Chacina - Brazilian Portuguese Word of the Week - plus55
Wednesday, April 05, 2017

CHACINA

A massacre; the act of brutally murdering a group of people. In the early hours of April 5, two chacina took place in São Paulo. Ten people were killed.

Etymology

The word chacina comes from the vulgar Latin expression siccina, which means “dried meat.”

It initially referred to the preparation of jerk beef, from the slaughtering of pigs to the conservation method using salt. With time, people started using it as a vulgar way to refer to massacres, as a way to highlight the gruesome aspects of a crime.

Between April 4 and 5, ten people died in two chacinas that took place in different spots of São Paulo. The first occurred in Jaçanã, a low-income area in Northern São Paulo. A group of armed men stormed a bar shooting at will, killing seven people and harming three others. The crime happened just meters away from a police precinct.

Less than one hour afterwards, another case occurred in the Southern part of the city. Two men riding a motorcycle shot three people dead in a busy street. After that, they fled the scene.

chacina massacre brazil são paulo death

Candelária Chacina

The most famous chacina in recent history occurred in Rio de Janeiro in 1993. Four Police officers killed eight homeless people who slept next to the Candelária Church, in Rio’s city center. Most of the victims were underage teens.

Investigations showed that the massacre was a retaliation by the police officers. Earlier that day, the group of teens had broken a window of a patrol car after one of its members was arrested. The officers stood trial and were sentenced to more than 200 years of jail time. However, the maximum penalty in Brazil is 30 years. All officers regained their freedom after less than 20 years behind bars.

The Candelária Chacina helped to change Brazil’s penal code. One year after the massacre, first-degree murder became a heinous crime. In Brazil, that means no right for bail during trial proceedings, as well as harsher penalties.

MORE WORDS OF THE WEEK

June 28ALCAGUETE
June 22ESQUEMA
June 14BAIXO CLERO
June 08MULATO
June 02CHULÉ
May 24PINGUELA