Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

The irrefutable proof that Brazil tolerates the killing of the poor and black – Documentary registers memories of black Brazilians affected by Military Police massacres


Note from BW of Brazil: Police violence has always been an issue that this blog has never attempted to shy away from. Sure there are plenty of things of which one can like about Brazil. But police murders and violent oppression of poor, mostly black neighborhoods in not one of them. As previous reports have shown, the number of homicides coming out of Brazil are more synonymous with a country that at war than a country that officially ended a 21 year military dictatorship nearly 30 years ago. And although people still don’t like to admit the influence of race, the irrefutable fact is that such violence affects black Brazilians much more than those who are considered white. Considering such violence, there is also evidence that this constant victimizing of the poor, black population is actually an agenda that was planned decades ago. A powerful documentary will attempt to give voice to some of the many black faces who have mourned the deaths of friends and family members  that were victims of these shocking massacres that are far too regular a part of Brazilian life than many would like to admit. 

À Queima Roupa trailer

The irrefutable proof that Brazil tolerates the killing of the poor and black

By Bruno Paes Manso

I still can’t forget the testimony of Vera Lucia dos Santos in the documentary À Queima Roupa (At Point Blank), by Thereza Jessouron, which premieres on Thursday, the 13th, in São Paulo theaters. To tell the truth, I will never forget it. Vera is dressed in all black and her figure has the sobriety of evangelical matriarchs of Brazilian slums. She is a mixture of black and Indian. She lived in Vigário Geral when, in August 1993, 21 residents were killed by police. Eight victims were from her family.


Her father, her mother, five brothers and a sister had just come home after church. They were executed in cold blood by the police. Only three children under five years of age were spared. With their little teddy bear and clown pajamas, they went to ask for help at the nearby home of their aunt. In the film, Vera tells how she found the bodies of her relatives after the massacre. Her mother had her bible in hand. Her brother died on his knees, holding the documents that he attempted to show the police. One of her sisters was to marry within days. Another would release an Evangelical CD. The sister who tried to defend her parents had her fingers broken by police.

Still from documentary 'À Queima Roupa'

Still from documentary ‘À Queima Roupa’

I ask of the reader, with all due respect, for an effort of abstraction. Imagine a vengeance with such cruelty practiced by the police against residents of Pinheiros in São Paulo, Leblon in Rio, or Stella Maris in Salvador. Parents trained in public universities, with their children in private schools, all white, seven bodies lying in the dining room to satiate the revenge and hatred of the police marginals. Let’s not be hypocrites. That would be unthinkable. It is unimaginable. The state would not tolerate the consequences.

Mourning after Vigário Geral  slaughter in 1993

Mourning after Vigário Geral slaughter in 1993

We only tolerate the scenes from the documentary À Queima Roupa that repeat themselves with absurd frequency in Brazil, because the victims are poor black Brazilians from the peripheries. Watch the documentary and see for yourself. It is irrefutable proof. Only a cynic or a liar could deny it.

Still in the scene from the Vigário Geral, as Vera describes in detail the position of the bodies of her relatives, the documentary shows photographs taken at the time by the police forensics. The overlapping of images and narrative is a punch in the stomach: where the blood of her sister flowed, which part of her brother was wounded, etc., the scenes remained intact in Vera’s memory. Also how the sky was, the period of the moon, the last words spoken to her father. Vera was condemned by the system to carry on her shoulders for a lifetime a massive cross that weighs tons. She only managed to reduce the weight thanks to the greatness of her spirit, that forgave the murderers.

21 people were murdered in Vigário Geral in revenge for the death of four soldiers who had been executed by drug traffickers on the previous night. Men, women and children were killed in Vigário Geral only because of living in the same neighborhood where the police were attacked. At the time, there was outrage. Rio was governed by Leonel Brizola and Nilo Batista was the Secretary of Security. Both reacted strongly.

Still from documentary 'À Queima Roupa'

Still from documentary ‘À Queima Roupa’

Only the years have passed on. And vendettas and random killings of the poor have reoccurred. In January 2005, 30 people were killed by police in the Baixada Fluminense. The previous year, five teenagers were killed in Caju. In 2007, I climbed the morro (hill) in the Complexo do Alemão and witnessed next day following the execution of 19 local residents. Homes of women and elderly were raided by police to serve as trenches. Radios from stolen cars, extorted shopkeepers, crimes against the poor of Alemão by police with a carte blanche from society to kill.


