This is a big ass post, so here is a small summary:
This is part 1 (yes there will be more) of me explaining some things about Brazil. Today I'll talk about it's recent history, from the US-backed dictatorship in 64 to the end of Dilma's government in 2016 and also about other important things, like our police force.
2022 elections, Imperialism, Bolsonaro's election, Brazilian communists strategies for achieving revolution and anything after Dilma's impeachment will be in future posts. Hope you like it!
The pic is of protesters for and against Dilma's impeachment in 2016
#WHAT IS GOING ON?
This year is an important year for Brazil. It's election year! And although electoralism is doomed to failure, it still is an important moment for discussing certain policies and radicalize the working class.
But before we talk about the elections, the key players and the political strategies of each group, we have to understand it's context and why this is a critical year for us.
I also hope that this helps you in your analysis of your country and maybe will help us understand better how the right wing is behaving worldwide and hopefully help us formulate strategies to counter them.
#THE MILITARY DICTATORSHIP
Back in the 60's, [João Goulart](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo%C3%A3o_Goulart) became the president after [Jânio Quadros](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%A2nio_Quadros) renounced. Goulart, a social democrat, tried to implement several basic reforms with the objective of overcoming Brazilian underdevelopment, one of them being the agrarian reform. He was denounced as a communist and deposed on April 1, 1964, in a [US-backed coup d'état by the Brazilian military](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1964_Brazilian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat).
In 2012, the [Comissão Nacional da Verdade](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Truth_Commission) (CNV), Nacional Truth Comission in portuguese, was created by president Dilma. It's mission was to investigate human rights violations during the dictatorship era, and it found out that 8 thousand natives were murdered (this is literal genocide btw), 6 thousand military officials were persecuted and at least 434 people were killed by the regime. These are the numbers in CNV final [report released in 2014](http://cnv.memoriasreveladas.gov.br/), 30 years after the end of the regime, but the number of dead people could be (and to be honest, really is) bigger than that. At least [1000 mortal remains need to be identified](https://www.dw.com/pt-br/mais-de-mil-ossadas-de-vala-aberta-na-ditadura-ainda-aguardam-idendificação/a-54812193). This is not even mentioning tortures and other human rights violations.
Still, no one was ever judged or responsibilized properly by these crimes, and the military refuses to acknowledge them properly, some even deny or downplay them.
The dictatorship "ended" in 1985 and liberal democracy returned in 1988. I wrote "ended" in quotes because it didn't really end, at least in my point of view. The main reason why the regime was installed in the first place was to stop the much needed reforms Goulart was doing, but this would harm the bourgeoisie interests, so in order to protect them, liberals, conservatives and other reactionary forces of the society supported this coup, that had anti-communism as one of it's foundations. Many comrades were tortured and murdered back then, the most famous one being Marighella. When the dictatorship ended, although we had a huge popular movement like "Diretas Já", it was ended by the people in power, in a handshake basically. All the power structure, all the institutions remained untouched in this transition. The television network [Rede Globo](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TV_Globo) is a great example of this. During the military regime, it cooperated with the dictatorship and became the gigantic monopoly that it is today, and this has never changed. Even after 1988, they constantly manipulate presidential debates, news and spread propaganda for agribusiness and other sectors of the bourgeoisie. (If you want to understand Globo better, there is an old but amazing documentary called "[Beyond Citizen Kane](https://youtu.be/Wg9EYgKwXoo)".)
Another important but often overlooked thing about the brazilian dictatorship is that it was used as a basis for building other military dictatorships in latin america, like in Chile and Argentina, and later would join in Operation Condor. They were essential for destroying communist movement in south america and bringing in american imperialism.
In 1980, [the Workers Party](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workers%27_Party_(Brazil)), Partido dos Trabalhadores or PT in portuguese, was founded by people who opposed the dictatorship. Initially, They were essential to defeat the dictatorship by organizing workers and protests all over the country. In 1989, Lula - one of the founder of the party and it's most known member - was PT's candidate in the first free elections of the new Brazilian democracy.
