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Brazil: Murder or Suicide of Controversial Blogger?

Cases of online censorship in Brazil and even attempts of murder against bloggers critical of political groups and families who remain in power in several cities and states in Brazil, have become commonplace. In December new threats became known against Ricardo Gama, the blogger who was shot in an attack in Rio de Janeiro in March 2011 and survived, and now we learn of the death of Alexander Hamilton, known as ‘Mosquito'.

Altamiro Borges explains [pt]:

O blogueiro Hamilton Alexandre, o Mosquito, foi encontrado morto em seu apartamento, em Palhoça, Santa Catarina, na tarde de ontem (13). Segundo a polícia, tratou-se de “suicídio por enforcamento”. A rápida conclusão, porém, não convenceu seus amigos e familiares, que exigem rigorosa apuração do caso.

"Freedom of expression is the expression of freedom""

"Freedom of expression is the expression of freedom""

Blogger Alexander Hamilton, ‘the Mosquito', was found dead in his apartment in Palhoça, Santa Catarina, yesterday afternoon (13 [December]). According to the police, it was a case of “suicide by hanging.” This quick conclusion, however, has not convinced his friends and family, who are demanding a rigorous investigation of the case.

He adds:

Com suas “tijoladas” na internet, Mosquito fez inúmeros inimigos. Nos últimos tempos, ele alertou que estava sendo ameaçado. Na semana retrasada, ele anunciou o fim da sua página: “O blog Tijoladas acabou para eu continuar vivo. Não é uma capitulação. Não mudei meu modo de pensar. Não mudei minhas convicções”.

With his “Tijoladas” [the name of Mosquito's blog, meaning "stoning"] on the Internet, Mosquito made ​​numerous enemies. Lately, he warned that he was being threatened. Last week, he announced the end of his page: “The blog Tijoladas is over so that I can stay alive. It is not a capitulation. I have not changed my way of thinking. I have not changed my beliefs.”

There are great suspicions surrounding the case; at the time of his death Mosquito was facing more than 30 lawsuits [pt].

Murder or suicide?

Mosquito became famous – as well as a victim of political harassment – in his state, after reporting a rape case in Florianópolis, capital of Santa Catarina, which involved the son of a director (Sergio Sirotsky) of RBS, a leading media company linked to Rede Globo in the region, and a 13 year old girl, in June 2010. The media, in general, sought to hush up the case.

Mosquito was widely criticized at the time for revealing the name of the raped girl who, being under age, should by law have stayed anonymous.

Many of his friends and acquaintances refuse to believe that the blogger would take his own life, while others believe that an effective investigation into the case can only be done via social networks, as stated [pt] by Luis Soares, of the blog Pragmatismo Político (Political Pragmatism):

A morte de Mosquito, que jamais se calou diante da operação abafa implementada por um grupo poderoso e pelos seus cúmplices, é um alívio para quem não estava nem um pouco acostumado a ter o calcanhar pisoteado. Agora já podem retomar tranquilamente a rotina. Caberá novamente às mídias alternativas fazer um pouco de barulho em meio ao silêncio conveniente; um silêncio que nem sequer esboça sinal de partida.

The death of Mosquito, who was never silent before the suppressive operation implemented by a powerful group and their accomplices, is a relief for those who were not accustomed to have their heels trampled. Now they can safely resume the routine. It will be the alternative media's job to make some noise amidst the convenient silence; a silence that doesn't even outline a start signal.

Smith also published a message of an anonymous friend of Mosquito, commenting on the alleged suicide, not believing the official story and presenting arguments against the thesis adopted by the police:

Ele era alvo de várias ameaças de morte. Era defensor da sustentabilidade, modo de vida saudável, andava de bicicleta, trocava frutas e verduras do quintal com seus vizinhos. Era defensor da transparência e combatia os poderosos. Era pai de uma adolescente. Filho querido de uma mãe ainda viva por quem  tinha muito carinho. Um cidadão com esse perfil não se suicida. A porta da sua casa estava aberta. Sua casa é de esquina, de um lado os fundos, do outro, um terreno baldio. Foi encontrado com lençol enrolado no pescoço, quem se suicida de forma tão cruel, correndo risco de morte lenta e dolorosa? Sendo morador solitário, não seria mais fácil entupir-se de comprimidos?

