terça-feira, 20 de novembro de 2012

Stratfor Report: Israel and Gaza — Then and Now

Este é um artigo da Stratfor Global Intelligence publicado em 19 de novembro de 2012 como parte das análises de segurança internacional enviadas regularmente via email. Para maiores informações, acesse www.stratfor.com.

Four years ago on Nov. 4, while Americans were going to the polls to elect a new president, Israeli infantry, tanks and bulldozers entered the Gaza Strip to dismantle an extensive tunnel network used by Hamas to smuggle in weapons. An already tenuous truce mediated by the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak had been broken. Hamas responded with a barrage of mortar and rocket fire lasting several weeks, and on Dec. 27, 2008, Israel began Operation Cast Lead. The military campaign began with seven days of heavy air strikes on Gaza, followed by a 15-day ground incursion. By the end of the campaign, nearly 1,000 poorly guided shorter-range rockets and mortar shells hit southern Israel, reaching as far as Beersheba and Yavne. Several senior Hamas commanders and hundreds of militants were killed in the fighting. Israel Defense Forces figures showed that 10 IDF soldiers died (four from friendly fire), three Israeli civilians died from Palestinian rocket fire and 1,166 Palestinians were killed -- 709 of them combatants.

The strategic environment during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead was vastly different from the one Israel faces in today's Operation Pillar of Defense. To understand the evolution in regional dynamics, we must return to 2006, the year that would set the conditions for both military campaigns.

Setting the Stage

2006 began with Hamas winning a sweeping electoral victory over its ideological rival, Fatah. Representing the secular and more pragmatic strand of Palestinian politics, Fatah had already been languishing in Gaza under the weight of its own corruption and its lackluster performance in seemingly fruitless negotiations with Israel. The political rise of Hamas led to months of civil war between the two Palestinian factions, and on June 14, Hamas forcibly took control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah. Just 11 days later, Hamas kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalt and killed two others, prompting a new round of hostilities with Israel.

In what appeared to be a coordinated move, Hezbollah on July 12 launched its own raid on Israel's northern front and kidnapped two additional soldiers, kicking off the month-long Second Lebanon War. As Israel discovered, Hezbollah was well-prepared for the conflict, relying on an extensive tunneling system to preserve its launching crews and weaponry. Hezbollah made use of anti-tank guided missiles, improvised explosive devices that caught Israel Defense Forces by surprise and blunted the ground offensive, and medium-range rockets capable of reaching Haifa. Hezbollah incurred a heavy toll for the fight, with much of the infrastructure in southern Lebanon devastated and roughly 1,300 Lebanese civilian casualties threatening to erode its popular support. Casualty numbers aside, Hezbollah emerged from the 2006 conflict with a symbolic victory. Since 1973, no other Arab army, much less a militant organization, had been able to fight as effectively to challenge Israel's military superiority. Israel's inability to claim victory translated as a Hezbollah victory. That perception reverberated throughout the region. It cast doubts on Israel's ability to respond to much bigger strategic threats, considering it could be so confounded by a non-state militant actor close to home.

At that time, Hamas was contending with numerous challenges; its coup in Gaza had earned the group severe political and economic isolation, and the group's appeals to open Gaza's border, and for neighbors to recognize Hamas as a legitimate political actor, went mostly unheeded. However, Hamas did take careful note of Hezbollah's example. Here was a militant organization that had burnished its resistance credentials against Israel, could maintain strong popular support among its constituents and had made its way into Lebanon's political mainstream.

Hezbollah benefited from a strong patron in Iran. Hamas, on the other hand, enjoyed no such support. Mubarak's Egypt, Bashar al Assad's Syria, Jordan under the Hashemites and the Gulf monarchies under the influence of the House of Saud all shared a deep interest in keeping Hamas boxed in. Although publically these countries showed support for the Palestinians and condemned Israel, they tended to view Palestinian refugees and more radical groups such as Hamas as a threat to the stability of their regimes.