[Lula](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luiz_In%C3%A1cio_Lula_da_Silva) began his carrear in unions and in 86 he won a seat in the congress. He was extremely popular and many people believed he was going to win [89 elections](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Brazilian_presidential_election). But Globo presented an edited version of a debate between Lula and Collor (the other candidate) after the second round favoring Collor which many argue that influenced the elections. Collor won, and Lula would run for president in every election after that. Finally, in 2002, he was elected.
Lula government was a huge success, and he left the government with the highest approval rates ever registered in this country. He was also the first truly left wing government in it's history, even if his government was far from radical. During this time, social welfare programs like [bolsa família](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolsa_Fam%C3%ADlia) and [fome zero](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fome_Zero) were implemented and improved life conditions, lifting many people out of extreme poverty and hunger.
Unfortunately, real life is far from perfect and is full of contradictions, and these very contradictions would be partially responsible for the fall of PT. Lula and Dilma’s governments were class conciliation governments. During their tenure, several companies grew strong and some even became monopolies, such as [Cogna educational]( https://www.forbes.com/companies/kroton-educacional/?sh=c4be0a468e82) (previously called Kroton Educational). Cogna is the biggest company of its kind in the whole WORLD and operates in all kinds of educational levels, ranging from pre-school to post-graduation. It owns several private colleges in Brazil and it’s a good example on how Lula’s government operated.
The higher education in the country has always been discriminatory. Only the elites had access to it and so it was necessary to create public policies to allow more and more people to enter the college. So the government created Programa Universidade para Todos (University for All Program) or PROUNI, which, together with a previous program, the Fundo de Financiamento ao Estudante do Ensino Superior (Higher Education Student Financing Fund) or simply FIES, served to finance entry into universities for low-income people. PROUNI offers partial (50%) or full scholarships while FIES only divides the debt into smaller parts, which means that it will still be the student who will pay for the course. Thanks to these projects, college became something more accessible and popular. However, education companies also profited a lot and expanded. Kroton was one of them, which even bought other companies, becoming the giant that it is today. But the bourgeois beast's hunger for profit knows no bounds, and soon companies began to pressure the state to privatize the rest of the public universities and turn all public education into private. This is an ongoing process that gained momentum after the 2016 coup (more on this later).
Similar processes happened in different areas, (public transport, medical, agribusiness, etc) but overall the bourgeoisie can’t profit properly if you have decent public services, and their profits don’t grow forever, especially during crisis, whether political or economic.
These situations are NOT specific to Lula’s government – in fact, they are merely consequences of how capitalist countries work. Lula improved our life conditions a lot, fought directly against the dictatorship and, although he is not a radical anymore, his class conciliation government improved Brazil a lot and many people – communist included – have big respect for him. Lula left the government in 2010 with one of the biggest approval rates in the whole world.
#BRAZILIAN MILITARY POLICE
Before we move on, I think it's important to talk about something that I left out. Earlier I mentioned that the dictatorship “didn’t end” because many institutions and power structures of the time were kept intact. One of these was the [police force](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Police_(Brazil)). During the 90s, Brazil had several cases of police violence that shocked the country, the most famous being the
[Candelária massacre]( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candelária_massacre), when eight homeless people were murdered by cops next to a church, and the [Carandiru massacre](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carandiru_massacre), that happened after the police invaded a penitentiary following a prison riot and killed 111 prisoners. But these are just the worst cases,
the truth is, Brazil never stopped killing and torturing people - the difference is that instead of torturing white middle class students, they are now killing exclusively black, poor people.
