Society

Controversial São Paulo monument subject to debate amid wave of statue attacks

As protestors around the world attack statues representative of brutal pasts, São Paulo turns its attention to a famous monument glorifying brutal explorers

bandeirantes borba gato statue sao paulo
Borba Gato statue, in São Paulo. Photo: Gustavo Vivancos/CC

As anti-racism protests pop up around the world, demonstrators have started a wave of defacing, toppling, or destroying monuments dedicated to historical figures such as slave traders, Christopher Columbus, or — more specifically in the U.S. — confederate generals. Before the trend reaches Brazil, authorities in the southern São Paulo neighborhood of Santo Amaro employed 24-7 surveillance to protect the statue of Borba Gato, a monument to the “Bandeirantes,” the historic rovers that literally shaped Brazil, but left an untold trail of blood wherever they passed. 

In São Paulo, the Bandeirantes are considered a symbol of the state’s bullishness,...

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