Brazil official in charge of promoting black culture calls black rights movement ‘scum’

Sérgio Camargo is a fervent support of Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro

Matt Mathers
Thursday 04 June 2020 13:19 BST
Black Lives Matter protesters stage marches around the world

A right-wing official in charge of promoting black culture in Brazil has described the country’s black rights movement as “scum”, according to an audio recording.

Sérgio Camargo, who is himself black, made the comments at the end of April while discussing a mobile phone that had allegedly been stolen from the Palmares Cultural Foundation headquarters, according to audio obtained by the Estado de São Paulo newspaper.

“The black movement, those bums from the black movement, bloody scum,” Camargo can be heard saying.

Camargo, a self-styled “right-wing black man”, was appointed president of the foundation – an organisation linked Brazil’s Ministry of Culture – by president Jair Bolsonaro last year, in a move that sparked outrage among the black community.

Camargo, who has a history of slurring prominent black figures in Brazil, also called the anti-slavery activist and Brazilian warrior Zumbi dos Palmares a “filho da puta” (son of a b***h) in the recording.

He also claimed that “leftists” had infiltrated the agency, calling on his colleagues to hand them over so they could be fired.

“If there is a leftist here, you tell me where is this son of a bitch so that I can fire them or send to another agency,” he said.

The Palmares Foundation said in a statement that it regretted the “illegal recording of an internal and private meeting”.

The foundation said it is “in sync” with Bolsonaro’s federal government and would no longer attend the interests of only those “who proclaim themselves to be representatives of the entire black population”.

Camargo remains in his post. The Palmares Foundation was set up in 1988 “to promote the preservation of cultural, social and economic values ​​resulting from the black influence in the formation of Brazilian society.”

The organisation derives its name from Palmares, a settlement in northeastern Brazil founded by runaway slaves during the 17th century.

Earlier this week, demonstrators gathered outside the state house in Rio de Janeiro holding up signs in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and protesting against the government of President Jair Bolsonaro​

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