While Hamas began questioning the benefits of its political experiment, Iran saw an opportunity to foster a militant proxy. Tehran saw an increasingly strained relationship between Saudi Arabia and Hamas, and it took advantage to increase funding and weapons supplies to the group. Forces from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, along with Hezbollah, worked with Hamas to expand the group's weapons arsenal and build elaborate tunnels under the Gaza Strip to facilitate its operations. Israel soon began to notice and took action toward the end of 2008.

Operation Cast Lead

Hamas was operating in a difficult strategic environment during Operation Cast Lead. Hezbollah had the benefit of using the rural terrain south of the Litani River to launch rockets against Israel during the Second Lebanon War, thereby sparing Lebanon's most densely populated cities from retaliatory attacks. Hamas, on the other hand, must work in a tightly constricted geographic space and therefore uses the Palestinian population as cover for its rocket launches. The threat of losing popular support is therefore much higher for Hamas in Gaza than it is for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. At the same time, operating in a built-up urban environment also poses a considerable challenge for the Israeli military.

During Operation Cast Lead, Cairo did little to hide its true feelings toward Hamas. Though Egypt played a critical role in the cease-fire negotiations, it was prepared to incur the domestic political cost of cracking down on the Rafah border crossing to prevent refugees from flowing into Sinai and to prevent Hamas from replenishing its weapons supply. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, then in the opposition, took advantage of the situation to publicly rally against the Mubarak regime, but its protests did little to change the situation. Hamas was boxed in by Egypt and Israel.

The rest of the region largely avoided direct involvement. Turkey was focused on internal affairs, and Saudi Arabia remained largely aloof. Jordan's Hashemite rulers could afford to continue quietly cooperating with Israel without facing backlash. The United States, emerging from an election, was focused on shaping an exit strategy from Iraq. Many of Hamas' traditional wealthy Gulf donors grew wary of attracting the focus of Western security and intelligence agencies as fund transfers from the Gulf came under closer scrutiny.

Iran was the exception. While the Arab regimes ostracized Hamas, Iran worked to sustain the group in its fight. Tehran's reasoning was clear and related to Iran's emergence as a regional power. Iraq had already fallen into Iran's sphere of influence (though the United States was not yet prepared to admit it), Hezbollah was rebuilding in southern Lebanon, and Iranian influence continued to spread in western Afghanistan. Building up a stronger militant proxy network in the Palestinian territories was the logical next step in Tehran's effort to keep a check on Israeli threats to strike the Iranian nuclear program.

In early January 2009, in the midst of Operation Cast Lead, Israel learned that Iran was allegedly planning to deliver 120 tons of arms and explosives to Gaza, including anti-tank guided missiles and Iranian-made Fajr-3 rockets with a 40-kilometer (25-mile) range and 45-kilogram (99-pound) warhead. The Iranian shipment arrived at Port Sudan, and the Israeli air force then bombed a large convoy of 23 trucks traveling across Egypt's southern border up into Sinai. Though Israel interdicted this weapons shipment -- likely with Egyptian complicity -- Iran did not give up its attempts to supply Hamas with advanced weaponry. The long-range Fajr rocket attacks targeting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in the current conflict are a testament to Iran's continued effort.

The Current Geopolitical Environment

Hamas and Israel now find themselves in a greatly altered geopolitical climate. On every one of its borders, Israel faces a growing set of vulnerabilities that would have been hard to envision at the time of Operation Cast Lead.

The most important shift has taken place in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood carefully used the momentum provided by the Arab Spring to shed its opposition status and take political control of the state. Hamas, which grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, then faced an important decision. With an ideological ally in Cairo, Egypt no longer presents as high a hurdle to Hamas' political ambitions. Indeed, Hamas could even try to use its ties to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to achieve political legitimacy. When unrest spread into Syria and began to threaten Iran's position in the Levant, Hamas made a strategic decision to move away from the Iran-Syria axis, now on the decline, and to latch itself onto the new apparent regional trend: the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist affiliates across the Arab world.

This rise of the Muslim Brotherhood spread from Egypt to Syria to Jordan, presenting Israel with a new set of challenges on its borders. Egypt's dire economic situation, the political unrest in its cities, and the Muslim Brotherhood's uneasy relationship with the military and security apparatus led to a rapid deterioration in security in Sinai. Moreover, a Muslim Brotherhood government in Cairo on friendly terms with Hamas could not be trusted to crack down on the Gaza border and interdict major weapons shipments. A political machine such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which derives its power from the street, will be far more sensitive to pro-Palestinian sentiment than will a police state that can rule through intimidation.

