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Brazilian Man Facing Execution In Indonesia Appeals To President Dilma

Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, 50, has been sitting in an Indonesian jail for eight years waiting to be executed for drug trafficking. In a phone interview, he pleads with Brazilian president Dilma Roussef to save him.

Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira (Youtube)
Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira (Youtube)
Ricardo Gallo

SÃO PAULO – Sitting on death row in an Indonesian prison, 50-year-old Brazilian Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira says a prosecutor asked him, as a joke, what his last wish was going to be. "I want three bottles of Chivas whisky and two girls," he answered.

Archer would prefer not to have a last wish - he's hoping Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff will help him. "I asked her to save me. She is the only one who can do it", he told Fohla by telephone.

Arrested in 2003 while entering Indonesia with 13.4 kg of cocaine, Archer was sentenced to death in 2004 – and has worn out all legal recourses available to him in the courts. He is awaiting his death by firing squad at the maximum-security prison of Pasir Putih ("white sand"), 430 kilometers from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

Last week, a prosecutor told a local newspaper that Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had rejected his last appeal for clemency and that Archer would be executed in the following weeks.

He knows that the best thing that could happen to him would be for his death sentence to be commuted to life, which means he would spend the rest of his existence 15,400 km from Brazil. The alternative is death by firing squad.

FOHLA – Eight years after you were sentenced to death, the prosecutor told a newspaper that you would be executed soon. How do you react?
MARCO ARCHER CARDOSO MOREIRA – I...silence. What am I supposed to do?

Has anybody told you about your pending execution?
No. Nobody has told me about it. All I know is what was said in the local press. But a month ago an official came here and made me sign a blank piece of paper.

Did you sign the paper without talking to your lawyer?
I did. But it's not worth a thing. The embassy lawyer in Jakarta told me that since it was blank, the document had no legal value. Other prisoners also signed blank papers.

Does it worry you? I mean, maybe it has something to do with your execution...
They told me it doesn't mean anything. The prosecutor joked and asked me what my last wish was. I asked for three bottles of Chivas whisky and two girls. Just kidding!

Are you afraid?
Fear, no... Well, just a little bit. Anyone here might be executed at anytime. But there are lots of people that were arrested before me.. So only God knows who will be next.

Who could help you?
President Dilma. She's the only person who could help me. She may be able to reduce my sentence to life-imprisonment. I also pleaded with the Indonesian president for his help. He is very powerful.

Do you know how the execution is done?
Two Nigerians were executed here in 2008 - the last two to be executed in Indonesia. The prison chief came and told them that somebody wanted to see them. The police grabbed them and took them away to be shot. One of the Nigerians tried to run away, but it didn't work.

When were they told about it?
One month before.

Read the original article in Portuguese

Photo - Youtube

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How Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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