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Brazil intends to promote the fight against racism in Mercosur

The Vice Minister of Racial Equality of Brazil, Roberta Eugênio, speaks during an interview with BLAZETRENDS, on Thursday, May 18, 2023, in Brasilia (Brazil).  BLAZETRENDS/Andre Borges

By Eduardo Davis |

Brasilia (BLAZETRENDS).- Brazil intends to boost the fight against racism and promote racial, social and economic equality within the Mercosur, a bloc that it integrates with Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay and whose rotating presidency it will exercise from July.

“Talking about economic development policies also means talking about social development policies for the black population and we hope that this is a strong message” during the six-month presidency of Mercosur, declared the Vice Minister of Racial Equality of Brazil, Roberta, in an interview with BLAZETRENDS. Eugenio.

He thus alluded to the fundamentally economic and commercial nature that has prevailed in Mercosur in recent years. In which the debate on the social agenda lost a force that the Government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva now wants to recover.

Racism as a brake on development

According to Eugênio, although Brazil, unlike the other Mercosur countries, has a majority of the black population, racism is also present in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay through other mechanisms.

“The original peoples of Latin America and the black population” are “the groups that are concentrated in pockets of poverty” and those with “the worst rates of access to rights, culture, health or education”, Indian.

He argued that this concern “makes sense for all the countries of the bloc, given that vulnerability indices are concentrated in these groups” and reducing them will also mean improving the conditions of economic development of the societies themselves.

“The economic agenda only advances in periods of greater democratic stability”, and “there is no democracy with racism” nor “can a democracy be understood in which racist practices are in the day to day” of society, he emphasized.

Exchange of good practices

Eugênio attended a Mercosur ministerial meeting on the rights of people of African descent held in Buenos Aires this month. And he said he had perceived a “great interest” from the other partners of the bloc in the Brazilian experience.

He celebrated that a Uruguayan proposal was approved at that meeting, which proposes “the renewal of the decade of African descent declared by the UN” for 2015-2014. Because in Mercosur “it has been lost” between the covid-19 pandemic and the “demobilization” of the bloc’s social agenda.

He also said that an exchange of good practices was agreed, which in the case of Brazil will begin by sharing with Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay an “anti-racist training” program for high authorities and officials carried out by the Ministry of Racial Equality.

In addition, “a process of institutionalizing policies to promote racial equality” will be promoted, which require “spaces in the state bureaucracy so that public policies can be implemented”, “with the adequate resources and infrastructure”, said the vice minister. .

He pointed out that the intention is that “it is not only about confronting racist violence”. But also of the importance for the economies themselves of “improving the living conditions of all”. And that “the promotion of equality” be seen with “the strategic importance it has for the economic development” of a country.

racism in sport

Another objective of the Brazilian presidency will be the fight against racism in sports. In the region it has been expressed above all in the Copa Libertadores soccer.

In this sense, she expressed hope that an agreement on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination signed between Brazil and Spain could be replicated within Mercosur, which devotes “special attention” to these practices in activities sports.

According to Eugênio, “the Copa Libertadores is a very strong event in Latin America” ​​and, as such, it can help “spread the message that it is no longer possible to tolerate racism.”

He added that “the role of sport in the lives of black people must also be considered,” for whom it represents “a space for democratization” and “sometimes even the possibility of changing their socioeconomic status,” so it cannot be allow it to be contaminated by racism as well.

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