In Syria, Israel has lost a predictable adversary to its north. The balkanization of the Levant is giving rise to an array of Islamist forces, and Israel can no longer rely on the regime in Damascus to keep Hezbollah in check for its own interests. In trying to sustain its position in Syria and Lebanon, Iran has increased the number of its operatives in the region, bringing Tehran that much closer to Israel as both continue to posture over a potential strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.

To Israel's east, across the Jordan River valley, pressure is also growing on the Hashemite kingdom. An emboldened Muslim Brotherhood has been joined by disillusioned tribes from the East Bank in openly calling for the downfall of the king. High energy costs are severely blunting the kingdom's ability to contain these protests through subsidies, and the growing crisis in Gaza threatens to spread instability in the West Bank and invigorate Palestinians across the river in Jordan.

Beyond its immediate periphery, Israel is struggling to find parties interested in its cause. The Europeans remain hostile to anything they deem to be excessive Israeli retaliation against the Palestinians. Furthermore, they are far too consumed by the fragmentation of the European Union to get involved with what is happening in the southern Levant.

The United States remains diplomatically involved in trying to reach a cease-fire, but as it has made clear throughout the Syrian crisis, Washington does not intend to get dragged into every conflagration in the Middle East. Instead, the United States is far more interested in having regional players like Egypt and Turkey manage the burden. The United States can pressure Egypt by threatening to withhold financial and military aid. In the case of Turkey, there appears to be little that Ankara can do to mediate the conflict. Turkish-Israeli relations have been severely strained since the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident. Moreover, although the Turkish government is trying to edge its way into the cease-fire negotiations to demonstrate its leadership prowess to the region, Ankara is as wary of appearing too close to a radical Islamist group like Hamas as it is of appearing in the Islamic world as too conciliatory to Israel.

Saudi Arabia was already uncomfortable with backing more radical Palestinian strands, but Riyadh now faces a more critical threat -- the regional rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. Islamist political activism poses a direct threat to the foundation of the monarchy, which has steadfastly kept the religious establishment out of the political domain. Saudi Arabia has little interest in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood encouraging Hamas' political rise, and Riyadh will thus become even more alienated from the Palestinian theater. Meanwhile Gulf state Qatar, which has much less to lose, is proffering large amounts of financial aid in a bid to increase its influence in the Palestinian territories.

Iran, meanwhile, is working feverishly to stem the decline of its regional influence. At the time of Operation Cast Lead, Iran was steadily expanding its sphere of influence, from western Afghanistan to the Mediterranean. A subsequent U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf and an intensifying U.S.-led economic warfare campaign slowed Iran down, but it was the decline of the al Assad regime that put Iran on the defensive. An emboldened Sunni opposition in Syria, backed by the West, Turkey and the Arab Gulf states, could spill into Lebanon to threaten Hezbollah's position and eventually threaten Iran's position in Iraq. With each faction looking to protect itself, Iran can no longer rely as heavily on militant proxies in the Levant, especially Palestinian groups that see an alignment with Iran as a liability in the face of a Sunni rebellion. But Iran is also not without options in trying to maintain a Palestinian lever against Israel.

Hamas would not be able to strike Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with long-range rockets had it not been for Iran, which supplied these rockets through Sudan and trained Palestinian operatives on how to assemble them in Gaza. Even if Hamas uses up its arsenal of Fajr-5s in the current conflict and takes a heavy beating in the process, Iran has succeeded in creating a major regional distraction to tie down Israel and draw attention away from the Syrian rebellion. Iran supplied Hezbollah with Zelzal rockets capable of reaching Haifa during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Hamas was limited to shorter-range Qassam and Grad rockets in Operation Cast Lead but now has Iranian-made Fajr-5s to target Israel's most cherished cities.

