On Saturday, thousands of Brazilians took to the streets to demand the removal of President Jair Bolsonaro, who is being investigated by the Supreme Court for crimes related to the dissemination of fake news about COVID-19 and vaccines. This happened in a country that has counted over 615,000 deaths since the pandemic began. The mobilizations against the far-righ President were summoned by organizations such as the Brazilian Women Articulation (AMB), the Women’s World March (MMM), the Unified Black Movement (MNO), the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), the Union of Blacks for Equality (UNEGRO), the Workers' Party (PT), the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), the Central Unitary of Workers (CUT), and the Central of Workers of Brazil (CTB).
Three years after the election of President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil has been transformed from a generally respected rising power into a pariah state, repudiated for its appalling environmental and human rights record and for what Doctors Without Borders has called the world’s worst response to COVID-19. Brazilians like to joke about foreigners only knowing the country as the land of soccer, samba, and carnival. Today it is known as a prominent hub of far-right transnational conspiracy theories and democratic erosion. Bolsonaro, who ascended to the presidency of Latin America’s largest nation on a wave of reactionary bloodlust, willful ignorance, and the wishful thinking of establishment actors convinced they could control him, looms in international coverage of Brazil as a clear and present danger.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has given new license to the killing of Indigenous people in Brazil. Before he came to power in 2019, it wasn’t clear what he wanted to build, but he knew exactly who and what he wanted to destroy: the Indigenous people and the Amazon rainforest, respectively. “Bolsonaro attacked a woman first, the land, our mother,” the Indigenous leader Célia Xakriabá told me. “We have no choice but to fight back.” Since becoming president, the former Army captain, who served under the country’s last military dictator, has led an unprecedented war against the environment and the people protecting it. A slew of anti-Indigenous legislation, escalated violence against and assassinations of Indigenous land defenders, and the COVID-19 pandemic have threatened the existence of Brazil’s original people, the Amazon rainforest, and the future of the planet.
The far-right leader did not achieve the tide in his favor that he himself expected to gather to commemorate Independence Day. However, the center of Brasilia, and especially Sao Paulo (125,000 demonstrators), were filled with fervent followers dressed in green and yellow, the national colors. "Despite his isolation, the president has shown that he is still capable of mobilizing a noisy minority," wrote journalist Bernardo Mello Franco in the daily O Globo. The marches saw a heterogeneous mix of far-right activists, pro-gun supporters, evangelicals, bikers, conspiracy and anti-vaccine activists. The fact that the protesters were non-violent and did not invade the Supreme Court or Congress as feared, in a Brazilian version of the January assault on the Capitol in Washington, came as a relief.
From August 22 to 28, the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) and its regional organizations will carry out a national mobilization to defend their ancestral territories. On Sunday, the Indigenous peoples established a camp in Brasilia where the headquarters of the State functions are located. Throughout the week, they will carry out demonstrations to reject President Jair Bolsonaro and prevent the Supreme Court of Brazil (STF) from approving the "Time Frame", which is a norm related to the demarcation of their ancestral lands. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Francisco Cali Tzay asked the Supreme Court to reject a legal proposal promoted by private companies, which are only interested in exploiting the natural resources found within the Indigenous territories.
On Saturday, Brazil's leftist political parties and social organizations called on Brazilians to protest against far-right President Jair Bolsonaro for his mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Brazil Popular and Fearless People Fronts, the Workers' Party (PT), trade unions and student organizations are supporting the demonstrations in over 450 cities. Protesters called on the conservative Lower House's chairman Arthur Lira to respect the popular will and accept the impeachment requests against Bolsonaro. They demand also an immediate response to stop the wave of deaths and the economic crisis provoked by the pandemic, which has plunged 59 percent of the Brazilian population into food insecurity.