In São Paulo, there was Carandirú in 1992, with 111 deaths. More recently, after the PCC (1) attacks in 2006, 493 people were killed by shots from a firearm in early May. Workers caught in the middle of the streets of poor neighborhoods; police playing Russian roulette with the destiny of assassinating those who unfortunately were on the streets of the peripheries. Mães de Maio (Mothers of May) are the result of the mobilization against this cowardice that keeps repeating itself. Watching the movie was especially cruel because the day before nine people had been murdered in the slums of Belém in the state of Pará.

Residents and former residents of community

Residents and former residents of community

À Queima Roupa should be discussed in all the law departments and police academies of Brazil. Our prosecutors, police and judges are being trained in a plastic bubble. We need to talk to them about the reality of Brazilian wounds.


1. Primeiro Comando da Capital, or PCC (First Command of the Capital), is, according to a 2012 Brazilian Government report, the largest Brazilian criminal organization with a membership of 13,000 members, 6,000 of whom are in prison. The criminal organization based largely in the state of São Paulo and is active in at least 22 of the country’s 27 states, as well as in Paraguay and Bolivia. Since its inception, PCC has been responsible for several criminal activities such as prison breaks, prison riots, drug trafficking and highway robbery. The name refers to the state capital, city of São Paulo. Source

14 comments on “The irrefutable proof that Brazil tolerates the killing of the poor and black – Documentary registers memories of black Brazilians affected by Military Police massacres

  1. Albert Jenkins
    November 12, 2014

    This is fuck up to see how brazil societies treats Black Brazilian like shit!! I for one will not stand by and watch my fellow black bruthas and sistas of Brazil get eradicated. Black people across the Black Diaspora must united and challenge this kind of white imperialism through out the world. To put the end of global White Hegemony that keep black people as an permanent class!!! As African Descendant people we have a common enemy and we must neutralize that enemy in order to live prosperously in life.

    • Adam Docherty
      November 12, 2014

      Stop spewing your hate.

      • Albert Jenkins
        November 14, 2014


  2. Dude
    November 12, 2014

    “À Queima Roupa should be discussed in all the law departments and police academies of Brazil.”

    This is an interesting point and something I have thought about it as well. I am always appalled by the lack of humanity the Brazilian police treats Black and poor when they are themselves in general neither rich nor white. At some point in their education as officers it must be an accepted culture to have no respect for any slum residents.

    I think the police should be treated with extreme rigor in case of misconduct, but this never happens. It’s always the old “we re looking into it” bullshit as always. I have shared this story before, but here goes again:

    This is a 16 year old boy taken by the police! This should be in every news channel all over the country, it should be nonstop news until the boy is found. I fear for the worse, although I really hope the boy is still alive and “just” taken as hostage. There is no national commotion when a 16 old Black kid is taken by the police. What kind of fucked up society accepts this?

  3. Dude
    November 13, 2014

    Now the military police has already started denying involvement, as one could expect:

  4. Dude
    November 14, 2014

    If any story deserves coverage is this one, so I’ll keep posting it:

    From all the evils committed against blacks in Brazil, this is by far the worst one.

    • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
      November 14, 2014

      Thanks “Dude”!!

      I am actually following this story. But as with many other stories, I sometimes like to wait a few days to let any new details come to the fore before I write about it.

      • Dude
        November 15, 2014

        I understand you want to be cautious.. makes sense. All in all I really hope the boy shows up alive not matter what. My disappointment is with the Brazilian society in general. The Amarildo case was used as a “no more” message society tried to scream, but without the same strong reaction to each of these cases, things like this will continue to happen.

  5. curi56
    July 2, 2015

    Reblogged this on My Blog for WOMENinSHADOW.

    • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
      July 2, 2015

      We hate to have to bring this type of information but it is simply a part of the Brazilian reality.

      • curi56
        July 2, 2015

        i never ever read or heard about These crimes, i am so shocked but we have a weapon: the word, the shared word – this is a good Thing with social-Network that we can share; what must be shared – but if you want to stop sharing; TELL ME please, i don´t want to hurt you!
        with love

      • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
        July 2, 2015

        This news must be shared! That’s why we put it on the blog. Much of the English-speaking world is unfamiliar with the racial elements of Brazilian society. So if you like, please feel free to share any material you like! And thank you!

      • curi56
        July 2, 2015

        I´ll share whatever I have from you! this is a “crying injustice” you are facing there. My hope is always that big onlinenews will pick up a case, this would help you really. Please, note, I don´t take Money, no donation, i want to be free in my decision & writing.
        Till soon!

      • curi56
        July 3, 2015

        please, send blogsides to me, you want to be published, There is great interest for your informations. thank you – annamaria

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