Brazil at the crossroads

first_img Related On Sunday, Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right populist with harsh views about women, gays, and blacks, was elected president of Brazil, one of the world’s largest democracies. To understand the factors leading to his election, the Gazette talked with Scott Mainwaring, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor for Brazil Studies at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).Mainwaring spoke about Bolsonaro’s victory as part of the far-right populist wave that is sweeping the globe, the likely impact of Brazil’s election on Latin America, and the danger to Brazilian democracy that may be posed by this presidency.Q&AScott MainwaringGAZETTE: Jair Bolsonaro has been called “the Brazilian Donald Trump.” Can you talk about the similarities between Bolsonaro and Trump?MAINWARING: The similarities are that both have been viewed, I think correctly, as having racist and sexist discourses, with very authoritarian elements. Bolsonaro once said of a member of Brazil’s National Congress, “She’s too ugly; she’s not worth raping.” He also said that if he was ever elected president of Brazil, on the first day he’d shut down the National Congress. Both leaders have publicly supported torture — however, with a difference. Bolsonaro has supported torture of Brazilian and criminal suspects, and Trump has limited his favoring of torture to terrorist suspects. For people who highly value democracy and human rights, the similarities between Bolsonaro and Trump should be of concern.,GAZETTE: Are there any differences between Trump and Bolsonaro?MAINWARING: Bolsonaro is far more extreme than Donald Trump. I’m not aware that Trump has been profoundly homophobic in his public discourse. Bolsonaro has said that if one of his sons were gay, he’d prefer that the son die.GAZETTE: Some have said that Bolsonaro is similar to strongman Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. What’s your take on that?MAINWARING: In terms of extrajudicial killings, rule of law, and human rights, Bolsonaro is much closer to Duterte than to Trump. A few years ago, Bolsonaro said that International Human Rights Day is a “day for losers.” Trump might think that, but I don’t think he has ever said something like that. But there are more similarities between Bolsonaro and Duterte than between Bolsonaro and Trump.GAZETTE: Can you talk about the context that made the election of Bolsonaro possible? His election was unthinkable a few months ago.MAINWARING: The context is one of deep crisis on three issues: the economy, corruption and public security, and the profound discredit of the left, centrist, and center-right establishment in Brazil. Brazil has an alarming public security crisis. It has a homicide rate about 6.5 times that of the U.S., and seven of the 20 most violent cities in the world are in Brazil. Secondly, in recent years, Brazil has had a recession much deeper and much longer than the U.S. recession of 2008‒2009. And the third factor is corruption, which I think was the biggest factor leading to Bolsonaro’s victory. Brazil has had the biggest corruption scandal in the history of democracy. Lula (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva), the leader of the Workers’ Party and formerly beloved president of Brazil, is now in jail, but it’s not only him. One of Brazil’s most important entrepreneurs is in jail, and many Brazilian politicians and entrepreneurs are in jail or under investigation for corruption charges. The corruption scandal affected both the left and the right, so when you discredit both the left and the center-right establishment, who’s left standing?GAZETTE: But why did Bolsonaro, who was a marginal politician as a senator, benefit from the public despair over corruption, crime, and the recession?MAINWARING: Although Bolsonaro was not an outsider, by most standards — he has been in the National Congress for almost 28 years — he is such an extremist that he was able to position himself as an outsider. It’s an exaggerated comparison, but it’s like if Adolf Hitler had been in the German Parliament for 28 years as a very marginal figure. Because of his extremist views, many people saw him as something different. To my knowledge, Bolsonaro has no history of corruption, and at a time when corruption was a salient issue, that worked in his favor. He’s very outspoken, he has a very clear attitude — not proposals — about crime, and that is, “Kill the criminals,” and “Let more people have arms.” When 111 criminals were massacred in a São Paulo prison around 1993, he said, “It’s a shame that only 111 criminals were killed.” This kind of discourse is terrible policy, but it has a profound resonance in Brazil because of the fears over rising crime.GAZETTE: What role did the political parties play in the collapse of the Brazilian political system?MAINWARING: The Workers’ Party governed from 2003 to 2016, and it governed very ineffectually for much of this past decade. And when the commodity boom ended, the space for bad policies shrank radically, and then you got this horrible recession with very high unemployment. Now, half of Brazil profoundly rejects the Workers’ Party. This is not a historic constant. When Lula left office in 2010, he had an 83 percent approval rating. But the corruption scandals, the