He was the target of several death threats. He was a champion of sustainability, healthy lifestyle, riding his bike, traded fruits and vegetables from his backyard with his neighbors. He was a champion of transparency and fighting the powerful. He was the father of a teenager. Dear son to a mother still alive for whom he had much affection. An individual with this profile does not commit suicide. The door of his house was open. His house is on the corner, on the one hand the backyard, on the other, a wasteland. He was found with a sheet wrapped around his neck, who would commit suicide in such a cruel way, at the risk of a slow and painful death? Being a lonely person, wouldn't it be easier to clog oneself up with some pills?
Image of Mosquito's blog, Tijoladas, saying "nobody silences this blog"

Image of Mosquito's blog, Tijoladas, saying "nobody silences this blog"

Lawyer Izidoro Azevedo dos Santos, who was a lawyer in two cases of Mosquito's, pointed to several of the enemies of the blogger, “from politicians of various parties” to influential names in the media, justice, police, government and business, “which were denounced without blinking, for alleged frauds, omissions, inefficiency” and asked [pt]:

terá mesmo o blogueiro se suicidado, ou sua morte terá sido obra dos incontáveis desafetos que cultivou, com suas enérgicas e contundentes denúncias de corrupção e lambanças políticas  as mais variadas.

did the blogger commit suicide, or is his death linked to the work of the countless enemies he cultivated, with his energetic and forceful denunciations of corruption and several political mess.
Ismênia Nunes reminds [pt] that Mosquito had been threatened with death and introduces a new, intriguing fact:
Em sua última entrevista em 29-10-11, confessa ter sido ameaçado de morte diversas vezes, e complementa que mesmo que isso viesse a acontecer outros viriam a ocupar seu lugar.
O que é mais estranho é que foi noticiado que no dia 06 de dezembro mosquito teria encerrado suas atividades com o blog. Não é muita conhecidência de em tão poucos dias tenha aparecido morto? Aliás em nenhum momento mosquito mostrou propensão para deixar de fazer suas denúncias ou de desativar o blog tijoladas. Muito pelo contrário, ele mostrava-se muito firme. Como de repente encerra as atividades e em menos de 10 dias morre?
In his last interview on 10/29/11, he confesses to have been threatened with death several times, and adds that even if this were to happen, others would take his place.
The strangest is that the news said that on December 6, Mosquito had closed his activities with the blog. Isn't it too much of a coincidence that in a few days he turns up to be dead? In fact Mosquito had never shown intentions to stop the denouncements or to disable the blog Tijoladas. Quite the contrary, he proved to be very firm. How does he suddenly end the activities and in less than 10 days die?
The blogger had announced the end of his blog shortly before his death, though he always made it clear that despite this, he would not stop writing. Blogger Cloaca, at the blog Cloaca News clarifies [pt]:
Amilton [sic] havia encerrado as atividades de seu blog  no último dia 9, para cuidar de “problemas de saúde e outras dificuldades”. A polícia catarinense ainda investiga as circunstâncias da morte do blogueiro.
Amilton [sic] had ended his blog activities on August 9, to take care of “health problems and other difficulties.” The police from Santa Catarina is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of the blogger.
Journalist Sérgio Rubim, friend of Mosquito, however, does not believe [pt] in murder, but in suicide:
Sobre a sua morte, ele já vinha há dias mandando sinais de que pretendia dar cabo da vida. Solitário, sem dinheiro, com o seu blog fechado pela justiça, estava deprimido e parecia não encontrar saida para o fosso em que se meteu.
On his death, in the last few days he had been showing signals that he intended to put an end to his life. Lonely, without money, with his blog shut down by the authorities, he was depressed and did not seem to find any solutions for the hole he had got himself into.
Dilson, of the blog Novos Desafios da Sociologia (New Challenges of Sociology), tried to summarize and define [pt] the blogger Mosquito:
O blogueiro, apesar de muitas vezes advertido, carregou nas tintas contra os políticos. Passou dos limites em alguns casos. Claro, colheu processos e condenações, aos quais recorre.
Mas contribuiu para tentar sanear a política catarinense. Não foram poucos os assuntos tratados  em seu blog transformados em inquéritos no Ministério Público e ações civis públicas.
The blogger, though often warned against it, exaggerated against the politicians. He crossed the line in some cases. Of course, he reaped prosecutions and convictions, which he appealed.
But he contributed in trying to clean up the politics of Santa Catarina. There were many issues addressed in his blog which have been turned into investigations in the Public Ministry and civil suits.

For the time being, the blogosphere awaits the outcome of the police investigation and at the same time seeks to investigate what may have led to death of the famous blogger.

Suicide is preventable and anyone experiencing suicidal feelings should seek help. Suicide.org and Befrienders Worldwide offer confidential support for the suicidal and those in emotional crisis.

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