Tens of thousands of protesters have poured on to the streets of Brazil’s largest cities to demand the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro over his catastrophic response to a coronavirus pandemic that has claimed nearly half a million Brazilian lives. The demonstrators turned out in more than 200 cities and towns for what is the biggest anti-Bolsonaro mobilisation since Brazil’s Covid outbreak began “Today is a decisive milestone in the battle to defeat Bolsonaro’s genocidal administration,” said Silvia de Mendonça, 55, a civil rights activist from Brazil’s Unified Black Movement as she led a column of protesters through Rio’s dilapidated city centre. Osvaldo Bazani da Silva, a 48-year-old hairdresser who lost his younger brother to Covid-19, said: “We can’t lose any more Brazilian lives. We need to hit the streets every single day until this government falls.”
The dismantling of Brazil’s democracy, which culminated in the jailing of former president Lula Da Silva as he looked certain to be reelected, is the subject of a new English-language investigative podcast. Cícero Ezequiel Filho lay beneath the sweltering sun of Brazil’s capital, Brasilia. He wore khaki shorts, John Lennon glasses and a long white beard, which stretched far below his chin and over a red long-sleeved shirt with the face of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on the front. When I met him in August 2018, Cícero had been outside Brazil’s Supreme Court for two weeks. He refused to eat until former president Lula was free.
In early April 2020, the first rumors emerged that Brazil’s Chief of Staff, General Walter Souza Braga Netto, had been quietly anointed “acting” or “operational” President of Brazil. It was a position that did not officially exist, therefore no official confirmation of this was even possible. The General’s announcement of a massive Keynesian investment program called Pró-Brasil – informally called a “Brazilian Marshall Plan” – has prompted Brazil’s biggest newspapers Folha de São Paulo and Estadão to acknowledge the General’s position at the de-facto head of government policy.
Brazil’s far-right government, under the helm of Jair Bolsonaro, has taken a major step to criminalize journalism and silence one of its most effective critics. Yesterday, a federal prosecutor announced that he is seeking criminal charges against Brazil-based journalist Glenn Greenwald for “cyber crimes.” The charges stem from the Intercept Brazil’s groundbreaking reporting on leaked chat messages giving a firsthand look into the country’s anti-corruption task force. The articles not only exposed a high-profile anti-corruption investigation as politically biased, they helped set the stage for the release of former Brazilian president Lula da Silva from prison. Authorities insist that Greenwald illegally helped the hackers. But make no mistake: this is a massive assault on press freedom.
Brazilians marched in dozens of cities across the country against the far-right government of president Jair Bolsonaro. The marches come amid extremely concerning revelations, which allegedly tie Bolsonaro to the murder of Marielle Franco last year. Franco was a black LGBT council woman from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. She was killed in March 2018 by hitmen. Her death sparked global outrage.
On September 7th, the Independence Day of Brazil, the National Student Union (UNE) led protests in defense of the Amazon and public education, both of which are being threatened by policies in favor of private companies promoted by President Jair Bolsonaro. “Education-related budget cuts end our dreams,” the UNE policy director Julia Aguiar said and explained that today's mobilizations seek to make visible growing social inequalities. "Over the last months we have witnessed mobilizations in defense of education and against a government which attacks the rights of the people as a whole," Aguiar said and recalled that the Education Ministry announced further cuts this week, which means that "the 2020 budget will have half the money than the current one."
At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in January 2019 in Davos Switzerland, Bolsonaro made a sumptuous presentation, “We Are Building a New Brazil”. He outlined a program that put literally Brazil up for sale, and especially the Brazilian part of Amazonia. He was talking particularly about Brazil’s water resources, the world’s largest, and the rain forest – offering a huge potential for agricultural development and mining.
Brazil’s environment agency data showed that fines for environmental violations decreased since far-right President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January. From January to Aug. 23, the fines dropped to a third of what it was during the same period last year while fires in Brazil increased by 84 percent. The data of the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) showed the lowest number of fines handed out for violating environment. Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 23 a total number of 6,895 fines were handed out while in 2018, during the same period...
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact. The Bolsonaro government has as one of its priorities to strategically occupy the Amazon region to prevent the implementation of multilateral conservation projects for the rainforest, specifically the so-called “Triple A” project.