David Miranda

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The challenges to democracy and civic order in Brazil, the world’s fifth most populous country, have increased significantly in the past couple of weeks. As dangers to Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president, and his movement grow, so, too, do the threats emanating from them.

Tensions reached a boiling point last week when the former president Luiz Ignácio Lula da Silva was released from prison after Brazil’s supreme court ruled that the constitution bars imprisonment of defendants, such as Lula, before they have exhausted their appeals.

Lula is not only the obvious and most charismatic leader of the leftwing opposition to Bolsonaro but also the greatest prize of Bolsonaro’s minister of justice and public security, Sérgio Moro.…  Seguir leyendo »

Flávio Bolsonaro, pictured behind his father, President Jair Bolsonaro, employed the wife and the mother of the alleged leader of Rio de Janeiro’s top paramilitary gang for years. Photograph: Adriano Machado/Reuters

There is a towering paradox at the heart of Brazilian politics: the country’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, was elected on an anti-corruption platform – music to the ears of a population that has been victimised for decades by systemic corruption.

But the “anti-corruption” president and his family are now subsumed by multiple corruption scandals suggesting serious criminality.

All three of Bolsonaro’s politically active sons, along with his wife Michelle, have been implicated in corruption scandals. But the most serious and menacing scandal features Bolsonaro’s eldest son, Flávio, who is a federal senator.

At the end of 2018, the media reported that one of Flávio’s aides, the former military police officer Fabrício Queiroz, had for years been depositing sums of money into Flávio’s personal bank account.…  Seguir leyendo »

Women carrying flowers take part in a ‘flowers for democracy’ demonstration against the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff. Photograph: Eraldo Peres/AP

The story of Brazil’s political crisis, and the rapidly changing global perception of it, begins with its national media. The country’s dominant broadcast and print outlets are owned by a tiny handful of Brazil’s richest families, and are steadfastly conservative. For decades, those media outlets have been used to agitate for the Brazilian rich, ensuring that severe wealth inequality (and the political inequality that results) remains firmly in place.

Indeed, most of today’s largest media outlets – that appear respectable to outsiders – supported the 1964 military coup that ushered in two decades of rightwing dictatorship and further enriched the nation’s oligarchs.…  Seguir leyendo »