Zero Hora on the Revolt of the Sergeants

ANAC: Brazil’s fledgling civilian FAA-equivalent.

Zero Hora (Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) reports, as clipped by Brazil’s Ministério das Relações Exteriores, the foreign ministry: How the revolt of the sergeants unfolded, from the perspective of the land of gaúchos and chimarrão. Tchê.

Foi uma barbaridade.

Itamaraty is in some sense Brazil’s best blogger, in terms of organizing relevant newsflow in this online service.

But not in the way, mind you, that the U.S. State Dept. is apparently devoted to blogging — as a nonsense discovery and promotion technique.

See Government 2.0: State Googles Apoplexy Targets.

Zero Hora I have always thought of as a pretty darned good paper — Moacyr Scliar is a columnist, and I am fond of — and one that apparently knows how to draw the line when it comes to Journalism 2.0, even if its holding company one of the participants in the recent IAPA festival of the technological sublime in Cartagena, where Bill Gates spouted the same nonsense as always.

See Carvalho x Zero Hora, for example.

Em um movimento inédito da história brasileira, quase todos os aeroportos do país pararam a partir do final da tarde de ontem. Milhares de passageiros ficaram em terra, perdendo compromissos pessoais, negócios e a paciência. Logo depois da meia-noite, foi anunciado o final da greve dos controladores de vôo.

In a development unprecedented in Brazilian history, nearly all of the nation’s airports shut down starting in the late afternoon yesterday. Thousands of passengers were stranded on the ground, missing personal appointments and business appointments and losing their patience.

You cannot readily translate the nice zeugma there, in which “missing” and “losing” are expressed by the same verb: “losing appointments and patience.”

Costurado pelo ministro do Planejamento, Paulo Bernardo, pelo comandante da Aeronáutica, Juniti Saito, e pelo advogado que representa os controladores, Normando Cavalcanti Jr., o acordo prevê uma gratificação emergencial, a desmilitarização do setor e a contração de mais profissionais.

Put together by the Planning minister, Paulo Bernardo, along with the Air Force commandant, Gen. Saito, and the lawyer representing the controllers, Normando Cavalcanti, Jr., an accord [to end the work stoppage] provides for emergency pay, demilitarization of the sector and the hiring of more professionals.

The executive had already allocated funds for contracting outside controllers on a two-year contract, with an option to renew, I read.

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“The World Is Sunk in Shit”: Badillo on The Mexican State of Exception

“I am not a
mano dura”: Calderón, the frequent fister.

Miguel Badillo, author of the ISOSA exposé — and excavator of archived invoices in failed technology big digs by contractors also under regulatory scrutiny back in gringoland; hint: they do not want to support a Larry Summers-free Harvard — and the weekly Web column Oficio de Papel, on the justification given for surrounding the Mexican Congress with shock troops, under the command of the executive, as PAN and PRI legislators pushed through the Ley Gordillo last week.

On which, see How Elba Esther Got Her Chips in the Big Game and The Teacher Reaches for the Golden Apple.

The post is from March 26.

I have a running bet with a friend of mine, a correspondent for a Latin American daily: a formal or de facto permanent state of exception in Mexico within two years. In other words, the Alberto Gonzalez Democracy Exportation Plan.

Also this week from Badillo: More detailed analysis of Pemex deals that according to the vigilante accountant suggest massive corruption in the state oil company.

Calderón, who was Fox’s energy minister, has brought a ton of energy sector “technocrats” into his government, including the former Pemex general counsel, César Nava.

On whom see Calderón Crony Cooked Over Pemex-Banobras Boondoggle.

Sin medir consecuencias, el presidente de la República ha elevado los problemas del narcotráfico y el crimen organizado a una confrontación con el Estado mexicano cuando la semana pasada declaró a la prensa que él, su familia y sus principales colaboradores en el gabinete, han recibido amenazas de muerte por bandas delincuenciales.

Without weighing the consequences, the president of Mexico turned the problem of the narcotraffic and organized crime into a confrontation with the Mexican state when he announced last week that he, his familiy and his principal cabinet offices have received death threats from criminal groups.

Esa declaración irresponsable hunde a México dentro del marco internacional en un rango de inseguridad y peligrosidad como hace años lo fue Colombia, cuando las principales bandas del narcotráfico se apoderaron de ese país y empezó para los colombianos una verdadera pesadilla de persecución, odio y reproche mundial y de la cual aún no puede salir ni tampoco olvidar.

