Brazilians love to think that we have the moral high ground when it comes to immigration and xenophobia. While those problems occur regularly in Europe and in the U.S., Brazil is regarded as a rather welcoming nation, right? Well, the reality is a bit more complicated. In November, TV Globo showed how African and Haitian immigrants suffer from racism, xenophobia, and labor exploitation in Brazil. Now, things have been brought to a whole new level. Six Haitian nationals were shot in two different attacks in São Paulo’s city center.
The shootings happened in July 1st, but were only reported now. According to the hospital where they were admitted, all victims are in a stable condition. Patrick Dieudanne, who witnessed the second attack, recalls that a gray car containing four people passed through a group of four Haitians, saying: “You steal our jobs.” The other two victims were shot while walking on a street.
According to the Secretary for Human Rights, there were 330 reported cases of xenophobia in Brazil last year – a rise of 600 percent compared to the year before. One quarter of all victims are Haitians, followed by Muslims and people of Middle-Eastern decent (15 percent).
Over the last few years, the Brazilian government has decided to welcome refugees, most notably from Haiti and Syria. In 2011, the country agreed to host 4,200 refugees, and last year that number was raised to 8,400.