security problems, and the economic recession changed people’s opinion about the Workers’ Party.A lot of Brazilians who supported Lula in 2010 now hate the Workers’ Party. A lot of this is a vote against that party. In the last two years, the party radicalized, moved to the left, and it presented Lula as the presidential candidate in 2018. But if the paramount concern in Brazilian voters’ minds is corruption, and you put forth Lula as a presidential candidate while he’s in jail on corruption charges, what message does that send?GAZETTE: Were you surprised by the results?MAINWARING: Six months ago, I would have said that Bolsonaro’s chances were low. When he was stabbed in a campaign rally on Sept. 6, he was one of five candidates who could possibly get to the second round, but the outcome was still unpredictable. Three weeks later, it seemed almost certain that Bolsonaro would get to the second round, and it also seemed that he’d have the better chance of winning. Right before the first round on Oct. 7, surveys show he had 38 percent of the vote. Everyone was surprised when he got 46 percent of the valid vote. At that point, I thought it was extremely likely that Bolsonaro would win, and nothing changed in the intervening three weeks.GAZETTE: What are your expectations for his presidency?MAINWARING: One can confidently say that he would be against environmental regulations, and there is every reason to believe that he would be a great supporter of agribusiness. We can be very confident that there will be less respect for the human rights of some groups. Brazil has a long record of high police impunity and many police killings, and we should expect this to get worse. We should expect him to govern in a relatively authoritarian manner.There is a lot of room for doubt about the economy. Bolsonaro’s own past is deeply statist, and his chief economic adviser is a market-oriented economist who had said that Brazil should privatize its public firms, but Bolsonaro came out and contradicted him. Bolsonaro has said he won’t make concessions with the Congress, but his party has 51 seats out of 513 in the lower chamber. He has to make concessions.And what would he do about corruption? His discourse about corruption is laudable, but what he doesn’t say is that it wasn’t only the left in Brazil that was corrupt; far more right-wing politicians have been accused and convicted of corruption than left-wing politicians. This has been an endemic problem in Brazil. You don’t end corruption just by saying “I’m against corruption.” About public security, his proposals have been very thin and sketchy. He did not run on very detailed policy proposals. “The example of Trump made it possible for Bolsonaro with even a far more misogynistic, homophobic, and racist discourse to get elected.” After the triumphs of Trump and Brexit, right-leaning parties see paths to political power In Europe, nationalism rising GAZETTE: What might be the impact of Bolsonaro’s election in the region?MAINWARING: I think this makes it easier for other right-wing populists with outrageous discourses and policy proposals to emerge. We’re riding a wave of conservative populism across many countries in the world, most prominently in the United States. One of my esteemed Brazilian academic colleagues said, “Without Trump, there would be no Bolsonaro.” We can’t know empirically if that’s true, but it seems that there’s a perfectly reasonable hypothesis. The example of Trump made it possible for Bolsonaro with even a far more misogynistic, homophobic, and racist discourse to get elected. The countries in Latin America that would be most vulnerable are those with weaker institutions and deeper problems. That’s not Uruguay or Chile or Costa Rica, but it could be the rest of the region. In Latin America, with those three exceptions, states are not strong, party systems are not solid, and the recurrence of populists and often authoritarian ones, both on the left and the right, is frequent.GAZETTE: What can we expect from this wave of far-right populism?MAINWARING: Well, for a while there was a left-wing authoritarian populist wave in Latin America; the worst of it was Hugo Chávez, and the most influential by far. It seems that [Nicolás] Maduro, his successor, has ruined Venezuela. And then came Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. Maduro and Ortega in effect have turned Venezuela and Nicaragua into electoral dictatorships, and they cannot hold free and fair elections because they would lose. Correa is out of office, and his successor is prosecuting him. Morales is still in office. But that left-wing wave has ended. The left lost in Argentina in 2015 and in Chile in 2017. Now, we have a right wave. But as long as voters can freely and fairly vote, and the mechanisms of democratic accountability are protected, democracy will be preserved.But we should have no illusions about the erosion of democracy in Brazil. The question is not if it will erode, the question is how much. The best-case scenario is that the LBGT community, the press, and human rights defenders are more vulnerable to harassment and violence but there is not a profound erosion of democracy, and that the democratic institutions remain relatively solid. That’s the most optimistic scenario, but I think that’s too optimistic.last_img read more

