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Brazil: Politics, human rights, authoritarianism and business: dangerous relations?

“Brazil: Politics, human rights, authoritarianism and business: dangerous relations?”, 10 October 2018

[To read this blog in Portuguese, please click here]

...Political analysts, including foreigners, are in agreement that, in addition to being polarised, these elections are marked by political violence and fake news.…Administrators, for example, of Women United Against Bolsonaro (Mulheres Contra Bolsonaro)…were threatened, their data hacked and one of them was physically attacked. An expert on human rights and the Internet says that Facebook did not take sufficient measures regarding the attack. The group that called for democracy "Democracia Sim" also suffered attacks. But this is also the year in which Brazilian women returned to the streets, leading the biggest protests organized by women in the country's history, in which they reaffirmed their voice nationally and internationally to say #nothim , #himnever, #democraciasim, in allusion to the authoritarian character of Bolsonaro, who is a retired military man, an evangelical, staunch defender of the military dictatorship, and whose recurrent discourse is that it is necessary to arm the population and use violence to solve problems of public security…The candidate leads the polls, has won the first round, and his victory would intensify secular oppression every day, putting human rights and the country's already fragile democracy at risk…And what is the role of companies in this context? Unfortunately much of the private sector in Brazil is too close to the State. The Economist affirms that Bolsonaro puts the Brazilian democracy at risk. But business owners like the construction company Tecnisa, the restaurant Coco Bambu, Havan department store, the Centauro network of sportswear retailers, Victor Vicenzza shoes, the Rural Democratic Union (UDR), which brings together large landowners, and Artefacto Móveis e Tecidos have declared support to Bolsonaro. Some have given significant donations to his campaign…[M]any examples of relationships that endanger human rights. There are many complaints that landowners are lobbying for policies that favour them to be adopted: Amazon Watch's report addresses, for example, the relationship of favouritism between Congress members of the ruralist (landowner) group and 112 American and European companies. There are many articles that mention agrarian groups encouraging deforestation on indigenous lands or the “Bible, beef and bullets” caucus (Bancada da Bíblia, do Boi e da Bala"), whose authoritarian candidate mentioned above is one of its exponents, trying to stop demarcation of indigenous lands to favour agribusiness…Women show the way. Let's go with them…We cannot lose the ability to listen to each other, to participate, to speak, to decide, to respect, to protest.

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