Brazil's Structural Racism Lives In A Modest House In Turiaçu

source: rioonwatch
7

It was a Saturday, July 31. Oliveira and his father, Ronaldo Marques, took a bus to the Salgueiro favela, also located in Rio’s North Zone, where the boy’s aunt lives. The trip’s purpose was to pick up a basket of basic foodstuffs. Soon after meeting up with family members, Oliveira went to a bar near his aunt’s house, where a party was going on, to meet his cousin. Everyone was suddenly caught off guard by a police raid, which caused fear and confusion, with bombs, gunshots, and shrapnel raining down. Fragments hit the young man’s face. Despite his injury, Oliveira realized his 14-year-old cousin had been shot in the leg. When he tried to assist her, a bomb went off right next to him. “It all happened very fast, then I helped my cousin and we took her to the hospital in the police car. A few hours later, inside the hospital, I was told that I couldn’t go home, and that I had to go to the police station to give a statement because I was being accused by the officers of having been involved in the shooting. Apparently, they wanted to blame and arrest someone. I’m not sure if they get any kind of bonus for that kind of thing, but that’s the feeling I got at the time.” Oliveira’s teenage cousin was hospitalized, underwent surgery on her leg and was discharged a few days later. His retired father, Ronaldo, began to experience high blood pressure after his son’s unjustified arrest. “My father was traumatized. I can’t go anywhere without him panicking; he worries. He always thinks that what happened is going to happen again. Now he needs to undergo all sorts of tests, because his blood pressure is always fluctuating. This has upset our family in many ways.” Times had been hard enough for Oliveira, who lost his mother six years ago to stomach cancer. Leaving behind his dream of becoming a soccer player to work as a salesman and help support his family, Oliveira considered taking the exam to join the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro to offer his loved ones a better life. Before being incarcerated, he would wake up early every day and leave home at three in the morning for Barra da Tijuca, where he worked as a stock boy. After his arrest, his employers were so concerned about his fate that they sent his work documentation to the Rio de Janeiro State Court of Justice, which ignored the legal paperwork during his preliminary hearing. The racism, humiliation, prejudice, ill-treatment, and verbal abuse endured in places of deprivation of liberty, revealed to Oliveira the reality of the Brazilian prison system. The young man stayed in a tiny cell with over 30 prisoners, one of whom was infected with tuberculosis. “The cell was the size of this bedroom,” he said, using his cell phone camera to show a room holding a single wardrobe and a bunk bed in which he sleeps with his four-year-old son, Miguel. It was specifically the love for his son and the support of his family that motivated Oliveira to keep the faith during his days in jail. Oliveira had never been in a prison before. After being arrested, in six days, he went through two different ones: Casa de Custódia de Benfica, in the North Zone, and Cadeia Pública Tiago Teles de Castro Domingues, in the city of São Gonçalo, in Greater Rio. Unlike what he had always imagined, and seen on TV, while there Oliveira felt supported precisely by those deprived of their liberty: “I still don’t know what to say, because I was humiliated by the State, which is supposed to protect people. But inside that dreadful place, I felt embraced by the people who were jailed. They told me, ‘My man, you’re going to get out of this. Have faith and believe in yourself. God is just.'” Pain and sorrow come through clearly in Oliveira’s watery gaze. They are the eyes of someone who demands justice and the end of mass incarceration. The young man asks for freedom and justice for people who, like him, have been unjustly deprived of social contact: “In addition to wanting to prove my innocence, I need to tell you to look after innocent people like me who are inside. There’s a young guy there whose mother has been crying for over a year. He’s innocent and has no way of proving it. I [got out and] came home, but his mother goes there all the time, even tough she is in no condition to do that. I’m shaken by everything I’ve seen.” Sometimes, not even this evidence is sufficient to prove the innocence of black men, who are still convicted and imprisoned. Black men have been taught since childhood to always carry their identification papers, even if all they are doing is crossing the street to go to the bakery across from their homes. Many have heard their mothers say, “Boy, take your ID in case the police stop you. Take your ID so they don’t think you’re a thief.”

