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TOPIC: bolsonaro

In The News

Kyiv In The Dark, China’s COVID Record, Stuttgart Christmas Market

👋 Goedemorgen!*

Welcome to Thursday, where 25% of Kyiv remains without power after heavy Russian air strikes on energy infrastructure, China sees record COVID cases, and sorry Thanksgiving, t’is the season for German Christmas markets. Meanwhile, Portuguese news website Mensagem reports from the city of Sintra, in western Portugal, where single parents have banded together to create a new model of joint child care.

[*Flemish]

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In Brazil And U.S., Elections As Stress Tests For Democracy

After the Brazilian presidential election and the American midterms, checking the temperature on the state of democracy in a world that has been heading in the opposite direction for too long.

-Analysis-

MONTREAL — Beyond climate change and the return of inflation, the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic, we can add another element threatening the stability of the world: the backsliding of democracy and faith in a system based on the rule of law, free expression, and a sovereign choice of leaders.

The V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden publishes an annual report that has tracked this decline.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, there was a growing desire for democracy around the world, and the number of people living under a system of freedom and the rule of law was on the rise. But that number has been decreasing since the beginning of the 21st century.

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Brazil Divided: Why Lula's Stunning Return Doesn't Mean Bolsonaro Is Going Away

In Brazil, the leftist Lula da Silva's narrow victory margin in the presidential elections must be seen for what it is: a measured rejection, in hard times, of the outgoing Jair Bolsonaro's right-wing excesses, in favor of competent moderation. But it bodes for very uncertain times ahead

-Analysis-

SAO PAULO — October 30 election marks a remarkable return to the presidency for socialist Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, and spells defeat for the sitting president, the "Trump-like" Jair Bolsonaro. And yet, October 30 also is the beginning of a period of political cohabitation between two fierce opponents.

Cohabitation is not an uncommon situation in certain parliamentary systems, though Brazil may lack the necessary shock absorbers found in other democracies. This will be Lula da Silva's third presidential term — a historic feat for the former union leader who was jailed just four years ago over the corruption scandals that stained his earlier presidencies.

Lula, the leader of the PT or Workers Party, should not however be complacent. His victory margin was notably narrow, which can be interpreted as a reward of sorts for the achievements of his earlier administrations, and a rebuke — though not as sharp as some had hoped — for Bolsonaro's antics.

It also remains to be seen how the handover of power will play out, with Bolsonaro still not publicly conceding defeat the day after final results came in.

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Race, The Great Unspoken Issue In Brazil’s Elections

Brazil is the country outside Africa with the largest black population. However, blacks have been shut out of Brazilian politics for generations. This month’s Congressional elections showed some signs of getting better, but it could also get much worse with another Bolsonaro victory.

Damazio Santana dos Santos, known as Mazo, was running for Congress in Brazil when his house was sprayed with the words Fique na senzala: “stay in the slave quarters.”

For the 43 years-old candidate from the northeast region of Bahia, the September 20 attack was not the first time he’d been targeted, having received multiple racist calls complaining about his candidacy. “I've been through so much in my life that I'm kind of num to it. I can handle it,” he told O Globo daily. “Now imagine someone who can't handle that. For that, it’s important to continue running for office, since many in our society do not want to see black people in a space where they think we don’t belong.”

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Geopolitics
Rosendo Fraga

Brazil, The Next Election With Democracy Itself At Stake

Brazilians head to the polls this week in a runoff between leftist Lula and the far-right Bolsonaro. The elections will have far-reaching consequences for Latin America, and perhaps even the Western world.

BUENOS AIRES — The outcome of Brazil's presidential election on Sunday will of course have a major impact in the region: Brazil has by far the largest population in Latin America, and trails only the United States in the Western hemisphere. But the reverberations will also be felt around the world, and not only for the country's size.

A victory for the socialist candidate Luis Inácio Lula da Silva will confirm the trend in Latin America of the "progressive" Left's return to the countries it governed in the first decade of the 21st century. But another term for the sitting president, the radical right-winger Jair Bolsonaro, may kill off this revival and strengthen the right's electoral prospects across the region. In recent elections in Peru, Colombia and Chile, conservative candidates made it to hard-fought runoffs against their leftist rivals.

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In The News
Sophia Constantino, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin and Renate Mattar

Putin Accelerates Arms Output, Iran Blacklists, Indian Eclipse

👋 Ki kati!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Putin is cutting red tape to speed up weapons production, Iran bans EU officials and media for “inciting terrorism,” and turtles are louder than we thought. Meanwhile, ahead of Brazil’s election on Sunday, Lisbon-based news website Mensagem reports on those from the Brazilian LGBTQ+ community who fled to Portugal when Bolsonaro was first elected four years ago.

[*Chi kati - Luganda, Uganda]

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LGBTQ Plus
João Damião

For LGBTQ+ Who Fled Bolsonaro’s Brazil, The Fear Of “Homophobe President” Winning Again

Portugal became a refuge for the Brazilian LGBTQ+ community who faced real danger following Jair Bolsonaro's victory four years ago. Some of those who left say that if Lula beats the right-wing incumbent in Sunday's presidential election, they would move back home.

