against racism

Brazil contacts Spanish authorities about racism against Vini Jr: 'That's enough'

Minister of Racial Equality says she wants to work together with the Spanish; Real Madrid management thanks Lula

Translated by: Lucas Peresin

Brasil de Fato | Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) |
Brazilian soccer player was target of several racist demonstrations in Spain - Reprodução/Instagram

The Brazilian Minister for Racial Equality, Anielle Franco, said this Monday (22) that the Brazilian government is in contact with Spanish authorities to deal with yet another racist attack suffered by soccer player Vinícius Júnior, who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid. In a match against Valencia, he was called "mono" ("monkey", in Spanish) by a good part of the opposing crowd.

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Anielle, who used to be a professional volleyball player, said that she got shaky when commenting on the case, and showed solidarity to Vini. She said she spoke with one of the player’s relatives after Sunday's episode, and highlighted that she was already in contact with other people close to him before that, since there were several other attacks on the athlete.

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Surveys carried out by the Brazilian press indicate that the racist chorus in the city of Valencia was at least the tenth episode of racial violence and hatred against the 22-year-old player since 2021.

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"While I have blood running through my veins, while I am at the head of the Ministry of Racial Equality, with the Federal Government, President Lula, we will take care of the black Brazilian people, whether here or abroad, because, if there is a thing that plagues our black community is racism," she said.

"We don't want this to reach a much larger scale than it already has. That's enough," added the minister.

According to Anielle, contacts between representatives of the governments of Brazil and Spain began on Sunday night (21). The minister has already been to Spain twice in these first months of her term, and, there, she signed a memorandum of understanding between the governments precisely to combat racism.

The minister said that the Fiscal Ministry (equivalent in Spain to the Public Ministry) will be activated by representatives of the two governments to investigate La Liga (the entity that administers the Spanish soccer championship) and all cases of racism. "We can't just say 'we repudiate', without concrete action," she said.

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One of the Spanish authorities with whom Anielle discussed the matter, the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, also spoke about the case this Monday. In an interview in the autonomous community of the Basque Country, in northern Spain, she said she "strongly" condemns the repeated racist attacks on Vinícius.

"Normalizing and trivializing hate speech, denialist speeches about violence against women, racist speeches, has consequences. We have to be able to create a great social mobilization against racism and xenophobia, which protects our society", she said.

Real Madrid thanks Lula

In a joint note published by the ministries of Sport, Racial Equality, Foreign Affairs, Justice and Public Security and Human Rights and Citizenship, the Brazilian government formally repudiated the attacks suffered by the player, and reinforced its cooperation with the Spanish government to curb the aggressions.

The formal manifestation followed the speech of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers' Party), after participating in the G7 meeting in Japan. He urged football authorities to take effective measures. "I think it is important that Fifa, the Spanish League and the leagues in other countries take serious measures. We cannot allow fascism and racism to take hold inside football stadiums", he highlighted.

Tweet: "'Racism cannot take over stadiums.' President Lula condemned the racism of European fans against Brazilian soccer player @vinijr. This is neither the first nor the second time that Vini Jr. is a victim of racism on the field. #BrasildeFato"

Real Madrid, the club for which Vinícius works, thanked the Brazilian president after requests for measures to combat the problem. In an official note published this Monday (the club's second formal statement on the subject), the club also thanked for the demonstrations "of affection and solidarity" coming from all over the world, and demanded attitudes from the country's football leaders.

Edited by: Flávia Chacon e Rodrigo Durão Coelho