Brazil’s prison crisis

This first week of January has seen two massacres of inmates in Brazilian prisons. The first took place in Manaus. Fifty-six inmates died, the highest number to be killed since the Carandiru prison complex massacre in São Paulo in 1992. But in that latter case it was the police who did the killing. In Manaus … Continue reading Brazil’s prison crisis

Calling police to account in Bairro da Paz

This post is mostly about a recent event in a community in Salvador, the capital city of the state of Bahia, which I began to study in 2006. Bairro da Paz is an irregular settlement with a population of 60,000 residents, formed by a land invasion during the last years of military rule. The remarkable … Continue reading Calling police to account in Bairro da Paz

The Olympics and Rio’s crisis

The interim federal government headed by Michel Temer of the PMDB has now responded to the declaration of a state of financial catastrophe by the heavily indebted state government of Rio de Janeiro, which has been in the hands of the PMDB since 2003. It has provided a 2.9 billion reais emergency cash injection. This … Continue reading The Olympics and Rio’s crisis

The left fails in Spain

Yesterday's general election in Spain has delivered a very different result to that predicted by the polls, although it is less surprising that it has replicated the indecisive result of last year. The election not only failed to deliver any single party a majority, but once again made the formation of any government dependent on … Continue reading The left fails in Spain

Yes it can get worse

Brazil's interim president, Michel Temer, has named André Moura, of the Social Christian Party, the government's leader in the lower house of the Brazilian congress. Those unfamiliar with the Brazilian political process might be puzzled by this choice. The PSC is a tiny, although often scandalously vocal, force on the extreme right of the political … Continue reading Yes it can get worse

The week of the coup

During most of this week I have been in Campos, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, participating in a very interesting event organised by Rodrigo Monteiro and his colleagues at the Universidade Federal Fluminense. My talk was given in a final session on "Conflict, Public Space and Securitization", held in the evening of May … Continue reading The week of the coup

The Brazilian STF and Eduardo Cunha

This morning the supreme court judge responsible for overseeing the Lava Jato investigation ordered the suspension of the PMDB's Eduardo Cunha from his mandate and from his position as president of the chamber of deputies. This decision was ratified in a plenary session later in the day. Cunha, whose patronage powers have won him an … Continue reading The Brazilian STF and Eduardo Cunha

The coup unfolds

On Wednesday, three supreme court judges publicly scolded President Dilma Rousseff for describing the impeachment vote in the house of deputies as a coup. They were Celso de Mello, Dias Toffoli, and, no surprise, Gilmar Mendes. The judges' grounds for attacking the "very grave mistake" of the President were that the congress has respected the … Continue reading The coup unfolds

The Observer view on Brazil

Yesterday the British Observer newspaper (the Sunday version of The Guardian newspaper) published an editorial on the Brazilian crisis that reached the following conclusion: Democracy in Brazil, restored in 1985 after 20 years of military dictatorship, is not such a robust plant that it could not be uprooted afresh by a combination of wholesale political failure … Continue reading The Observer view on Brazil

Lawfare continues

Supreme Court judge Gilmar Mendes has suspended Lula's nomination as Chief of Staff and returned his case to the jurisdiction of Sergio Mora. Who is Gilmar Mendes? Appointed to the supreme court by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Mendes provoked controversy by apparently protecting the financier Daniel Dantas, under investigation by the Federal Police for money laundering. … Continue reading Lawfare continues