The menace hanging over Brazil


Source: The Economist

The tenure of Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain, brought the military back to the heart of government. He might have grudgingly left office, but Brazil’s military — privileged, preponderant and unaccountable — remains a constant threat to the country’s democracy, notes Vanessa Barbara, editor of the website A Hortaliça. At the root of the military’s power is amnesia, she writes for The New York Times:

During the dictatorship, the regime killed hundreds and tortured 20,000 people. Yet in 1979, it passed an amnesty law for those who had committed politically motivated crimes in the previous two decades, covering not only exiled activists but also military and public officials accused of murder, torture and sexual abuse. The law was upheld in 2010 by the Supreme Court. Four years later, a National Truth Commission identified 377 public officials responsible for human rights abuses during the dictatorship, but little was done. No military officers have ever been punished for their crimes.

That’s why Brazilians cannot watch the movie “Argentina, 1985” without crying out in shame. Winner of the Golden Globe for best non-English-language film and nominated for a 2023 Academy Award, it depicts the effort to haul into court members of the military juntas that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. The trial, which occurred in 1985, helped shape the public debate about what happened in those brutal years — and sent a few generals to prison. So far, more than a thousand people have been convicted of crimes against humanity in our neighboring country. RTWT

Brazil’s January 8 insurrection was rooted in a sustained disinformation campaign from far-right sectors of the polity that was inadequately countered, adds Roberta Braga, a former Penn Kemble Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Following the violence, Brazil’s judiciary has responded swiftly and harshly, but concerns over free speech have called into question the line between oversight and censorship. To meet this challenge, Brazil must implement a multi-stakeholder response capable of rebuilding trust and addressing the false realities holding it captive, she argues in a recent Power 3.0 blog post.

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