Hamas is now carrying the mantle of resistance from Hezbollah in hopes of achieving a symbolic victory that does not end up devastating the group in Gaza. Israel's only hope to deny Hamas that victory is to eliminate Hamas' arsenal of these rockets, all the while knowing that Iran will likely continue to rely on Egypt's leniency on the border to smuggle more parts and weaponry into Gaza in the future. The Hamas rocket dilemma is just one example of the types of problems Israel will face in the coming years. The more vulnerable Israel becomes, the more prone it will be to pre-emptive action against its neighbors as it tries to pick the time and place of battle. In this complex strategic environment, Operation Pillar of Defense may be one of many similar military campaigns as Israel struggles to adjust to this new geopolitical reality.

Postado por Gabriela Prado, internacionalista formada pelo Unicuritiba em 2009 e concluiu em 2012 o MSc International Business Negotiation pela École Supérieure du Commerce de Rennes. Atualmente mora em Estocolmo e é membro do Utrikespolitiska Institutet (Swedish Institute of International Affairs). 
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domingo, 11 de novembro de 2012


Neste artigo, discutimos a política externa brasileira no período Cardoso-Lula da Silva (1994-2010), enfocando as iniciativas e medidas relacionadas à integração regional no âmbito do Mercado Comum do Cone Sul (Mercosul). Com isso, buscamos identificar o que houve de mudança nas políticas de ambos os governos para o bloco. De antemão, assumimos que as mudanças ocorreram dentro do padrão de continuidade histórica da política externa brasileira, marcado pela busca da autonomia com vistas à realização do objetivo-síntese do desenvolvimento nacional. Partindo desse pressuposto, procuramos demonstrar que as mudanças ocorridas consistem em mudanças de tática e de método, que se podem observar nas ênfases que cada governo conferiu aos diferentes papéis que o Mercosul joga na inserção internacional do Brasil: o papel econômico, o papel negociador, o papel securitário e o papel geopolítico. [...]

Artigo originalmente publicado em Relações Internacionais no Mundo Atual por George Wilson dos Santos Sturaro, Mestre em Relações Internacionais pela UFRGS e Professor do curso de graduação em Relações Internacionais da UNICURITIBA, em parceria com Edson José Neves Jr., doutorando em Estudos Estratégicos Internacionais pela UFRGS.

Para ler o artigo na íntegra, acesse: http://revista.unicuritiba.edu.br/index.php/RIMA/article/view/369
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domingo, 4 de novembro de 2012

Impactos no cenário internacional marcam corrida eleitoral

Jason Reed/Reuters

Com fotografia na mão, apoiadora de Barack Obama assiste a comício do presidente americano em Pueblo, no Colorado.

Por Rafael Pons Reis

Faltam apenas dois dias para a decisão da eleição presidencial norte-americana, marcada para 06 de novembro, que decidirá qual dos dois partidos terá a maioria nas duas casas do Congresso.
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quinta-feira, 1 de novembro de 2012


