This past Sunday, September 2nd, 2018, a fire broke out in Rio de Janeiro’s National Museum of Brazil. The fire was devastating, almost entirely destroying the historic building and thousands of national and international artifacts. The building itself, which began construction in 1803 was known as Paço de São Cristóvão, and was once home to the Portuguese Royal Family. After Brazil’s independence in 1822, it became the palace of the Brazilian Emperor.
Brazil, like other Latin American countries, is multifaceted when it comes to LGBT+ rights. As a country bursting with art and culture it provides unique opportunities to showcase queer identity through art and celebrate the pride of the community. São Paulo hosts the largest gay pride parade in the world, and the Ipanema neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro is known for being a popular gay destination.
Debora Diniz is widely known in her homeland of Brazil as an activist, anthropologist, writer, filmmaker, law professor, and a co-founder of ANIS: Institute of Bioethics, an organization dedicated to bioethics and human rights in Latin America. In addition to her impressive career as a professor and lawyer, Diniz has worked on Brazilian Supreme Court cases involving abortion, marriage equality, the secular state, and stem cell research.
Bribery cartels between officials and local leaders hide corruption. Bribery cartels operate around the world: della Porta and Vannucci (1999) document cartels of businesspeople and politicians in Italy who collude to keep influence and money circulating between cartel members. Ufere et al. (2012) and Fisman and Gatti (2002) found similar collusion in Nigeria and Indonesia’s business sectors. In 2015, investigators uncovered bribery arrangements between FIFA representatives and officials from dozens of countries that featured cartel-like behavior.
Brazil is one of the countries with the lowest rates of female representation in political power. The report of the International Union of Parliaments (IPU) shows Brazil in 151th position (in 193 countries). The representation in the Chamber of Deputies meets only 10%. The proportions are also low in municipalities and state level governments. Currently, there is just one women as a governor (among 27) and, in 2016 elections, women were just 12.57% of the candidates for mayors.
A violência no Brasil vem atingindo níveis alarmantes. Nos últimos meses, uma série de rebeliões em presídios das regiões Norte e Nordeste do país ganhou as capas dos noticiários internacionais. Facções criminosas travam disputas sangrentas pelo controle do tráfico de drogas dentro e fora das prisões locais, muitas vezes com resultados assustadores. Mas esta não é a única crise de violência que o país enfrenta.
In the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s many Latin American countries adopted neoliberal economic policies. Many countries faced negative economic and social results due to the policy shift and reverted to more domestic oriented markets. With that said, in recent years many Latin American countries, such as Brazil, have pushed back into neoliberalist policies. This comes as especially odd considering many global economic powers such as the US, UK, and China are shifting to domestic focused and protectionist policies.
On May 21st, truck drivers in Brazil began a nation-wide strike that lasted for ten days. The interruption in shipping routes devastated major industries such as agriculture, healthcare, education, and oil, resulting in a government declared state of emergency at the height of the protests. Brazil, a country slightly larger than the continental United States, relies heavily on road transportation. During the strike period, many major cities experienced food shortages, gas shortages, and even medical supply shortages.
Every democracy can be expected to produce antidemocratic sentiment. In supposedly ordinary times, which we do not usually recognize as such until the exception is all there is, these kinds of opinions do not get far, sparing the body politic a self-destructive infection. Nobody looking at the Brazilian situation today would classify what is going on as normal, as a logical permutation of the democratic order that took shape following the end of the dictatorship in 1985.