This irresponsible statement damages Mexico on the international stage, consigning it to the same level of insecurity and risk that Colombia represented some years ago, when the leading narcos took over the country and Colombians sank into a nightmare of persecution, hatred and international condemnation that it has yet to emerge from or forget.

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The Sergeants Smuggle Out Their Manifesto

Controllers from other regions folded their arms to support Cindacta I sergeants. A manifesto was released through an international professional association, without signatures, to prevent reprisals.

“We are working at gunpoint.”

Manifesto exige desmilitarização do setor: The Folha carries the “apocryphal” text of a manifesto by the striking sergeants of CINDACTA, released anonymously through an international professional association to avoid reprisals.

A copy of the document, according to the Folha, was distributed to IFATCA, the international federation of air traffic controllers’ unions. One Brazilian [pelêgo?] professional association condemned the action, according to the Folha, which neglected to report on responses from the union representing civilian controllers, the SNTPV — which posted the text on its Web site.

I am actually not finding that statement on the IFATCA Web site. How about providing the URL?

If Mr. Frías fils does not believe in your existence, you do not exist. If you provide access to information, it does not have to source you. It merely says that the information “began circulating on the Internet.” This is substandard:

Use anonymous attribution only when essential and even then provide the most specific possible identification of the source.

The controllers say they have been accused of sabotage by superiors, and deny it.

Personally, my wife and I were not thinking of the sergeants when — like many people — the idea of sabotage occurred to us. See also “Sabotage Suspected, Says Brazilian Defense Minister”.

I translate, and will append the text of the agreement signed by the government.

Antes do manifesto, a ABCTA (Associação Brasileira dos Controladores de Tráfego Aéreo) emitiu uma nota oficial em seu site no qual condenava “atos radicais.” Leia a seguir a íntegra do documento.

In response to the manifesto, the ABCTA (Brazilian association of air traffic controllers) issued an official statement on its Web site, condemning “radical actions.” Read the entire text of the manifesto below.

The ABCTA’s statement included this, signed by president Wellington Rodrigues:

A ABCTA continuará a defender e a representar nossos Controladores, entretanto, mantém sua conduta política dentro da legalidade, repudiando qualquer ato de radicalismo! Que Deus dê sabedoria aos Homens que irão decidir nosso futuro!

The ABCTA will continue to defend and represent our Controllers, but will continue to act withing the limits of the law, repudiating any act of radicalism! May God grant Wisdom to the Men who will decide our future!

Rodrigues is a first sergeant with 15 years experience as a controller, one reads. The military opened a star chamber board of inquiry againt ABCTA leaders late last year for instigating acts of insubordination.

The manifesto follows:

A quem são atribuídas as paralisações do tráfego aéreo em virtude de fenômenos naturais como chuvas e nevoeiros?

Who gets the blame for air traffic slowdowns due to natural phenomena such as rains and fog?

Quem, ao tentar expor as verdadeiras situações do tráfego aéreo nos livros de ocorrências dos órgãos operacionais, sofre perseguições da chefia militar?

Who, trying to expose the true situation of air traffic in the incident logs of the operational centers, are persecuted by the military leadership?

Quem é acusado de insubordinado e sindicalista ao executar uma operação de segurança que consta em norma internacional de aviação civil?

Who is accused of insubordination and union agitation when realizing a safety procedure which is considered an international norm for civil aviation?

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“Mutiny” at CINDACTA: The Sergeants Stop Traffic

Controllers from other region folded their arms to support Cindacta I sergeants. Transfer of union representative to Ô do Borogodô — a proverbial way of saying a remote jungle clearing, far from the madding crowd– raised fears of sinister reprisals.

Agora MS picks up the wire service story from the Folha de S. Paulo: How the sergeants stopped air traffic for more than five hours yesterday. And why.

When will the press be free to actually interview some of these people? Most of my sense of this situation — which is by no means well-informed, mind you — comes from an interview late last year with the head of the union representing civilian employees of Infraero, with Caros Amigos.

Os controladores de vôo se amotinaram ontem, paralisando o espaço aéreo brasileiro e obrigando o governo federal a ceder a suas exigências por escrito para voltar ao trabalho.

Air traffic controllers mutinied yesterday, paralyzing Brazilian airspace and forcing the federal government to give in to their demands in writing before returning to work.

