Sunday, April 12, 2015

Masonic Participation in Brazilian Protests this Week

For those following the political protests in Brazil against political corruption, many calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, it comes as no surprise that many sectors of Brazilian society are actively involved. The calls for her ouster and the backlash surrounding a government mired in corruption is now widespread.

What may come as a surprise, at least to North American masons, is the active and visible role that many lodges throughout Brazil are playing in such protests. We are not talking about small liberal lodges either, but regular masonic lodges throughout the country. In Brazil, Freemasons are examining and debating how Freemasonry needs to change to be relevant in the 21st century. THey recognize that the institution must find new ways to engage society if it is to survive.

In Manaus, in the Northern Central Brazilian Amazon, The Grand Lodge of Amazonas (Glomam) will launch on Saturday a campaign to gather signatures to the popular initiative bill called 'Corruption never'. The action is non-partisan. The launch will take place in the Masonic Palace of Amazonas, in Flores, at 8.30 am, and will be held simultaneously in 27 major lodges in the country.

The Leader of the Grand Orient of Brazil, in Goiás, (A regional branch of GOB, in Central Brazil) says political reform is a priority for  the institution and urges Masons to participate more actively in policy decisions. The lawyer and university professor, Luis Carlos de Castro Coelho leads a legion of approximately 4,800 individuals in Goiás, prepared individually and culturally who have always been at the forefront of the major changes in the country and the state. The Grand Orient of Brazil is the oldest Masonic power of Brazil, founded in 1822 on the eve of Independence.

In Sorocaba, (in Southern Brazil) the MBL sought the support of students fighting for the free pass and hopes to bring 5000 people to Largo Canyon. In Presidente Prudente, 20 entities joined the protest in People's Park, including Freemasonry, the Order of Lawyers of Brazil and the Rotary Club.

The Union of Masonic Lodges of Uberaba and region (Central Brazil) have raised billboards with slogans against corruption in the country. After the march in repudiation of allegations of corruption in the country, the Masonic Lodges of Union of Uberaba and Region returned to protest in favor of democracy. With the proposal to bring the message to the entire population, the group decided to publish messages on several billboards in Uberaba and in five other cities. "We spread the billboards at various points, showing that we have to fight against corruption and keep alive the movement," said Mario José Afonso Caetano. In all, 16 were placed outdoors in Uberaba, Conceição das Alagoas, Sacramento, Nova Ponte, Conquista and Campo Florido.

The two main divisions in the twentieth century include the GOB (Grand Orient of Brazil) and its State Grand Lodges and COMAB (Masonic Confederation of Brazil).  It should be noted that all divisions in Brazil are due to elective processes rather than doctrinal differences. It is reasonable to estimate that Brazil has more than 6,000 masonic lodges, and nearly 200,000 members. These represent the so-called regular powers.


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