A tragedy that shames the Brazilian justice system

On the morning of October 2, the rector of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Professor Luiz Carlos Cancellier de Olivo, parked his car in the Beiramar Shopping Centre in Florianópolis. Shortly afterwards he committed suicide by leaping to his death from the top floor into the open central space of the building. Professor Cancillier … Continue reading A tragedy that shames the Brazilian justice system

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Trump: the end of all illusions?

The long-expected announcement, by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, of the end of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA, popularly known as the “Dreamers” program) sees Donald Trump delivering on an election pledge, sort of. No new applications will be accepted from young people who were brought to the country illegally before they reached … Continue reading Trump: the end of all illusions?

Crisis with elections, crisis without elections: Brazil versus the UK in June 2017

Both British and Brazilian democratic politics as usual are now in crisis. It may seem eccentric to make any kind of comparison between countries on different sides of the Atlantic in different hemispheres that have different histories and political systems. Yet it is worth beginning by reflecting on some issues that transcend these differences before … Continue reading Crisis with elections, crisis without elections: Brazil versus the UK in June 2017

Brazil’s new crisis

As I remarked in this blog at the beginning of the sequence of events that led to the ouster of President Dilma Rousseff, the supporters of the 2016 coup would be advised to think carefully about what they wished for. As the country sinks deeper into a crisis that now touches all its institutions, this … Continue reading Brazil’s new crisis

Fachin’s List: the end of political bias in the Brazilian coup?

Last Tuesday, Minister Edson Fachin, the Supreme Court judge responsible for the Lava Jato (Operation  Car Wash) investigations in Brazil, responded to the request from the Attorney General, Rodrigo Janot, to approve investigations by the Supreme Court into serving politicians implicated by the plea bargain testimony of the CEO and other executives of the Odebrecht … Continue reading Fachin’s List: the end of political bias in the Brazilian coup?

Does the Mexican government really want to make Dr. Mireles a martyr?

Dr. José Manuel Mireles Valverde was one of the original leaders of the autodefensa movement in Michoacán that played a central role in confronting the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel (for the history, see my book The New War on the Poor). He was the leading Mexican protagonist in the award-winning US documentary Cartel Land. Mireles … Continue reading Does the Mexican government really want to make Dr. Mireles a martyr?

Deepening crisis in Brazil

Yesterday afternoon a light plane carrying four passengers crashed into the sea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. One of the bodies recovered was that of Teori Zavascki, the Supreme Court judge responsible for oversight of the Operation Carwash (Lava Jato) corruption investigations and judgement of cases against politicians who, by virtue of currently … Continue reading Deepening crisis in Brazil

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

Postscript on the Brazilian coup

The legal farce of the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff is set to continue a little while longer. Her defence team has appealed to the Supreme Court for the decision of the Senate to be annulled and Michel Temer returned to his prior status as interim president pending a final decision. It is difficult to imagine … Continue reading Postscript on the Brazilian coup