Cesare Battisti

In this week’s issue: The most important facts of the week. Cesare Battisti: the Italian dominating Brazil’s headlines.


The week in review

  • Presidency. Jair Bolsonaro had his certification ceremony on Monday, the final administrative step of the election process. In a speech before the electoral court, the president-elect gestured towards opponents, asking for their trust so that together they “may build a better future for the country.” An Ibope opinion poll showed that 75% of Brazilians think Mr. Bolsonaro is “on the right track.” 
  • Marielle. Rio de Janeiro police carried out arrest and search warrants at several addresses in connection with the assassination of councilor Marielle Franco, in March.
    The operations were part of a concurrent investigation, but police hope they can help shed more light on the case, which has now gone 9 months without answers.</li> <li><strong>Shooting.</strong><strong> </strong>An armed man entered the Metropolitan Cathedral in the city of Campinas and opened fire on the congregation, killing five people and wounding three more. The shooter, Euler Fernando Grandolho, 49, committed suicide after being shot by the police.<div class="free rcp_restricted 1"><div class="paywall "></div><p> <div class="readmore-cta-block"> <p><strong>Read the full story NOW!</strong></p> <div class="readmore-cta-grid"> <div class="readmore-cta-full"> <a href="https://brazilian.report/subscribe/free-trial/" class="button button-green button-full">Start your 7-day free trial</a> </div> <div class="readmore-cta-half"> <a class="button black-text button-full" href="https://brazilian.report/your-membership/login/?redirect_url=https://brazilian.report/newsletters/weekly-report/2018/12/15/cesare-battisti-the-italian-dominating-brazils-headlines/">Login</a> </div> <div class="readmore-cta-half"> <a class="button black-text button-full" href="https://brazilian.report/subscribe/">Subscribe</a> </div> </div> </div> </p> </div></li> <li><strong>Avianca.</strong><strong> </strong>Airline Avianca Brasil filed for court-supervised reorganization this week, representing the final step before bankruptcy. The fourth-largest airline in the country is saddled with debts of BRL 493.9m. In response, President Michel Temer issued a decree allowing Brazilian airlines to be entirely controlled by foreign companies or capital.</li> <li><strong>John of God.</strong><strong> </strong>Famous spiritual healer João de Deus (known around the world as John of God), has had a warrant issued for his arrest in connection with accusations that he sexually abused women during spiritual treatments. After 13 women went on national television to denounce instances of abuse, prosecutors from the state of Goiás have received 355 reports of sexual assault against the medium. His lawyers have stated he will turn himself in.</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2>The main economic activity of Brazil&#8217;s cities</h2> <p>A study carried out by Brazilian statistics institute IBGE has mapped the primary economic activity of Brazil&#8217;s 5,570 municipalities. Looking at the numbers below, we can see just how large Brazil&#8217;s public sector is, with over half of the country&#8217;s towns and cities relying mainly on government activities to produce wealth.</p> <p>The blanket term &#8220;public administration&#8221; takes into account public education, health, and social security. Sectors such as finance, real estate, and transport are grouped under &#8220;services.&#8221; The study also noted that the centralization of Brazil&#8217;s GDP has gradually decreased over the last 15 years. The share of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro—the country&#8217;s biggest cities—in generating national GDP fell 2.8% over the period studied.<img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-14005" src="http://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/c09b0be1-1173-4e19-8440-feb63daec1de-1024x449.png" alt="" width="1024" height="449" /></p> <hr /> <h2>Cesare Battisti: the Italian dominating Brazil&#8217;s headlines</h2> <p>Having been granted political asylum in Brazil by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, after serving four years in a Brazilian jail, Mr. Battisti has been living on release for seven years. Only now, it appears, will he be sent back to his home country.</p> <h4><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif;">Remember the Battisti case </span></h4> <p>A former communist activist, Mr. Battisti was arrested in 1979 in Milan for the murder of a jeweler, before he escaped from prison and fled to France. In 1987, he was sentenced to life in prison by an Italian court for four murders: of a prison guard, police officer, a neo-fascist activist, and the Milan jeweler.</p> <p>When France accepted an extradition request for Mr. Battisti in 2004, he fled to Brazil, where he was detained in 2007. The Workers&#8217; Party government granted him asylum and Lula rejected extradition requests from the Italian government, until Mr. Battisti was freed in 2011.</p> <h4>Cultural war</h4> <p>At the time, the decision split Brazilian politics, with the right being strongly against the asylum, and the left being equally opposed to extradition. It was telling that Lula granted Mr. Battisti protection in Brazil on the very last day of his presidential term, on December 31, 2010.</p> <p>Then, when the Supreme Court was brought into the discussion, it ruled that the decision to extradite foreign citizens was at the sole discretion of the president, which is why, with Michel Temer in charge and Jair Bolsonaro set to take office in a matter of weeks, Mr. Battisti&#8217;s situation in Brazil has become very precarious indeed.</p> <p>Mr. Temer&#8217;s decision to order the extradition of the Italian citizen, coming in the last few days of his presidential term, is a perfect mirror of Lula&#8217;s original decision to grant Mr. Battisti asylum, serving as a clear example of the ideological changes of Brazil&#8217;s government.</p> <p>After the election, Eduardo Bolsonaro, one of the sons of the president-elect Jair, sent a tweet to the far-right Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini stating that &#8220;his present is on its way,&#8221; to which Mr. Salvini replied this week, praising Jair Bolsonaro&#8217;s role in helping extradite Cesare Battisti.</p> <p>Wanted by the police, the whereabouts of Mr. Battisti are currently unknown. His lawyer, Igor Tamasauskas, told the BBC that he does not know where his client is, but that he &#8220;had time to plan&#8221; what he was going to do in case of extradition.

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BY Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist with experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets.