Paul Starr on Bolsonaro and the End of Brazilian Democracy

Written by
Brazil LAB
Oct. 12, 2018

In response to the results of the first round of Brazil's 2018 presidential election, Paul Starr, Stuart Professor of Communications and Public Policy and Professor of Sociology at Princeton and a friend of the Brazil LAB, published "Is Brazil about to Have Its Last Democratic Election?" in the policy magazine The American Prospect.  He questions if Brazil is about to have a "shutdown election," an election in which voters decide whether to put an end to democracy and turn towards authoritarianism. On October 28th, voters will decide whether to elect the far-right, openly illiberal candidate, Jair Bolsonaro. 

Bolsonaro's homophobic, misogynist, racist rhetoric is already inciting violence around Brazil but the recent IPCC report on climate change makes his anti-environmental stance especially troubling. He has vowed to open the Amazon to development by relaxing enforcement of Brazil's conservational regulations. In events last week, the Brazil LAB explored these issues with a screening of Amazonia Inc. by Estevão Ciavatta, which was followed by a discussion with Beto Veríssimo (Imazon), Fazal Sheikh (PEI/Princeton) and Eduardo Cadava (English/Princeton), highlighting the efforts of indigenous peoples to combat illegal deforestation and efforts by the Public Ministry to stop organized environmental crime; and a conversation with the environmentalist and social entrepreneur Tasso Azevedo about MapBiomas, an innovative open source tool to monitor land use change in Brazil and beyond.