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Brazil : Forced into exile: “We want Jean Wyllys alive!”

Manifesto - Call for signatures

Tuesday 5 February 2019, by siawi3

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/01/24/world/americas/ap-lt-brazil-congressman-death-threats.html

Openly Gay Brazil Congressman Jean Wyllys Leaves Job Amid Death Threats

Thursday 24 January 2019,

by Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO — An openly gay congressman who frequently clashed with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday he was leaving his job and the country because of mounting death threats.

In an interview published by daily Folha de S. Paulo, Congressman Jean Wyllys said he was currently outside of Brazil and had no plans to return. Instead, he said he would work in academia but did not say where.

Wyllys, who was re-elected in October and set to begin a third term in February, said death threats against him had increased significantly since Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco was shot and killed along with her driver in March. Franco was a friend and ally of Wyllys.

Many in Latin America’s largest nation saw Franco, who was black, lesbian and hailed from one of Rio de Janeiro’s most violent slums, as a symbol of hope for her strong advocacy for LGBT rights and outspoken criticism of police brutality in poor neighborhoods. Her death led to large protests in Brazil and in several countries.

Ten months later, no one has been arrested for her murder.

Since then, Wyllys, who represents Rio de Janeiro, has used a security detail.

“How is it that I’m going to live four years of my life inside an armored car and with bodyguards?” he said.

In a tweet that posted a link to the Folha de S. Paulo article, Wyllys said: “Preserving a threatened life is also a strategy to fight for better days.”

Contacted by The Associated Press, an aide said Wyllys would not be making any further comment and declined to disclose the congressman’s location.

Wyllys’ announcement quickly became the leading story in Brazilian media, underscoring a politically charged climate and prompting discussions about public security, one of Brazil’s long-standing problems.

“The departure of Wyllys shows that the exercising of democracy in Brazil can be dangerous,” said Mauricio Santoro, a political science professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. “As shown by the crime, still unresolved, against Marielle Franco and now the threats against Wyllys, (the state) can’t guarantee the security of its own agents.”

Wyllys’ post will be filled by David Miranda, a Rio de Janeiro councilman from the same leftist Socialism and Liberty Party.

Wyllys rose to fame several years ago after becoming a finalist on the reality show “Big Brother Brasil,” causing a lot of controversy in deeply conservative country as an openly gay contestant. He combined that notoriety with political activism, and in 2010 won a seat in Congress.

Wyllys was frequently at odds with Bolsonaro, a congressman for 28 years with a long history of homophobic, racist and sexist comments.

In arguably their most public clash, Wyllys spit on Bolsonaro on the floor of the lower House of Deputies during the 2016 impeachment process of then-President Dilma Rousseff. Bolsonaro, a former army captain, voted for Rousseff’s impeachment while giving tribute to a former colonel who tortured Rousseff when she was jailed as a guerrilla fighter during the dictatorship.

In the hours after Folha published its story, Bolsonaro, set to return from the economic forum in Davos, put out a series of tweets that many interpreted as cheering Wyllys’ departure. They included icons of a hand giving a thumb’s up, a Brazilian flag and an icon of a plane.

“Fake News!” Bolsonaro wrote, posting a tweet of O Globo daily that framed his messages as celebratory. “I was referring to mission completed, productive meetings with heads of state and return to the country I love.”

In the interview, Wyllys said his decision to leave wasn’t because of Bolsonaro’s rise, but rather the climate of heated rhetoric and intensifying violence toward members of the LGBT community in the wake of last year’s campaigns.

Wyllys said that former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, learning of the death threats, told him: “’Be careful, man. Martyrs are not heroes.’”

“It’s exactly that,” said Wyllys. “I don’t want to sacrifice myself.”

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Source: http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article47650

Brazil (Manifesto): We want Jean Wyllys alive!

Monday 28 January 2019,

by Collective

Photo: WYLLYS Jean

Jean Wyllys was a gay congressman from PSOL – the first open homosexual and proud fighter for LGBTIQ rights in the National Congress – who has left his job and also the country this week because of consecutive death threats. We know how important it is to stand up for his life right now. At this moment, Jean has been the target of a flood of fake news from far-right groups trying to link his exile with an alleged involvement in the assassination attempt of President Jair Bolsonaro in September last year.

