Brazil: How to Weaken Democracy from Within

The dance between democracy and authoritarianism: it has definitely been the main topic of The Exploding Head project.

That dance can take different forms. And Brazil presents to us yet another one.

If it’s not a military coup, and the president isn’t gaining more power via any strange referendum either, then what has been happening in Brazil?

Is there another way to mess with a democratic system? Can that be done from the inside out?

Unfortunately, yes.

And this is what has been happening in Brazil for at least five years.

We have to start in 2016, with the impeachment of the then Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff. You can read my own article on all the questionable aspects of this process here.

Then, there was the imprisonment of Luiz Ingácio Lula da Silva (Lula), Brazil’s ex-president and one of the most popular politicians in the country to this day.

As Lula couldn’t run in the presidential election of 2018, the centre-left was unable to present to the Brazilian voters a candidate strong enough to win against Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro, as you might know, is Brazil’s current far-right president.

But why to record a podcast episode just now, you might ask.

That is because just this month, Lula’s sentence was annulled. Although very likely he will face another trial, Lula is – as the popular hashtag says – livre.

So what does it all mean? What is both the context and the lesson in this whole messy situation that we’re witnessing in Brazil?

Why should we care? And what should we be aware of as Brazil is having its 2022 presidential election now?

My episode by no means contains EVERYTHING you should know about Brazilian politics. But it does very nicely present another scenario of how one can mess with democracy.

For more (actual) news on Brazil, please follow The Brazilian Report.

It is an example of quality independent journalism where someone really bright who I know – and am secretly jealous of… – happens to work!

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