NB: Stories are shared by community members. The article does NOT represent the official view of NaijaWorld and the author is SOLELY RESPONSIBLE for this article
Comments

Use The App To Win N1m
Related Stories
thumbnail
ENDSARS Anniversary
thumbnail
FBI & SA Authorities Bust Nigerian Internet Fraud Syndicate In Cape Town
thumbnail
All 21 Passengers Aboard Safe As Plane Crashes In Waller County, Texas
thumbnail
Diver Finds 900-year-old Crusader Sword Off Israel's Coast
thumbnail
What Can You Expect From The All-inclusive Resorts In Mexico?
thumbnail
APC, PDP Are Gangs Of Thieves Looking At How To Share Money, Says Pat Utomi
thumbnail
Dele Momodu Fumes As KWAM 1 Prostrates For Ooni But Shakes Hands With The Oluwo
thumbnail
2 Co-wives, Their Family Member And 7 Others Die In Kwara Auto Crash
thumbnail
Trip Report / Ibadan To Abuja On Overland Airways/ Turboprop Aircraft
thumbnail
What I Observed On A Flight Yesterday
thumbnail
Insecurity: UK Govt Warns Citizens Against Travelling To 12 States In Nigeria
thumbnail
Inside Nigeria’s Unregulated Human Egg Industry- Al Jazeera
thumbnail
My Paragliding Experience At Butterfly Valley
thumbnail
Night Photos Of Brasilia, Brazil
thumbnail
Terrorists Likely To Attack Nigeria – UK Government Lists 12 States Its Citizen
thumbnail
The Experience Of A Canadian Living In Nigeria
thumbnail
I Was Asked To Pay £5,000 To Play For Nigeria – Sarki Reveals Why He Chose Haiti
thumbnail
Access Bank Creates US Dollar Debit Card To Access Forex Outside Niger
thumbnail
How To Succeed In Unstructured African Markets
thumbnail
Parents' Top Priorities In Terms Of What They Anticipate From Schools
Related Stories
thumbnail
ENDSARS Anniversary
thumbnail
FBI & SA Authorities Bust Nigerian Internet Fraud Syndicate In Cape Town
thumbnail
All 21 Passengers Aboard Safe As Plane Crashes In Waller County, Texas
thumbnail
Diver Finds 900-year-old Crusader Sword Off Israel's Coast
thumbnail
What Can You Expect From The All-inclusive Resorts In Mexico?
thumbnail
APC, PDP Are Gangs Of Thieves Looking At How To Share Money, Says Pat Utomi
thumbnail
Dele Momodu Fumes As KWAM 1 Prostrates For Ooni But Shakes Hands With The Oluwo
thumbnail
2 Co-wives, Their Family Member And 7 Others Die In Kwara Auto Crash
thumbnail
Trip Report / Ibadan To Abuja On Overland Airways/ Turboprop Aircraft
thumbnail
What I Observed On A Flight Yesterday
thumbnail
Insecurity: UK Govt Warns Citizens Against Travelling To 12 States In Nigeria
thumbnail
Inside Nigeria’s Unregulated Human Egg Industry- Al Jazeera
thumbnail
My Paragliding Experience At Butterfly Valley
thumbnail
Night Photos Of Brasilia, Brazil
thumbnail
Terrorists Likely To Attack Nigeria – UK Government Lists 12 States Its Citizen
thumbnail
The Experience Of A Canadian Living In Nigeria
thumbnail
I Was Asked To Pay £5,000 To Play For Nigeria – Sarki Reveals Why He Chose Haiti
thumbnail
Access Bank Creates US Dollar Debit Card To Access Forex Outside Niger
thumbnail
How To Succeed In Unstructured African Markets
thumbnail
Parents' Top Priorities In Terms Of What They Anticipate From Schools