Brazil's soft coup

A note from the editor

Vanessa Baird

Rebranding dictatorship in Latin America

Not so long ago Brazil was a country with both a booming economy and an enviably progressive set of social policies.

Today, almost exactly one year since Dilma Rousseff’s ‘impeachment’ (which many call a ‘coup’), Latin America’s most populous nation is in social, political and economic meltdown.

Each day brings a new government initiative to pillage on behalf of the super-rich. Every news bulletin delivers another instalment in a corruption saga that is shaping up to be the world’s biggest.

‘We always knew there was corruption,’ one young Brazilian journalist told me, ‘but the scale of it, the number of politicians and the amount of money involved, has left us totally disgusted and demoralized.’

Nothing is predictable. ‘Anyone who can tell you what is going to happen is certainly ill-informed,’ another journalist, a veteran, quipped.

At various points, while researching this month’s Big Story, it looked like Brazil’s corruption-mired Michel Temer could not possibly hold on to the top job. At the time of writing, he is still in place.

Then there is the case of ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who could win next year’s presidential elections – or could be in prison.

These are the big players. But, being New Internationalist, we also tune in to the people who are most impacted by Brazil’s extraordinary and complex crisis – the people at the grassroots, whose voices are increasingly drowned out by the elite roar of privilege.

Elsewhere in this edition, Cynthia Enloe unpicks the persistence of patriarchy, which she says ‘is as hip as football millionaires and Silicon Valley start-ups’, while Arun Gandhi, Mahatma’s grandson, talks to Danielle Batist about his grandfather’s ideals, technology and Trump.

Vanessa Baird for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

Keynote article.

Brazil's soft coup hardens

Vanessa Baird sets out to see how dictatorship is being rebranded in Latin America’s most populous nation.

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The word ‘coup’ suggests a sudden and violent action, literally a ‘blow’.

Citizens may wake up to a coup d’état to find tanks on the streets and radio stations off-air or playing patriotic music.

And if the takeover is anything like that which occurred in Brazil in 1964, or Chile in 1973, or Argentina in 1976, it will be followed by students, activists, trade unionists being rounded up, tortured, disappeared.

The coup that took place in Brazil last year was not like that. Not a...




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