Explaining Brazil #29: The state of Brazilian democracy

Since 2013, Brazil has lived under continuous political turmoil. First, a wave of protests swept the country, showing the political establishment just how much Brazilians wanted to change. In the following year, the Federal Police launched Operation Car Wash — which evolved into the biggest anti-corruption investigation in the history of Brazilian democracy — and has tarnished the reputations of all major political parties.

A couple of years ago, the political scenario was ideal for change according to some analysts. But we have seen the opposite of that. Congress altered electoral rules to favor big parties and establishment candidates. And we should expect one of the lowest levels of renewal in this upcoming election.

One of the side effects of that is a general lack of faith in Brazilian institutions. As we published in The Brazilian Report weeks ago, Brazil lives in an era of mistrust. We don’t trust the government, nor companies — we don’t even trust one another.

So, as Brazilians head to the polls in two and a half weeks, we’ve got to ask:

What’s the state of Brazilian democracy?

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On this podcast

Gustavo Ribeiro has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de São Paulo, Médiapart, and Radio France Internationale. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Abril Prize for outstanding political journalism. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

Filipe Campante is an Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He is interested in political economy, development economics, and urban/regional issues. His research looks at what constrains politicians and policymakers beyond formal checks and balances: cultural norms, institutions, media, political protest.

Diogo Rodriguez is a journalist and social scientist. He has contributed to publications such as Folha de S. Paulo, Estado de S. Paulo, Trip, Vida Simples, Galileu, Mundo Estranho, Exame, and Vice, among others. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in political science at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo.

Maria Martha Bruno edited this podcast. She is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has collaborated with Al Jazeera and CNN, among others, worked as a producer in Rio de Janeiro for NBC, and as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.

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