As this is a very urgent situation, Brazilian activists would like to count on your support. We already have a lot of national support (more than 230 signatures of individuals and organisations) and now we are looking for signatures of parties, NGOs, movements, orgnaizations, intelectuals, leaders, MP’s and public figures of other countries. If you can send support from your parties, movements, leaders and organizations by as soon as possible, it would be very important

International solidarity was very important in pressing the authorities to act in the case of Marielle Franco’s murder and now the threats against Jean must also be taken seriously. [R.C.]

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Manifesto

We have received, with great sadness, Jean Wyllys’ decision to leave the country and his mandate as a Federal Deputy. Faced with the Brazilian State’s failure to guarantee security and protection to Wyllys, this radical measure is a consequence of the numerous threats received and of a violent culture, which despises the lives of Brazilian LGBTIs.

Brazil is the country where most LGBTIs die in hate crimes, chase blacks persons, and where the murder of cis and trans women breaks records. In these early days of 2019, we mourned the murder of Quelly da Silva, a transvestite murdered with extreme cruelty. Another teenager, also transvestite, was stoned and lost 8 teeth. A lesbian woman was murdered and then raped while she worked. The situation is terrifying.

Our country is also one of those in the world that persecutes most heavily human rights defenders. The decision of Jean Wyllys, in defence of his life, understandable and has our broad solidarity. It is a sign that democracy in Brazil is at risk and that violence has surpassed all levels that could be tolerated.

We reject the position of representatives of the Judiciary, the Legislative and the Executive. They are undervaluing and minimizing the gravity of the situation of Jean Wyllys. They jokingly signal their approval to the perpetrators of these crimes. Such an attitude only amplifies the persecution of LGBTIs, women, black persons and human rights defenders.

We stand alongside Jean Wyllys and we want him alive.

Democracy in Brazil is at stake.

We need to demonstrate total solidarity to all who resist and defend the Human Rights.

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Here is the manifesto in English where you can directly add signatures :
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdf829euQHG1IMCHitAprBQHwXH9hG0BlP7Hw2eD6DVeqyjlQ/viewform.
You will also find it in Portuguese.

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Initial international signatories

Professor Gilbert Achcar, University of London SOAS

David Alderson Director of The Centre for Inter-Disciplinary Research in Arts and Languages (CIDRAL) School of Arts, Languages and Cultures University of Manchester

Olivier Besancenot, national spokesperson of NPA France

Terry Conway, Islington North Labour Party LGBT officer

Peter Drucker, Fellow, International Institute for Research and Education, Amsterdam

Penelope Duggan, Editor of International Viewpoint, Fellow, International Institute for Research and Education, Amsterdam

María Fernanda Arellanes Arellanes, Partido Revolucionario de las y los Trabajadores (PRT)

Adriano Campos - Dirigente Nacional do Bloco de Esquerda (Portugal)

Valéria Costa Pacheco

Enrique Duarte miembro PRT México

Samuel R. Friedman , AIDS researcher

Adam Hanieh, SOAS, University of London

Dr Sai Englert, SOAS, University of London

A. Fernández Gómez- Estado español

Jonathan Fryer

Paul Le Blanc, Professor of History, La Roche College, (USA)

Alicia Mendoza Guerra PRT México

Dr. Paul Mepschen, Political Sociology/Sociology of gender and sexuality, University of Amsterdam.

Christine Poupin, national spokesperson of NPA France

Philippe Poutou , national spokesperson of NPA France

Rahul Rao, SOAS University of London

Fco. Rafael Trujano Fermoso

Rina Ronja Kari, MEP, The People’s movement against the EU (DK)

Pierre Rousset, Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF), France

Soren Sondergaard, MP, The Red-Green Alliance (DK)

Jan Willem Stutje, historian and working at the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam) and the University of Ghent; Fellow of the International Institute for Research and Education (Amsterdam)

Eric Toussaint, spokesperson of CADTM International, member of the International Council of the World Social Forum

Eleni Varikas, Emeritus Professor of Political Science and Gender Studies . University of Vincennes Saint-Denis / National Centre of Scientific Research, CRESPPA (France)

A Coletiva (Coletivo Feminista) Portugal

Colectivo Feminista Socialista Voces de Lilith, México

Democracia Socialista Argentina