Japan PM to declare state of emergency

first_imgPrime Minister Shinzo Abe was likely toannounce his plan for the emergency later on Monday, the Yomiuri newspaperreported, while Kyodo news agency said new measures would likely come intoforce on Wednesday. (Reuters) TOKYO – Japan will declare a state ofemergency as early as Tuesday in a bid to stop the coronavirus, media reported,with the government preparing a stimulus package to soften the blow on aneconomy already struggling to avoid a recession. More than 3,500 people have testedpositive for the coronavirus in Japan and 85 have died, not a huge outbreakcompared with some hot spots, but the numbers keep rising with particular alarmover the spread in Tokyo, which has more than 1,000 cases.center_img Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wears a protective face mask as he attends an upper house parliamentary session, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tokyo, Japan April 1, 2020. REUTERSlast_img read more

Kwadwo Asamoah: I’m not comfortable playing in defence

first_imgBlack Stars midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah has admitted for the first time he is not very comfortable playing in defence despite being handed defensive roles at his Italian club Juventus and in the national team.After being deployed at the left back for Ghana’s Group G clash with USA last Monday, the gifted Asamoah said he would prefer being played in an offensive midfield role where his talent would be better utilised by the Stars.“Everybody knows where I perform best. I have never enjoyed playing at the back but when you’re asked to step in what can you do? he told the media after last Monday’s 1-2 loss to USA.“I see myself as one of the creative players on the field and so when I play in the offensive, it’s more helpful.“I don’t enjoy playing at the back and in the end it doesn’t help the team.”Critics of Ghana’s tactics say Coach Kwasi Appiah deprives his team of the attacking thrust and creativity which the Juventus star provides, particularly when the Stars have other options in defence. On a number of occasions when Asamoah made forays in attack, the Ghanaians had USA on the back foot, and the midfielder started off the three man-move  with Asamoah Gyan which saw Andre Ayew scoring a beautiful goal last Monday.“When you play as a target man, you have to stay up front and help the team out by holding the ball up and waiting for support. That all comes with experience.“It’s a good role for me to play when its on the offensive.  But I’m afraid the defence is not the best place for me,” explained Asamoah.At the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa, Coach Appiah faced similar criticisms after deploying Asamoah in defence, but he later buckled under pressure in the course of the tournament when the Ghanaian side clearly needed a creative midfielder to unlock opposing defences.–last_img read more

