Recent crises in Latin America show how the Armed Forces remain key power brokers in the democratic game. But using the Army as a legitimizing force brings back old demons from Latin America’s not-so-distant past—when most of the region was ruled by military dictatorships. And this puts civilian leaders in an immensely fragile position. “Military coups are still hard to achieve in Latin America, but we are worried that could change, Harvard professor Steven Levitsky told editor-in-chief Gustavo Ribeiro.
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On this episode:
- Steven Levitsky is a political scientist and Harvard professor. He co-wrote the best-selling book “How Democracies Die,” about how elected leaders can gradually subvert the democratic process to increase their power.
- Christoph Harig holds a Ph.D. in Security Studies from King’s College London and is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of the German Armed Forces in Hamburg. He studies civil-military relations and military sociology.
- In our Weekly Report, we talked about how generals remain the ultimate power brokers in Latin America—casting a heavy shadow on the region’s feeble democratic institutions.
- Despite having risen to power through democratic means, Jair Bolsonaro represents risks for democracy, writes columnist Andre Pagliarini.
- Inequality and unfulfilled potential left Latin America’s veins as open as they’ve ever been. Listen to episode #83 of the Explaining Brazil podcast.
- Brazil’s public safety came to depend on its Armed Forces. In this piece, we explain the problem that reality entails.
- Jair Bolsonaro’s son—but also his Economy Minister—talked about reviving authoritarian instruments enacted by the dictatorship. More specifically, they talked about the infamous Institutional Act Number 5. We explain what it was.
- Steven Levitsky and Columbia researcher María Victoria Murillo wrote the op-ed “The Coup Temptation in Latin America” to The New York Times. Read it here.
Explaining Brazil is made by:
- Gustavo Ribeiro, editor in chief of The Brazilian Report. He has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de S.Paulo, Médiapart, and Radio France Internationale.
- Euan Marshall, editing. is a journalist and translator who has lived in São Paulo, Brazil since 2011. Specializing in Brazilian soccer, politics and the connection between the two, his work has been published in The Telegraph, Al Jazeera, The Independent, among others.
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