O motim, iniciado no Cindacta-1, em Brasília, durou cinco horas e 20 minutos, espalhando-se pelo país e suspendendo praticamente todas as decolagens no país.

The mutiny, which started at Cindacta-1 in the nation’s capital, lasted five hours and 20 minutes, spread throughout the company and cancelled almost all takeoffs in Brazil.

Pego de surpresa, o governo formou um gabinete de crise e se reuniu por telefone com o presidente Lula -que estava em vôo para Washington e vetou decisão da Aeronáutica de prender os sargentos amotinados. O presidente interino, José Alencar, foi chamado de Minas Gerais para coordenar a crise em Brasília.

Taken by surprise, the government formed a crisis cabinet and conferred with President Lula by telephone, who was en route to Washington and vetoed the decision by the Air Force to arrest the rebel sergeants. The interim president, José ALencar, was summoned from Minas Gerais to coordinate the crisis in the capital.

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Cancún Journalist Was Gonzalez’d

González Canto

Reporters sans frontières reported: “Suspected plot revealed against journalist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro” (Feb. 27).

RSF was “concerned” at the time, but has not exactly followed the newsflow closely.

For a similar bit of insight into high-level government pressure on news media in Mexico, see also  Bours of Another Color: Stifling The Press in Sonora.

A new development in the Cacho case today, as a commission of the Mexican Supreme Court summoned the governor of Quintana Roo to give a deposition in the case of a plot to silence the Cancún freelancer, who reported on the involvement of officials with a pedophilia ring in a book she authored.

I translate for googlability in inglés or inglês.


Cancún, QR, 29 de marzo. La comisión de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) que investiga las presuntas violaciones a las garantías individuales de la periodista Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, solicitó la comparecencia del gobernador de Quintana Roo, Félix González Canto, para que aclare si recibió una llamada del mandatario de Puebla, Mario Marín Torres, en la que le hubiera solicitado su colaboración para aprehender a la comunicadora en diciembre de 2005.

The SCJN commission looking into alleged violations of the rights of journalist Cacho Ribeiro, summoned the Governor of Quintana Roo, Félix González Canto, to clarify whether he received a call from Puebla governor Mario Marín Torres in which he as asked to cooperate in a plan to arrest the journalist in December 2005.  

En conferencia de prensa, el abogado Alejandro Olea, del grupo de defensores de Cacho Ribeiro, reveló lo anterior y señaló que el magistrado federal Sergio Eduardo Alvarado Puente, integrante de dicha comisión, se encuentra desde hace dos semanas en esta ciudad para realizar varias diligencias en las que se tomará testimonio a los implicados en el caso.

In a press conference, attorney Alejandro Olea, from a group that is defending Cacho Ribeiro, revealed the fact and said that federal judge Alvarado Puente, a member of the commission, has been in the city for two weeks conducting various investigations in which the testimony of the persons involved will be taken.

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Stratfor Parachutes in on Rio Militias

“Rio: Where does the danger live?” Caros Amigos coverage still offers more insight than the parachute X-9s, I think.

The Stratfor intel newswire — always an interesting read — on Rio militias (March 30).

I will try to annotate.

Illegal militias control more than 80 of the approximate 600 slums, known as favelas, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Beginning in the 1980s, the militias ran out drug traffickers and criminal gangs in many favelas. The militias, which have gained prominence in recent months, not only contribute to Rio’s unstable security environment, but also could develop into shadow governments or even competitors to the real state and city governments.

“Beginning in the 1980s, the militias ran out drug traffickers and criminal gangs in many favelas.” That statement surprises me. What’s your source on that? However, it is my general understanding — reading between the lines, per speculum enigmitate — that these organizations do go back more than a decade, or further.

It’s just that most [English-language] press reports describe them as recent developments.

According to conventional wisdom in the Brazilian press — but no one ever sources the number, and Rio state public safety folks refused to vouch for it — the number of favelas with milita presence is about 100.

I would say there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that “development into shadow governments or even competitors” has already happened, and that we may have moved beyond that during the Garotinho years into a state of full-fledged — or half-fledged, or considerably well-fledged, at any rate — parapolitics.

Also not a development that has cropped up in the last few months.

Just because a militia or a death squad operated in a shantytowns and the press did not notice it does not mean that bystanders and people guilty of breathing while black did not get their heads blown off. 50,000 people in the last 8 years or so, one reads.

