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Geopolitics

Have No Doubt: Bolsonaro's Fingerprints Are All Over The Brasilia Assault

Emulating the Trump-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, the assault of a right-wing mob on government buildings in Brasilia took its cue from former president Bolsonaro's longstanding contempt for democratic institutions.

Photo of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro at Mar a Lago resort in Florida on March 7, 2020​

Back when Trump and Bolsonaro were presidents, at a dinner at Trump's Mar a Lago resort in Florida on March 7, 2020.

Alan Santos/President Brazil/Planet Pix/ZUMA Wire

-Editorial-

In defeat, authoritarianism is unable to reflect, let alone peacefully hand over power. In Brazil, we have just seen the sadly predictable consequences of years of questioning the legitimacy of elections and their institutional guarantors by the departing right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro.

In an echo of events in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, thousands of Bolsonaro's supporters stormed the premises of Brazil's Congress, Supreme Court and the offices of his duly-elected successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The similarity with the assault on the U.S. Capitol after the Trump presidency is no coincidence.

Fascist-style regimes copy each other's clumsy, violent and painful methods.


The result is a recurring threat to democracy worldwide.

Power of lies

You could see this one coming. From the first round of voting, won by Lula, supporters of Bolsonaro began filling social media and especially Instagram with claims of fraud. Lula, they claimed, could only have cheated his way to victory.

His team accepted the results — but not Bolsonaro, who kept silent.

Two weeks after the first round, the sitting president said he distrusted the electoral system, repeating without proof that he was about to be robbed of reelection. When he lost the second round, his team accepted the results — but not Bolsonaro, who kept silent. Just days ago, in a farewell speech to Brazilians before leaving for the United States, he said he lacked the support needed "to do something." In other words, he couldn't find a way to overturn the results.

All these lies had their effect. Firstly, Bolsonaro's supporters blocked the country's main highways for weeks. Then they turned to vandalism on Lula's inauguration day. A bomb was found at Brasilia's airport over Christmas.

Then, on Sunday, more than 100 buses arrived at the capital, ostensibly for a peaceful protest - which soon turned into mayhem. Footage showed people trashing public buildings, attacking the few policemen standing on duty and displaying messages demanding a military intervention. Some protesters raised the flag of the Brazilian empire.

photo of a women supporting former Brazilian President Bolsonaro and wearing a Brazilian flag as a cap is crying as she is escorted out a of camp of Bolsonaro supporters and walks in the middle of policemen on horses

A supporter of former Brazilian President Bolsonaro cries during the eviction of a camp of Bolsonaro supporters on Monday in Brasilia.

Isabella Finholdt/dpa/ZUMA Press

Evasion and euphemisms 

Erick Bang reported on the local network GloboNews, that this amounted to a "terrorist attack. The three buildings have been invaded by terrorists who want a coup."

The head of the pro-Bolsonaro Liberal Party, Valdemar Costa Neto, was also clear: "This is a sad day for the Brazilian nation. We do not agree with the destruction of Congress. Disorder has never been one of the nation's principles. We vehemently reject this type of attitude and want the application of the law to strengthen our democracy." Bolsonaro reacted to the incident in more evasive and euphemistic terms.

We can see, again, what happens when political leaders smash democracy's basic pacts for selfish ends. The problem now is that violence will continue in a Brazil facing a deep societal crisis.

But make no mistake, it all happened because Bolsonaro made verbal violence an integral part of his campaign.

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Society

Why Dior's Frida Kahlo Show Was So Offensive To Victims Of Gender Violence

Dior recently tried to fight gender violence in Mexico City, in a catwalk inspired by late artist icon Frida Kahlo. However, this took place in the form of an elitist show, with hollow slogans and no real action.

A woman in a white dress with red embroidery walks a catwalk in the rain

The Mexican-feminism inspired part of the Dior Cruise 2024 collection

Catalina Ruiz-Navarro

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ — Dior's fashion show last month in Mexico City revived a longstanding debate on whether or not fashion can be political, and even at times feminist.

The collection shown at the San Ildefonso palace was, according to Dior's first ever female head, María Grazia Chiuri, inspired by Mexico's iconic 20th century painter, Frida Kahlo. This isn't bad per se, though it is a little clichéd by now, especially if Frida is to be the only cultural reference abroad for Mexico.

Some of the dresses were near replicas of those she wore in the 1920s and 30s, of traditional huipil gowns one finds in market stalls or of the tight, charro jackets worn by Mariachi bands hired at parties, though probably more finely cut. This alone would have constituted an acceptable though not outstanding collection of designs, conveying Dior's superficial and unremarkable vision of a nation's arts and crafts.

But things became a little complicated in the last parade, when several models walked on wearing white cotton dresses and red shoes, in an allusion to works by Elina Chauvet, an artist from the northern state of Chihuahua.

In 2009, Chauvet collected shoes donated by members of the public, and painted them red for an installation exploring the distressing phenomenon of femicides in Ciudad Juárez, her state. The reference here was trivial if not meaningless, as nothing was donated, there was no collective effort or mobilization, nor any commemoration of the women and girls murdered in Juárez.

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