POSTS BY Emilio Peluso Neder Meyer

Judicial Responses to Bolsonarism: The Leading Role of the Federal Supreme Court

Criticism against the Brazilian judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, has been on the rise in the past couple of decades. Under Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency, however, courts are experiencing a more radical and dangerous form of opposition, which transcends the borders of legitimate criticism and undertakes a direct attack on the judicial branch. This must be understood in light of the Federal Supreme Court’s backlash against Bolsonaro’s maneuvers to flame his supporters and violate the Brazilian Constitution of 1988. This article aims at recollecting the most important rulings and procedures that take part in this reaction.

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Authoritarianism Without Emergency Powers: Brazil Under COVID-19

One of the few heads of state that insist on denying scientific and epidemiologic facts concerning the spread of COVID-19 is the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. For Bolsonaro, politics comes before truth. Since the beginning of the pandemic of COVID-19, he is disseminating doubts on social media (although Twitter, Facebook and Instagram deleted some of his posts) to galvanize his radical supporters while creating a distraction for his government’s inability to implement social and economic aids to the low-income families affected by social distancing. For the moment, the president has failed to gather the public support that he needs for an extension of the emergency powers of the executive, like Orbán did in Hungary. But his authoritarian discourse has not disappeared from the horizon. On 31st March 2020, for instance, Bolsonaro celebrated the anniversary of the Coup of 1964 as a “great day for freedom”.

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Why Bolsonaro Needs to Be Impeached

Brazil’s longstanding political crisis already looked like the worst-case scenario, but it was surmounted by a further explosive element: the COVID-19 health crisis. Populist executive leaders seem to have responded too late to the dangers of this pandemic, but all of them appear be at least aware of the political effects of their policies. Bolsonaro seems to be taking a higher risk, adopting a position that indicates that his institutional support might be vanishing and pushing him towards direct support by his popular sympathizers.

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Threats to Brazilian Democracy Gain Traction

Democracy in Brazil is under attack and facing a significant level of backsliding. The developments in recent years, from Dilma Rousseff’s parliamentary coup to Jair Bolsonaro’s ascent to power, have shown that democracy erodes in an incremental process. Lawmaker Eduardo Bolsonaro has recently taken another step in that direction when he publicly suggested that a 1964-1985 dictatorship’s decree should be repeated in case the Brazilian left-wing movements took a more radical position. His statements are prohibited under Brazilian law and Brazil’s institutions need to hold Eduardo Bolsonaro accountable in order to put brakes on the country’s democratic decline.

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Brazil in the Dock: The Inter-American Court of Human Rights Rulings Concerning the Dictatorship of 1964-1985

On July 4th 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) made public the condemnation of Brazil for its omission in investigating, prosecuting and condemning the public agents supposedly liable for the torture and murder of the journalist Vladimir Herzog. The events took place back in 1975, during the dictatorship of 1964-1985. After several attempts […]

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