that’s exactly what we did; that is, we fought. Everyone needs to understand that it is our entire generation that they seek to condemn and intimidate with this infamous sentence. But they will not accomplish that: we carry the stubbornness of those who insist on having faith in life, faith in the struggle, faith in the people. The stubbornness of the thousands who marched at Saens Peña Square on the day of the World Cup final just hours after dozens of activists were arrested and sent to Bangu’s Penitentiary Complex[6]. We choose a side, and it is not the oppressors’ side. If they accuse us of all this, then we have to be thankful.

With this sentence, Mr. Itabaiana enters History through the back door. He will always be remembered as the one who relentlessly persecuted the youth of June 2013. Let it be recorded: what was done in Rio de Janeiro, regarding persecutory procedures, abusive prisons, invasions of residences, illegal infiltration, lawyers’ wiretaps and an informal “plea bargaining” (that of Felipe Braz, whose testimony is practically the only “proof” presented to condemn us), had no match anywhere else in Brazil. Perhaps executioners are proud of their service; to this “pride” we believe more coherent to say: SHAME!

Yes, because it is shameful that the protesters against the FIFA spree are condemned, when today most of the World Cup organizers themselves are imprisoned! When the ex-governor who savagely repressed us is imprisoned! When the country is brought to the brink of hunger and social devastation by the same vampires who shook with hatred as the youth took to the streets! When Rede Globo[7], who haunted us, has not yet explained its negotiations around the mega-events!

Any word on the “condemnable conduct” and “distorted personality”[8] of these people, Mr. Judge?

We reaffirm what we have said over the years: FIGHTING IS NOT A CRIME! Crime is the state of calamity offered to the people in the line of hospitals, crime is the lack of space in public nurseries, crime is the expensive and overcrowded buses, crime is what is practiced daily in the favelas, bloody by the genocide of black and poor people. These are crimes! And these crimes, be sure, will not go unpunished forever.

In times of serious attacks on labor and social rights, it is fundamental to unfurl the flags of freedom of expression and manifestation, without which no other right can be defended, much less conquered. This is all the more important when Rio sees itself under military intervention, and we watch officials, almost on a daily basis, speaking openly about the possibility of a military coup in the country. We call on all fighters, workers, students, collectives, activists, intellectuals and democrats to speak out loud in this campaign. It is not only for the 23: it is for all who fight!

Fighting is not a crime!

Fascists, today and always: they shall not pass!

Long live the June 2013 Journeys!

Sign this note:

Bruno de Sousa Vieira Machado

Elisa Quadros Pinto Sanzi

Emerson Raphael Oliveira da Fonseca

Felipe Frieb de Carvalho

Filipe Proença de Carvalho Moraes

Igor Mendes da Silva

Joseane Maria Araújo de Freitas

Leonardo Fortini Baroni

Luiz Carlos Rendeiro Júnior

Pedro Guilherme Mascarenhas Freire

Rafael Rêgo Barros Caruso

Rebeca Martins de Souza

Shirlene Feitoza da Fonseca

Translator’s notes:

[1] Translator note: Sérgio Cabral was the Governor of Rio de Janeiro from 2007 to 2014

[2] Translator note: Luiz Fernando “Pezão” was the Vice-Governor of Rio de Janeiro from 2007 to 2014

[3] Translator note: This is a reference to Chico Buarque and Francis Hime’s “Vai Passar”, a famous song protesting the Brazilian Military Dictatorship

[4] Translator note: Pezão is Rio de Janeiro’s current governor

[5] Translator note: Michel Temer is Brazil current president. He took the position after Dilma Roussef’s impeachment in 2016

[6] Translator note: The Gericinó Penitentiary Complex, formerly Bangu Penitentiary Complex, is one of Brazil’s biggest penitentiary complexes

[7] Translator note: Rede Globo is the largest commercial TV network in Brazil. It is known that Globo had a major role in helping the Brazilian Military coup in 1964.

[8] Translator note: These are terms used in judge Itabaiana’s process to describe the condemned activists