Note from BW of Brazil: In my time covering and experiecing Brazil, I’ve seen some crazy things happen. Things that are sometimes hard to believe, sometimes things that people would swear up and down wouldn’t happen in this country. And even having seen some totally unbelievable things happen, it’s still often difficult to believe that something happens the way they are reported. You would think that I am accustomed to the most unbelievable things happening and just accepting that, yes, they happened. Examples.
A musician getting shot at 80 times by the military with his family in the car. Not a criminal, not a drug dealer, just a family man. A group of young men in a car celebrating one of them getting their first paycheck from a new job and getting shot at by police more than 100 times. A woman going to a bakery to pick a few things, catching a bullet, being tossed in the back of a police vehicle, her body falling out and being dragged on the concrete street for several meters. A man being put in a headlock and suffocated to death with a security on top of him. A group of friends being chased out of a snack bar with chairs and wooden clubs because they complained that they were being discriminated against. In all of the cases, all the victims were black. These are just a few that come to mind. There are many more.
With so many of these incidents etched in my memory, you would think I would be ready to simply accept that the absurdities that happen in Brazil on a regular basis. But it’s still not the case. With the story below, I honestly wanted to believe, again, it couldn’t have happened this way. But I can’t not believe it because of the stories I read regularly about how black Brazilians are treated just going to the store, the mall or any place of leisure. It seems that everywhere they go, they are automatically some sort of suspect. You would think that in the middle of this coronavirus crisis, things would be a little different. But then I ask, if they treat black people differently during normal times, why would that difference be any different under different circumstances? Which is why I can’t be surprised.
The report below by Moisés José de Santana detailing his treatment in a São Paulo hospital had already been shared more than 80,000 times via social media.
“This brazen negro WILL NOT be served!”: Black man with coronavirus punched, kicked, put in choke hold and thrown in the street by hospital security
Hello! My name is Moisés José de Santana, I am a Pernambuco* who lives in São Paulo. I have been a good citizen, worker and diabetic for 5 years. I come here to bring my account of injustice and crime against a citizen.
On 03/28, after 3 days of pain, without eating, without any energy after the confirmation of a pulmonary edema, I also had the confirmation of COVID-19. I arrived at a health unit General Hospital of São Mateus, went to the reception and told about my symptoms. The attendant said to me, in those same words: “There is no medical care for you, no”.
I explained that I had been in the hospital a week before, had been examined and that it was found that I had bronchopneumonia in a very advanced stage, but that even taking the medication, the symptoms were still very strong and I was in a lot of pain. I couldn’t breathe correctly. I was not attended.
I left the hospital, called the fire department, called the police, and after an hour and fourty minutes, a vehicle arrived. I explained the situation to the policeman, I couldn’t manage to even stand up. They couldn’t help me and called their superiors. After 20 minutes a second car arrived, with police officers who attended to me and asked (begged) for a hospital bed.
The young lady at the reception said that “she was going to tend to me”. I waited two hours for them fill out the form and when I questioned about the delay (even with three receptionists at the reception) I didn’t get a return and was ignored. I went to administrative management and was also ignored. I was frustrated, disappointed and in pain.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I started to argue with the people at the reception and at that moment two security guards arrived, told me to shut up and told me: “You’re a black man full of rights” and “That’s why you’re black”.
I didn’t accept it. After that they threatened to put me outside, punched me in the back, in the ribs, kicked me in the legs and also put me in a choke hold. Imagine yourself, someone with pneumonia going through all of this, PRACTICALLY UNABLE TO BREATHE. I was thrown out of the hospital like that, with violence, thrown into the street. I was supported by a citizen who put me on a stretcher and argued with the security guards and helped me to be attended.
When I finally entered the emergency room, security guards entered and said to the nurse that “THIS ONE WILL NOT BE SERVED”. In that room I was humiliated, threatened, provoked. I was called ‘brazen negro’ again. The nurse again tried to check my vital signs. And finally I was tended to.
I begged to be taken care of in a dignified manner. I begged for my right as a citizen to use a basic service. I was diagnosed on March 29 with Coronavirus and I am in total isolation. I share my story so that others don’t go through it, so that no citizen goes through it. Stay at home, preserve yourselves, this disease is terrible and the effects are disastrous. Unfortunately we, as citizens, don’t have the infrastructure; it’s terrible and the effects are disastrous.
Unfortunately, we, as citizens, do not have the necessary infrastructure to tend to us at a time of deep necessity. I hope that this story reaches the responsible organs and that actions are taken so that justice is done. # SomostodosMoisésSantana (we are all Moisés Santana)# indignation
* A native of the northeastern state of Pernambuco