Jair Bolsonaro's victory on October 28 turns Brazil towards the extreme right and backwards in several aspects of its democratic transition initiated with the 1988 Constitution, especially those related to social justice, environment, human rights and the economy. Understanding why he was elected and what he represents is key to grasping the new Brazil emerging from the election and what to expect for the near future.
For the first time Brazil has elected a president without the support of the poorest or the destitute. Though 55 percent of the electorate opted to steer the country into the abyss, people with lower incomes did not vote for Bolsonaro. In the new Brazilian Congress the military and police caucus overshadows all others.
The forces that shaped modern Brazil made the rise of a figure such as Lula da Silva all but inevitable. Conditions in Brazil today mean his imprisonment is certainly not the end of this chapter in the nation's story. Pablo Gentili, Executive Secretary of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO), analyses the parallel between Brazil's history and the story of its most charismatic leader.
Can a president institute radical popular change alongside structural inequality and a militarized elite? The Brazilian case suggests that a progressive political party requires more social movement mobilization, not less.
A few weeks after the May coup against Dilma Rousseff by conservative parties backed by the country's largest corporations, Brazil's “interim” government, led by Michel Temer, signed an emergency loan to the State of Rio de Janeiro to help finance infrastructure for the 2016 Olympics – in particular for a subway line connecting the sports venues. The bailout was conditional to selling off the State's public water supply and sanitation company, the Companhia Estadual de Águas e Esgotos (Cedae)
The mayor of Bogota has recently proposed a pilot scheme with crack cocaine addicts to explore the substitution of crack made of cocaine base paste (or bazuco as it is called in Colombia) by marijuana. The substitution treatment plan will include 15 problematic users from the marginalized Bronx area who are already receiving health assistance of the CAMAD operating in that sector of the city. The treatment will last approximately eight months, after which the results will be evaluated.
The EU debt crisis foretells a more serious global debt crisis, caused by unlimited growth and the ongoing financial casino. Latin America's emerging financial and regional architecture offers hope for a new type of integration based on solidarity.
The EU could play a valuable role in preventing another flawed climate deal if it neutralises the US and brings other ditherers on board while starting talks on future obligations for the emerging economies.
Last month the film Tropa de Elite 2 (Elite Squad 2) was released in Brazil. It is a sequel to the very successful 2007 film Elite Squad, a semi-fictional account of the BOPE – special heavily armed police units that invade the slums in Rio de Janeiro going after the drug trafficking gangs. In the new sequel the BOPE have a new enemy: paramilitary groups known as 'milícias' in stead of the usual suspects, the drug gangs of Rio.
The massive concentration and growth of corporate power poses a major threat to what remains of public services, highlighting the ever-deepening crisis of democracy, and the urgent need for people to reclaim the state.
Renewed U.S. efforts to bring sanctions against Iran are more backlash for being snubbed in favour of a tripartite deal with Turkey and Brazil than they are about nuclear proliferation. A UN Security Council coalition may be able to block U.S. pressure for sanctions that would only punish Iranian civilians.
Brazil has not experienced any sort of major agrarian reform since then, but dozens of rural movements have been organised and hundreds of thousands of landless peasants have acquired the right of access to land (especially through settlement projects) as a result of these social movements’ struggles. After so many years of fighting and popular mobilisation, what are these movements’ contributions to building rural democracy? This study seeks to understand this process by evaluating social movements’ alliances (both rural and urban alliances) and evaluating their relationships with political parties, especially with the Workers Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT) and with the Brazilian Federal Government.