This problem did NOT end during PT era, quite the [opposite](https://arte.folha.uol.com.br/graficos/xUIQu/). The number of people arrested only grew, there was not enough space for everyone in the prison facilities and the majority of the people arrested were poor black men. It was also during this era that initiatives such as UPP -
Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (Pacifying Police Units) were created. This programs was first implemented in Rio de Janeiro but inspired many other throughout the country. Basically, the idea was to counter drug dealers that terrorized the population and controlled favelas, but the result was a disaster, not only the drug dealers kept the control on certain territories, but the police brutality in these areas were off the charts. Growing up, it was common to see news about police incursions in favelas that ended up with 10+ deaths that the police claimed were all drug dealers but the population claimed otherwise.
As if things were not bad enough, Brazil also has a militia problem. During the cold war, US and France trained death squads to fight against communists and the practices learned would later be adopted by the militias. One group in special, Scuderie Detetive Le Cocq, had a member that was elected using the slogan “Bandido bom é bandido morto!” (A good thief is a dead thief). They operate to this day and still torture and kill people, but they also exploit the population of the areas they control, charging "taxes" on all local businesses, intimidating those who oppose them and killing rival factions such as drug dealers. These groups are also involved in the killings of socialists and human rights defenders, one recent example was the [assassination of Marielle Franco](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Marielle_Franco), a black, bisexual , socialist woman that was assisting people in the favelas and fighting against police brutality. Her death in 2018 impacted the Brazilian society and is surrounded by controversy, including a [possible involvement of the current president, Jair Bolsonaro](https://www-brasildefato-com-br.translate.goog/2022/03/14/relembre-fatos-que-ligam-bolsonaro-a-milicianos-do-caso-marielle-quem-mandou-matar-vereadora?_x_tr_sl=pt&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=pt-BR&_x_tr_pto=wapp).
#2013 - 2014 CRISIS
In 2010, [Dilma Rousseff](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilma_Rousseff) became the first woman to be Brazil’s president. She also fought against the dictatorship by joining Marxist guerrillas groups and was arrested and tortured. The fact that she was now the president was a big deal, even though she was no longer a Marxist. Dilma continued Lula’s class-conciliation policies. She had a good approval rate during her first term, Brazil’s economy was going well and the president implemented policies focusing on developing national industries. Unemployment was low and inflation was under control. Brazil was growing at lower rates compared to previous years, but it was still growing.
Unfortunately, problems started to arise. The economy growing at lower rates left the bourgeoisie discontented. In addition, the 2014 world cup would be in Brazil and it was necessary to carry out a series of infrastructure works to support the event. [Airports were privatized](https://web.archive.org/web/20110106144647/http://www.copa2014.org.br/noticias/6012/GOVERNO+DILMA+VAI+PRIVATIZAR+AEROPORTOS+PAULISTAS+DIZ+JORNAL.html) to accelerate this process and several other partnerships between the government and private companies were made to modify public transportation, stadiums and basic infrastructure.
Public services, such as transportation, education and healthcare had definitely improved in the last 10 years, but were extremely precarious. So when the government started building things for the world cup, part of the population was dissatisfied.In June 2013, mainly due to high bus fares that would rise even more, protests spread across the country. It was the beginning of the "Jornadas de Junho", a series of protests led mainly by MPL or Movimento Passe Livre (Free Fare Movement) in several cities with the majority of the protestors being young Brazilians. They were characterized by a certain distrust of representatives of the institutional order such as parties and unions (under the control of PT back then), upheld values such as horizontality and non-partisanship and ultimately, represented a rupture with the left that PT represented. The mobilizations were not "controlled" and behaved parades we were used to, they used direct action and black block tactics which resulted in buses being destroyed and burned. These demonstrations were met with brutal repression by the police, which only intensified the protests.
It was a turning point. It could have been the rise of far-left in Brazil, but it didn't happen. The media monopolies such as Globo tried to ignore and downplay it but it was impossible, so they started to co-opt it. The movement lost it focus on public transportation and started to advocate for better healthcare, better education and less corruption. It was common to see signs written "Não vai ter copa!" (There will be no World Cup!) and "Queremos hospitais padrão FIFA!" (We want FIFA-standard hospitals).
