Brazil under fire for spending $350 million on Israeli drones
By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent
The anticipated use of Israeli-made drones by Brazilian police Tuesday
drew criticism from a prominent ruling party politician. It also
prompted social activists to seek greater cooperation with Palestinian
movements to protest the “importation of Israeli oppression.”
The sale of Israeli drones to Brazil “confirms that Israel draws
indirect benefits from the illegal occupation of Palestinian
territories,” Valter Pomar, secretary of international relations for
the leftist Workers Party (PT), told Haaretz.
Pomar said he disagreed with the “democratically-reached” decision to
equip Brazilian police with drones used as part of what he termed
“Israel’s illegal and illegitimate actions.”
“It is symptomatic that Brazil imports tactics and equipment from
Israel, an ultra-militarized country which keeps an entire population
under military occupation,” said Mauricio Campos, a spokesman for the
Network of Communities and Movements against Violence.
He added that the network – a prominent grassroots organization which
sprang up six years ago in Rio’s poor favelas, or shantytowns – will
discuss the pending sale on Thursday, during a general meeting.
“Without doubt, we will make our voices heard over this,” Campos told
His group has organized various events to protest Israel’s policies
and what the network called “genocidal attacks” on Palestinians.
The discussion on Thursday of the drone sale was scheduled after
Brazilian media reported last week that Rio’s state police force is
considering buying six Israeli Skylark I unmanned aerial vehicles to
combat rampant crime.
In November, during President Shimon Peres’ state visit to Brazil,
Israel and Brazil sealed a $350 million deal for the supply of 14
Israeli Heron UAVs to several Brazilian law enforcement agencies.
That deal was completed weeks after a drug gang from a Rio favela shot
down a police helicopter with a short range rocket.