TIFF 2018 After Dark

first_imgActors John David Washington and Chante Adams have a blast, dancing the night away at the “Monsters and Men” premiere party hosted by Grey Goose Vodka at Soho House Toronto. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan) After long days of interviews and press junkets, sometimes celebrities just need to relax, let loose and hit up some of TIFF‘s hottest parties. See which stars were spotted partying the night away at some of TIFF 2018’s A-list soirees. Ryan Gosling And His Mom – ‘First Man” star Ryan Gosling brought a very special date to the post-screening event hosted by Audi and Nespresso — his mom, Donna Gosling. (Photo by Owen Hoffmann) Claire Foy – Although fans won’t be seeing Claire Foy return to “The Crown”, they can see her on the red carpet at the Audi Canada And Nespresso co-hosted post-screening event For “First Man” during TIFF. (Photo by Owen Hoffmann) Damian Chazelle and Olivia Hamilton strike a pose while attending the Audi Canada and Nespresso co-hosted post-screening event for “First Man” during TIFF (Photo by Owen Hoffmann) Actor Patrick Fugit (“Almost Famous”) attends the post-screening event for “First Man”, co-hosted by Audi Canada And Nespresso during TIFF 2018. Former “Orange Is the New Black” star Pablo Schreiber was among the celebrity attendees at the Audi Canada and Nespresso co-hosted post-screening event for “First Man” During TIFF (Photo by Owen Hoffmann) “Saturday Night Live” alum Jason Sudeikis looks sharp as he’s spotted at the RBC-hosted “Driven” cocktail party during TIFF 2018 – Photo by Sonia Recchia Former “Pushing Daisies” star Lee Pace is all smiles at the “Driven” cocktail party, hosted by RBC, during the 2018 TIFF at RBC House. – Photo by Sonia Recchia Sienna Miller is all smiles at the “American Woman” premiere party at the Bisha Hotel’s Kost. – Photo by Steve Blackburn Canadian actor Will Sasso attends the premiere party for his new film, “American Woman” at Kost. (Photo by Steve Blackburn) Amber Heard hits the “Her Smell” cocktail party at RBC House in Toronto. (Photo by Sonia Recchia) Cara Delevingne attends RBC hosted “Her Smell” cocktail party at RBC House. (Photo by Sonia Recchia) Lady Gaga gets dramatic on the red carpet at the Audi Canada and Links Of London post-premiere party for her TIFF film “A Star Is Born”. (Photo by George Pimentel) After premiering his directorial debut for the Toronto crowd, Bradley Cooper celebrates the Audi Canada and Links Of London party for “A Star Is Born” at Masonic Temple. (Photo by George Pimentel) Darren Criss walks the red carpet for the “A Star Is Born” post-premiere party at Masonic Temple in Toronto. (Photo by George Pimentel) Salma Hayek looks fierce in a one-shouldered leopard print dress as she celebrates “A Star Is Born” at the post-premiere party in Toronto. (Photo by George Pimentel) Elle Fanning celebrates her new film “Teen Spirit” at Love Child Social House in Toronto following the premiere. Olivia Munn is honoured at the 2018 Spotlight Awards Dinner. The actress looked lovely in a dark purple suit. (Photo by Brian Summers) “The Mummy” star Sofia Boutella attends 2018 HFPA and InStyle’s TIFF Celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel. (Photo by George Pimentel) Actor and chair member of Artists For Peace Anc Justice, Ben Stiller attends and takes the role of food server at the organization’s gala where they raised $1.4 million. (Photo by Rebecca Risen) “The Front Runner” actor Hugh Jackman, 49, attends Grey Goose’s SoHo House party celebrating the film’s international premiere with a cocktail in hand. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan) Celebrity couple Bryan Greenberg and Jamie Chung share a picture with Olympian Mark McMorris during McMorris’ “Unbroken” film party hosted by RBC for TIFF (Photo by Ernesto Disefano) “Ben Is Back” actor Chance B. Vance attends Nespresso and Audi’s “Ben Is Back” premiere at the Chase Rooftop to promote the film during TIFF. (Photo by Ernesto Disefano) Actor John C. Reilly looks dapper as he steps out in support of his latest project, “The Sisters Brothers”. (Photo by Anna Purna) “The Kindergarten Teacher” actress Maggie Gyllenhaal was spotted at the Mongrel House presented by Autograph Collection Hotels party during TIFF looking pretty in a pink dress and deep purple jacket. (Photo by Ryan Emberley) Ballers” actor London Brown dons a blue vest with matching pants during the Mongrel House party presented by Autograph Hotel in Toronto. 36 of 51 ‘Everybody Knows’ At The RBC House “Everybody Knows” actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem as well as the film’s director Asghar Farhadi attend the “Everybody Knows” Toronto International Film Festival premiere and cocktail party hosted by RBC in Toronto. (Photo by Ernesto Disefano) English actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw attends the “Farming” cocktail party during TIFF at the RBC House in a green, yellow and white dress. (Photo by Sam Santos) Jena Malone and Abbie Cornish attend 2018 HFPA and InStyle’s TIFF Celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel. (Photo by George Pimentel) Amber Heard poses for a quirky snap at the 2018 HFPA and InStyle’s TIFF Celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel. (Photo by George Pimentel) Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves attend 2018 HFPA and InStyle’s TIFF Celebration. The couple hit the party red carpet in a paired down but Canadian inspired look! (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer) Sam Elliott, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga attend Entertainment Weekly’s Must List Party at the Toronto International Film Festival 2018 at the Thompson Hotel. (Photo by Michael Loccisano) Actor Matthew McConaughey wears a maroon suit to the RBC “White Boy Rick” cocktail party to promote the film at TIFF with his wife Camila Alves. (Photo by Sonia Recchia) Audi Canada entertains “Hotel Mumbai” star Armie Hammer arrives with his wife at the film’s post-screening event at TIFF dressed in a casual grey suit with a pair of white kicks posing for pictures. Canadian actors Katie Boland and Michael Seater share a photo at the Mongrel Media celebration for TIFF. Boland rocks a neon pink dress while Seater goes for a bright pink abstract button-down with a black suit. Jude Law and Natalie Portman at the “Vox Lux” premiere party hosted by Grey Goose Vodka and Soho House at Soho House Toronto. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan) Critically acclaimed documentarian Michael Moore and survivors from the Parkland school shooting get together to celebrate the TIFF 2018 premiere of Moore’s film “Fahrenheit 11/9”. Actors John David Washington and Chante Adams have a blast, dancing the night away at the “Monsters and Men” premiere party hosted by Grey Goose Vodka at Soho House Toronto. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan) Pop-rock sister band Haim — Alana Haim, Este Haim and Danielle Haim — get ready to host a special performance at the RBC House to kick off the first official day of the Toronto International Film Festival. (Photo by Sonia Recchia) Actors Dylan O’Brien and Maika Monroe hug it out while attending the “Monsters and Men” premiere party hosted by GREY GOOSE Vodka at Soho House Toronto. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan) “American Woman” star Aaron Paul hits up the film’s premiere party at the Bisha Hotel’s rooftop restaurant Kost. – Photo by Steve Blackburn The Cast Of ‘Her Smell’ – Amber Heard, Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson, Elisabeth Moss and Alex Ross Perry get cozy at the “Her Smell” cocktail party at RBC House. (Photo by Sonia Recchia) “Property Brothers” Jonathan And Drew Scott take a picture with actress Susan Sarandon at the Artists For Peace And Justice Gala in Toronto during TIFF. (Photo by Ryan Emberley) Matthew McConaughey and Timothee Chalamet hug it out at the 2018 HFPA and InStyle’s TIFF Celebration. (Photo by George Pimentel) By ALYSSA CROEZEN Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebookcenter_img Advertisement Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more