Brazil apologizes for removing Afro-Brazilian families to develop spaceport

Brazil apologizes for removing Afro-Brazilian families to develop spaceport.
Photo by Bia Santana

The Brazilian government offered an official apology on Thursday to the Afro-Brazilian family who were evicted from their seaside homes in northern Brazil forty years ago to make way for the establishment of a spaceport.

The Brazilian Air Force’s Alcantara facility serves as the South American country’s rocket launch site for its space program, and it is there that Brazil hopes to lure private entrepreneurs interested in sending small satellites into orbit.

However, in the 1980s, the Air Force expropriated and relocated the property of around 300 homes, known as “quilombolas” since they were settlements created by runaway slaves. Nobody ever awarded them legal control of the land from where they were taken.

The Brazilian government made a statement in which it said, “The Brazilian state publicly declares its apology to the quilombola communities that remain in Alcantara,” and promised financial assistance as restitution for previous wrongs.

In response to a lawsuit submitted by quilombola communities, the Inter-American Human Rights Court held a public hearing in Santiago, Chile on Wednesday and Thursday, prompting the apology.

The court said that any additional comments would be reserved until the litigation is resolved.

The counsel representing the quilombolas contended that Brazil’s building of the space center on their ancestral land violated their rights since Brazil had never legally acknowledged the quilombolas’ ownership of the land in issue.

Although South Korean aerospace and military business Innospace launched the first commercial rocket only last month, the site has seen virtually little use since 1980.

The Brazilian Senate struck a contract with the US in 2019 to preserve American space and military technology, allowing American rocket manufacturers to use the low-cost launch site at Alcantara, which is close to the Equator.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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