Much like the United States, Brazil has a mass incarceration problem. The country’s prison population is the fourth largest in the world, its incarceration rate is the highest in South America, the occupancy level in its prison system is at 154 percent, and almost forty percent of all prisoners are still awaiting trial. These numbers have consistently worsened since the country’s transition to electoral democracy in 1989, and represent one of the biggest barriers for the establishment of a liberal political order in the country.
Imagine that Shakespeare had written a political drama in which a once-beloved queen’s past indiscretions have come back to haunt her. The queen’s popularity has recently tanked due to months of economic decline in her kingdom as well as a fraud scandal surrounding the powerful families of the region. Although the queen hasn’t been directly tied to that scandal, it was just proven that she’s been cooking the books on government accounts.
The Global Financial Crisis prompted academic and policy debates on the need to include political factors in the analysis of economic phenomena, such as trade exchange and financial flows among sovereign states. However, how can one account for the impact of government action on a country’s foreign economic relations?
In 2010, Dilma Rousseff made Brazilian history as the first female president of the South American nation. With 56 percent of the vote, she was able to secure the victory against José Serra with a platform of “eradicating extreme poverty” and “reducing inequality” in Brazil, as well putting more of a focus on increasing the quality of education for the youth of the nation.
Over the last several years I’ve conducted extensive research in Brazil focused on the multiple and complex intersections of race, music, and space.
On November 5th, 2015, an unprecedented environmental disaster took place in the interior state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. Two dams containing runoff material from nearby mines, ruptured and sent a wave of chemically hazardous sludge throughout the nearby regions. The dams, located in the municipality of Mariana, covered entire towns and wildlife in a thick layer of sludge, and moved its way to the Rio Doce which now runs a deep orange color.
Military dictatorships in most Latin American countries during the 1970s suppressed the population, but out of it grew a movement that remains strong. People who were typically voiceless, began to use walls as a microphone for their political and social expressions. While street art is not always politically linked, the movement grew from the need to not be silenced anymore.
It is frequently argued that the rivalry between Brazil and Argentina has been surmounted. That is, the two countries have successfully overcome their differences and turned their relationship into a paragon of a strategic partnership - except on the pitch. Although Brazil-Argentina provides an astonishing example of turning an erstwhile opponent into a strategic ally, the fact is that the two countries live a love-hate relationship.
The Brazilian government has placed its bet on Amazonian hydroelectric infrastructure as a key piece of its clean energy future. A national discourse about the green economy and sustainable development surround such large development projects today, despite the long and distressing historical track record of building large dams in the Amazon.
Since the end of the nineteenth century, Brazil has enjoyed international renown as a ‘racial democracy’ and a mixed-race country, due to its mixture of people of European, African and Amerindian descent. Mário de Andrade and Gilberto Freyre were amongst several intellectuals who, from the beginning of the twentieth century, started to positively assess the black and African roots of Brazil.