So it is clear that initially, these protests were left-leaning, but things started to change. It became more and more common to see people denouncing black block activists, trying to conciliate with cops and displaying Brazil flags around. Some even started claiming they wanted the return of the military dictatorship. The far-right was co-opting the movement.
The 2014 elections were tense, but Dilma managed to win against her opponent, Aécio Neves. a right wing candidate. He claimed the elections were frauded, even though he knew they weren't. In the end of 2014, a new political group was created: MBL or Movimento Brasil Livre (Free Brazil Movement). These young Brazilians for "political renovation" and "party-independence" but it nothing more than the good old economic liberalism overall coupled with socially conservative views. Their agitation relied heavily in memes and had an internet-like aesthetics. Keep these guys in mind.
Political polarization only grew in Brazil and in 2015 we entered an actual economic crisis, which was not good. Inflation was rising, the GDP fell, unemployment was rising and the public debt was also growing.All this meant the bourgeoisie profit rate was falling too, so they started an offensive against the population: labor rights reductions, intensification of liberal policies such as privatizations, destructions of state-owned enterprises and much more. But they had one problem: Dilma, whose government, although not revolutionary, was far from the reactionary one the bourgeois needed. So they need to bring her down.
#2016 DILMA'S IMPEACHMENT
Corruption has always been a problem in Brazil, (in fact, it has always been a problem in every capitalist country ever). But after 2013 and 2014, corruption became one of the main topics of the country and an anti-corruption operation started: [Operação Lava Jato](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Car_Wash) (Operation Car Wash). This operation lasted until 2021, condemned more than 100 people and helped shaped political landscape like nothing else. This was an direct attack of the bourgeoisie and American imperialism on the Brazilian working class, and we will discuss this more in depth later. For now, it is important to know that corruption was a hot topic and that's exactly what they would try to use against Dilma.
There is an economic policy that has been used by almost all Brazilian presidents called "[pedalada fiscal](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiscal_pedaling)".. I won't get in detail here, not only because it is a bit complicated but because what matters is that this has been extensively used in Brazil, including by Dilma. Her impeachment was based on the claim that such policy is illegal and goes against the constitution, a.k.a. her impeachment was bullshit and this was actually a coup d'etat.
The voting section was broadcasted live for the entire country and it was really fucking cringe. It doesn't matter if you're left wing, right wing, or an enlightened centrist, everyone watching that circus was dying inside. Politicians would come to vote and say shit like "For my family, for my son who has 2 years old and my wife whom I love so much [etc etc], for God and the for the pride of our nation, I vote yes!". Glauber Braga, a leftists from the party for socialism and liberty (PSOL), was a highlight, calling Sérgio Moro - the judge responsible for the Operation Car Wash - a thief and voting against the impeachment. But one person in that section did something extremely deranged. Not cringe, not funny, just straight up Nazi shit. He went to center of the room and said: ["For the memory of Colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, the terror of Dilma Rousseff, for the army of Caxias, for the Armed Forces, for Brazil above all and for God above all, my vote is yes"](https://www-bbc-com.translate.goog/portuguese/noticias/2016/04/160415_bolsonaro_ongs_oab_mdb?_x_tr_sl=pt&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=pt-BR&_x_tr_pto=wapp).
Although he was already a meme in the internet for a while and some fascists loved him, no one took him seriously and most of the Brazilians didn't even knew him. This was the moment most Brazilians met Bolsonaro, right after he praised one of the torturers that was responsible for torturing Dilma. It was just a preview of what was about to come.
That's it for today. In the next post I'll continue right after the 2016 coup and I'll also talk about recent imperialist activity. Please tell me if it's hard to read because of shitty/weird english, this is not my first language and the only way for me to improve is to know where I made a mistake.
- The CIA: A forgotten history - William Blum, page 181-191