Por Ane Elise Brandalise Gonçalves*

        Apesar do ramo científico do Direito Internacional dos Direitos Humanos, e mais especificamente, o tema do funcionamento do sistema interamericano de direitos humanos e o Brasil, ainda ser pouco conhecido pela população brasileira em geral, imprescindível descortinar qual o impacto das decisões proferidas pela Corte Interamericana de Direitos Humanos no país.
        De tal modo, ver-se-á, ainda que sumariamente, quais os casos julgados pela Corte Interamericana como sentença definitiva. Nesse ponto, vale lembrar que tal órgão internacional também pode proferir decisões a título de Medidas Cautelares e Medidas Provisórias, nos casos de urgência (a exemplo, sobre o Brasil, do Caso Urso Branco, caso do complexo penitenciário do Tatuapé, entre outros), o que não será alvo de análise, uma vez que contam com sistemática diferenciada das decisões proferidas com status de sentença.
           De qualquer forma, antes de adentrar na análise casuística, deve estar a questionar o leitor: mas, afinal, o que são os tão aclamados e denominados direitos humanos? O que é a Corte Interamericana de Direitos Humanos?
           Pois bem, pode-se afirmar que há variadas ideias e correntes para conceituar direitos humanos, o que implica num dos desafios do estudo do ramo do Direito Internacional dos Direitos Humanos. De todo modo, elenca-se três principais correntes para definir o que seriam direitos humanos, veja-se:
1)    Direitos Humanos como direitos inatos a toda pessoa humana, independentemente de qualquer condição (raça, sexo, nacionalidade, condição social e econômica, etc).
2)    Direitos Humanos como aqueles direitos elencados nas Convenções Internacionais, especialmente tidos na Declaração Universal dos Direitos do Homem, promulgada pela ONU em 1948.
3)    Direitos Humanos como representação, reconhecimento e promoção de valores éticos da dignidade humana.
Propugna-se aqui a utilização da terceira ideia de direitos humanos, como defendido por Perez Luño, uma vez que não se pode conceber a primeira idéia sob pena de se recair numa concepção tautológica e também porque utiliza-se aqui a corrente doutrinária que defende a existência de uma diferenciação entre direitos humanos e direitos fundamentais, uma vez que o termo “direitos humanos” teria um alcance mais amplo, encontrado em esfera supranacional (neste sentido, vide SARLET, Ingo Wolfgang. A eficácia dos direitos fundamentais. 6ª ed., Porto Alegre : Livraria do Advogado, 2006), nem podendo se deixar levar pela segunda corrente, tendo em vista que os direitos humanos não se exaurem na normatividade jurídica internacional.
No mesmo sentido, não se pode recair na ideia banal de direitos humanos que a maior parte da sociedade brasileira possui: como direitos que expressem a injustiça, os direitos sociais, os sentimentos de indignação, etc. Em outras palavras: é preciso, pois, utilizar-se de termos científicos para tratar do tema, sem olvidar que tais direitos constituem uma “racionalidade de resistência, na medida em que traduzem processos que abrem e consolidam espaços de luta pela dignidade humana” (FLORES, Joaquín Herrera. Direitos Humanos, Interculturalidade e Racionalidade de Resistência, Carlos Santiago Niño, The Ethics of Human Rights, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1991).  
Indo mais além, tem-se que a proteção dos direitos humanos possui, basicamente, dois sistemas: um sistema geral, figurado pela ONU, e um sistema regional, representado pelo sistema europeu, pelo sistema interamericano e pelo sistema africano de direitos humanos.  
O sistema interamericano, ao seu turno, é composto principalmente pela Comissão Interamericana de Direitos Humanos, doravante denominada CIDH e pela Corte Interamericana de Direitos Humanos, também chamada de Corte IDH. As sentenças definitivas ficam a cargo da Corte IDH, enquanto a CIDH, dentre outras funções (vide artigo 41 da Convenção Americana de Direitos Humanos), atua no encaminhamento de casos para julgamento da Corte IDH.  O principal instrumento normativo desse sistema é a Convenção Americana de Direitos Humanos, também chamada de Pacto de San José da Costa Rica.
O Brasil ratificou o referido Pacto em 1992, tendo aceitado a competência da Corte IDH em 1998. No caso da República Federativa do Brasil, pessoa jurídica de direito externo que responde perante a Corte IDH, cinco casos foram alvo de julgamento, sendo que desses cinco, quatro resultaram em condenações ao país.