LISBON — Nanny Aguiar sought in Lisbon the security that Jair Bolsonaro took away. Whenever she plays the violin or performs at Palácio do Grilo, in Xabregas, a neighborhood in the east of the city centre, Aguiar is reminded of everything she felt that October night five years ago. That night she lit candles in her house and made the decision to leave behind Recife the coastal Brazilian city where she was born 30 years earlier, and move to Lisbon.

That night of Oct. 22, 2018, Jair Bolsonaro emerged victorious in the presidential elections, with 64% of the votes in the second round. The life of Aguiar and Brazil’s entire LGBTQ+ community would never be the same.

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

Despite living in a different city, Aguiar never changed her polling station, in the extreme south of Recife, near her mother’s house away. “It was an excuse to spend another Sunday with her”, She says, laughing. “That day, I voted, had lunch with my mother and only came home that night.”

It was on the return journey, by car, that reality hit her. “This guy did not appear from nowhere in 2018, we had known for a long time who Bolsonaro was: a racist and homophobe. The problem is, he was a joke. No one ten years ago thought that someone like that could legitimately be in power.”

For nearly four years, the man residing in the presidential palace in Brasilia makes statements like “having a gay child is a lack of beating” or “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual child. I'd rather my child die in an accident.”

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In The News
Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin And Sophia Constantino

New Monday Morning Assault On Ukraine Cities, Nigeria Floods Toll At 600, Billions Of Crabs Vanish

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Monday, where Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities wake up under air strikes for the second consecutive week, Xi Jinping gives no ground at China’s Communist Party Congress and seven billion crabs have gone missing. Meanwhile, Christoph B. Schiltz in German daily Die Welt says it would be a mistake to think Putin is cornered, noting four distinct options he has to try to regain the upper hand in Ukraine.

[*Swedish]

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Society
Rubens Valente

Why Brazil Is Excavating An Infamous Torture Center 40 Years Later

As the country gears up for a politically-charged run-off election, a team of archaeologists, historians and forensics experts are set to excavate the grounds and buildings of one of the worst torture centers in São Paulo, trying to recover the country's painful history of torture during the military regime.

In 1964, the Brazilian Armed Forces carried out a coup, with support from the United States government, and installed a dictatorship that lasted for over 20 years. Although free elections returned to the country in the 1980s and a new constitution was approved in 1988, Brazil has lagged other South American countries when it comes to reconciling itself with the aftermaths of the dictatorship.

Challenging the crimes of the military elites is portrayed as a “leftist” cause in Brazil. Right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has even celebrated — on several occasions, including during the Congress session that voted to impeach former president Dilma Rousseff — the torture that was committed by the regime.

In contrast, countries like Argentina and Chile have made big strides in reckoning with their bloody past and prosecuting members of the military juntas.

SÂO PAULO — For the first time, an archaeological, historical and forensic project in Brazil intends to excavate the grounds and buildings of the former headquarters of a DOI-CODI (Department of Information Operations - Center for Internal Defense Operations), the much feared intelligence agency that carried out violent political repression during Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985).

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Geopolitics
Marcelo Cantelmi

What Lula Needs Now To Win: Move To The Center And Mea Culpa

Despite the leftist candidate's first-place finish, the voter mood in Brazil's presidential campaign is clearly conservative. So Lula will have to move clearly to the political center to vanquish the divisive but still popular Jair Bolsonaro. He also needs to send a message of contrition to skeptical voters about past mistakes.

-Analysis-

The first round of Brazil's presidential elections closed with two winners, a novelty but not necessarily a political surprise.

Leftist candidate and former president, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, was clearly the winner. His victory came on the back of the successes of his two previous administrations (2003-2011), kept alive today by the harsh reality that large swathes of Brazilians see no real future for themselves.

Lula, the head of the Workers Party or PT, also moved a tad toward the political Center in a bid to seduce middle-class voters, with some success. Another factor in his first-round success was a decisive vote cast against the current government, though this was less considerable than anticipated.

The other big winner of the day was the sitting president, Jair Bolsonaro. For many voters, his defects turn out to be virtues. They were little concerned by his bombastic declarations, his authoritarian bent, contempt for modernity, his retrograde views on gender and his painful management of the pandemic. They do not believe in Lula, and envisage no other alternative.

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In The News
Chloé Touchard, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Brazil Runoff, More Ukraine Gains, Iran Protests Go Global

👋 Bok!*

Welcome to Monday, where Brazil’s presidential elections go to a runoff, Indonesia launches a probe into a tragic stampede that left at least 125 dead in a soccer stadium, and the Nobel prize season starts with the medicine award. Meanwhile, Die Welt’s Stefan Schocher reports from a village just a few kilometers from what is now the Ukraine-Russia “border” in Putin's eyes.

[*Croatian]

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Geopolitics
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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