The thing to watch now is the degree to which parapolitical groups wield influence within the “real” state and city governments.

There is a parapolitical angle here that is deeply rooted and long established. We await details.

The militias — not the government — provide social services, utilities and justice for the tens of thousands of people living in the favelas. They run off drug traffickers and criminal gangs and provide protection for a nominal “tax”; mototaxi operators, for example, pay approximately $10 a week, and merchants, depending on the size of their businesses, pay up to $25 a week. The militias even provide cable television, electricity, garbage pickup and water to the favelas by siphoning off local utilities — again, for a fee.

See, e.g., Rio: GatoNet Goes Dark; Alleged Militia Chieftain Netted.

In reality, the militias are not much different than the gangs they replace in the favelas; both operate outside the law, and both finance themselves through protection rackets and other “taxes.” To the favela residents though, the militias are more benevolent. Because the militias provide services the city and state governments are unwilling or unable to, they are popular with favela residents. In many ways, they act as de facto governments, sometimes with constituencies of between 40,000 and 60,000, depending on the favela.

This seems wrongly stated to me. My sense is that drug gangs do not principally live by taxing residents of the “hillsides.” Or did not used to, anyway. Maybe they are changing their business model.

They make money by selling blow and crack to the “asphalt.” This is a retail business geared to the, er, alt.leisure industry.

They do not tend to provide services.

They tend to take whatever the fuck they want from and do whatever the fuck they want to whomever they want. Caco Barcellos has a book, O Dono do Santa Marta, that you ought to have a read of. For one thing, it makes an intriguing case story in the ethical quagmire that can result in becoming part of the story in return for access.

They have lately tried to emulate the militias in the “service area” — a Vigário Geral group even says it will follow the official Penal Code in its kangaroo courts, I read — but they have a ways to go with that rebranding project, I think.

We need to account for evidence, however, that militias likewise do not live by “taxes” alone, but by running organized crime enterprises themselves, with political cover from “law and order” legislators.

See also “Militia Laundered Money”: From the Rio Roundup and Rio’s Brave New World: Miranda on the Militia Melee in the Cidade Maravilha.

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“Heads Are Gonna Roll”: In Brazil, Civilizing Civil Aviation Is a Savage Business

Pires, left, with Zuanazzi.

O comandante caiu, mas ele (Pires) vai cair também (Terra Magazine, Brazil).

In Brazil, the striking air traffic controllers of CINDACT 1 have now reportedly been arrested for insubordination — they are are Air Force sergeants, as I understand it.

[Update: the arrest of the sergeants was later countermanded by the president, and a civilian minister sent in to negotiate. Bloody murdered was screamed.]

Among their demands is the immediate demilitarization of air traffic control and attention to what they say is substandard equipment and operating procedures.

– O comandante caiu, mas ele vai cair também.

“The commander went down, but he is going down, too.”

A frase, já de conhecimento não restrito no Ministério da Defesa, ajuda a se entender a retomada, mais uma vez, do que parece ser uma interminável crise no setor aéreo – hoje com controladores de vôo do Cindacta 1, em Brasília, e de Manaus, a ameaçar greve.

The phrase, already widely known beyond the Ministry of Defense, helps to understand the fresh outbreak of what seems to be an interminal crisis in the air transportation sector — today with a threatened strike by air traffic controllers as Cindacta 1, in Brasília, and in Manaus.

Manaus, Brasília, Salvador and Rio airports are said to be closed at this hour.

Os sujeitos da frase acima estão ocultos. Eles são três. É fundamental saber quem são eles, e os significados contidos no fraseado.

The subjects of the phrase cited above are left unspecified. There are three. It is fundamental to know who they are, and the connotations of the phrase.

O comandante que “caiu” é o brigadeiro Paulo Roberto Cardoso Vilarinho. O “Ele”, jurado para “cair também” é o ministro da Defesa, Waldir Pires. E a indignação pertence ao brigadeiro Ramon Borges Cardoso, atual diretor do Departamento de Controle do Espaço Aéreo, o Decea.

The commander who “went down” was Brig. Gen. Paulo Roberto Cardoso Vilarinho. “He,” whose downfall is sworn to is the Minister of Defense, Waldir Pires. And the indignation expressed belongs to Brig. Gen. Ramon Borges Cardoso, current director of DECEA, the Dept. of Airspace Control.

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