Power

How Bolsonaro endangers Brazil’s historical heritage

Under Jair Bolsonaro, Iphan's strategic positions have been occupied by people with religious affiliations but little to no experience in heritage protection policies

How Bolsonaro endangers Brazil's historical heritage
President Jair Bolsonaro has shown complete disregard for Brazil’s historical heritage sites. Photo: Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress

President Jair Bolsonaro admitted to having fired members of Iphan, Brazil’s National Institute of Historic Heritage, during a December 2021 meeting with members of the São Paulo business community. He did so because they blocked a friend’s construction. The president added that he hadn’t heard of Iphan before his mate ran into problems.

The Bolsonaro administration is not the first to prioritize economic interests of allies over rules concerning heritage sites. However, attacks against Iphan have hit new heights over the past three years. To the point where the heritage institute heads are cashing in on ways to circumvent...

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