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Date: Fri, 6 Jun 97 15:05:13 CDT
From: sejup@ax.apc.org
Subject: Brazil: Life quality of Brazilian negroes

NEWS FROM BRAZIL supplied by SEJUP (Servico Brasileiro de Justica e Paz).
Number 275, June 05, 1997.

Life quality of Brazilian negroes

SEJUP, News from Brazil, No. 275, 5 June 1997

The quality of life of blacks in Brazil is equivalent to those in Zimbabwe and Lesoto, two of the poorest countries in Africa. In a study done for FASE (Federations of Entities for Educational and Social Assistance) carried out by a historian and an economics professor in a university in Rio, it was found that Brazil on a world scale, taking the entire population, black and white together, ranks 62nd in quality of life. When the black population was only taken into consideration, Brazil ranked 120th.

This would rank Brazil along with the Vanuatu Islands of Oceana and Lesoto and Zimbabwe, countries that are considered by the United Nations as having a low index of human development.

In the study, the major constant was in the area of education. The Human Development Report on Brazil, in 1996 showed that 35.2% of the blacks and 33.6% of pardos (mestizos) are unable to read and write, compared to 15% of the white population.

Only 18% of the blacks and 26% of the pardos have completed eight years of elementary education, while in the white population, close to 48% have completed elementary school.

In the 1991 Census the black and pardo (mestizos) population was about 70 million people or about 47% of the total population. Parda or Pardo is a term used by the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics). One of the persons doing the research says he used the term afro- descendent. It is a form that brings together the two groups, - black and pardo, giving a common identity based on origins.

US Consulate in Sao Paulo accused of discrimination.

The US State Department in Washington DC. has admitted that its' Consulate in Sao Paulo uses a code as part of its' process in granting visa to Brazilians. The State Department denies that the Consulate uses these codes as a policy of discrimination. The

State Department says that the codes are tools to help the consulate functionaries process visas.

A former vice-consul at the Sao Paulo Consulate, Robert Olson, has initiated a legal process against the State Department. He was dismissed in 1994 because he objected to this process of codes in the visa process.

The code that is employed uses initials. These initials are LP (looks poor) - this is used in reference to an applicant that looks poor. LR (looks rough) is used referring to someone who has no or little formal education. TP (talks poor) are in reference to those who express themselves poorly. TC (take care) is in reference to someone who seems suspicious and the last is RK (rich kid) referring to an applicant that appears rich.

According the the State Department, these codes only serve as preliminary information for the consul person doing the interview.

A spokesperson for the State Department tried to explain away these codes by saying, if someone applies for a visa and states that he is in a good financial state but appears badly clothed or speaks poorly, the codes serve only as an indicator of some inconsistencies in the petition for a visa.