O primeiro caso, julgado em 2006, foi o caso DAMIÃO XIMENES LOPES X BRASIL, emblemático em variados aspectos. Damião Ximenes Lopes, cearense, portador de transtorno mental, foi internado, através do Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS), na Casa de Repouso Guararapes, em Sobral, Ceará, na data de 01/10/1999, e faleceu três dias depois, vítima de maus tratos e de tortura. A Corte IDH entendeu que o Brasil foi responsável pelas violações atinentes ao direito à vida, direito à integridade pessoal, garantias judiciais, proteção judicial e descumprimento da obrigação de respeitar os direitos humanos (respectivamente artigos 4º, 5º, 8º, 25 e 1.1. do Pacto de San José da Costa Rica), condenando-o à reparação, por danos morais e materiais, aos familiares da vítima e à vítima (de cujus); à conclusão de processos internos; ao aprimoramento de políticas públicas em saúde mental e à publicação ampla em imprensa oficial e jornal de ampla circulação da sentença proferida pela Corte.
No ano de 2006, em que foi proferida a sentença de mérito do caso Damião Ximenes Lopes, também a Corte IDH decidiu sobre outro caso envolvendo o Brasil, denominado caso NOGUEIRA DE CARVALHO X BRASIL, tendo como figura central a vítima Gilson Nogueira de Carvalho, advogado que atuava no Rio Grande do Norte em prol dos direitos humanos, morto por circunstâncias de seu trabalho. O processo foi arquivado pela Corte IDH por insuficiência de provas.
O terceiro caso é o denominado Caso ESCHER E OUTROS X BRASIL, julgado em 2009. Tal caso é de relevante importância aos paranaenses, uma vez que trata da quebra do sigilo de dados dos integrantes do MST, ADECON e COANA, da região do Estado do Paraná, comarca de Loanda. A Corte IDH entendeu que o Brasil violou os direitos personalíssimos garantidos nos artigos 11 e 16 do Pacto de San José em prejuízo às vítimas, além de ter violado os direitos às garantias judiciais e à proteção judicial, inscritos nos artigos 8.1 e 25 do mesmo instrumento normativo. Assim sendo, condenou o Estado Brasileiro à reparação das vítimas dentro do prazo de um ano, no valor de US$ 20.000,00 (vinte mil dólares), além de US$ 10.000,00 (dez mil dólares) a título de custas; à realização de ato público de reconhecimento de responsabilidade internacional em face de violações de direitos humanos; à conclusão de processos internos e à publicação ampla em imprensa oficial e jornal de ampla circulação da sentença proferida pela Corte.
O próximo caso também envolve o Estado do Paraná e a luta por terras: é o caso SÉTIMO GARIBALDI X BRASIL, que conta a história da morte violenta do trabalhador rural Sétimo Garibaldi, ocorrida em 27/11/1998. A Corte IDH entendeu que o Brasil violou os direitos às garantias e à proteção judiciais previstos nos artigos 8.1 e 25.1 do Pacto de San José. Obrigou o Estado Brasileiro a publicar os principais trechos da sentença em Diário Oficial e em jornal de ampla circulação, além da publicação em sítio oficial da rede mundial de computadores. Também condenou o Brasil a indenizar os familiares da vítima Sétimo Garibaldi, por danos materiais e morais, além das custas com o processo judicial.
Finalmente, o último caso, o mais polêmico de todos, é o caso GOMES LUND E OUTROS (GUERRILHA DO ARAGUAIA) X BRASIL. Cuida-se, pois, do caso do desaparecimento de envolvidos da Guerrilha do Araguaia, ocorrido entre os anos de 1972 a 1974, dentre os quais Gomes Lund e outras tantas pessoas, tidas como presumivelmente mortas, em virtude da guerrilha ocorrida em Araguaia, no Pará.
A corte julgou no sentido do Brasil ser responsável pelo desaparecimento forçado de 62 pessoas, tendo violado direito humano à vida, à integridade física e à liberdade de pensamento e de expressão, além de ter violado as garantias judiciais previstas pelo Pacto de San José da Costa Rica.
Logo, a Corte condenou o Brasil a uma série de medidas de caráter reparatório, além de outras medidas de reabilitação, satisfação e garantias de não repetição. Também condenou o Brasil a investigar os fatos, julgar e, se for o caso, punir os responsáveis e de determinar o paradeiro das vítimas, além de publicar a sentença proferida pelo Tribunal Internacional.
         Destarte, quatro “problemas” no Estado Brasileiro foram vislumbrados pela Corte IDH: (1) a saúde; (2) o tratamento dos profissionais que cuidam dos direitos humanos; (3) a questão da distribuição de terras – visualizada DUAS VEZES pela Corte IDH; (4) a questão da ditadura militar. Fica claro, pois, quais as questões que o Brasil ainda precisa enfrentar e discutir perante toda sua população.
Para saber com mais detalhes sobre os casos envolvendo o Brasil, acesse: http://www.corteidh.or.cr/pais.cfm?id_Pais=7.

*Ane Elise Brandalise Gonçalves é advogada e graduanda em relações internacionais na UNINTER.
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