Democracy and rights
Brazil has a functioning electoral system and an
active civil society. Freedom of the press and speech is
guaranteed in the constitution and the media landscape
is versatile. However, corruption is a serious problem,
as is the crime of violence.
Democracy is relatively healthy in Brazil in terms of
political diversity, electoral processes and civil
rights. But the problems are major with regard to
corruption, which in recent years has been shown to have
strong attachment at the highest level in both politics
and business (see Current policy).
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Brazil, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
In Transparency International's (TI) ranking of
corruption in the world, Brazil is ranked 101 out of 180
countries (see ranking list here). TI points to problems
throughout the region with political leaders acting in
self-interest at the expense of citizens of the country.
The bribery scandal surrounding Brazilian construction
giant Odebrecht is described as one of the biggest
corruption scandals in world history (see Current
Policy). Odebrecht has acknowledged that the company has
paid $ 1 billion in bribes over 15 years in more than
ten Latin American countries.
In terms of the rule of law, Brazil is roughly in the
middle, both globally and regionally, and in comparison
with other countries that are also classified as "upper
middle income countries". Factors that drag down
Brazil's ranking are security and criminal justice
deficiencies - areas where organized crime, violent
crime and police brutality work together.
Voters' anger over corruption and violence - as well
as poverty and inequality - were, according to analysts,
contributing to the radical right-wing populist Jair
Bolsonaro winning the 2018 presidential election. and
advocates hard to maintain law and order (see further
Current Policy). It is in line with a trend of growing
anti-liberal movement in both Europe and the US.
Violent crime is a difficult problem. Nearly 64,000
people were murdered in 2017 (see also Social
conditions). The victims are largely young and around
two-thirds are Afro-Brazilians.
Freedom of expression and media
Freedom of the press in Brazil was strengthened under
the Labor Party's rule of 2003. Hard punishment for
slander was abolished. As late as 2009, the press law
introduced in 1967 was completely withdrawn during the
military dictatorship (see Modern History). In the media
there is a lively debate on political and social issues.
However, courts can still censor corruption watchers
or power-critical bloggers. In addition, violence or
threat of violence affects journalists who write about
corruption, organized crime or death patrols. Murders of
journalists also occur. Local politicians or local
police have been behind some of the killings, but
several are unresolved. Brazil is one of the more
violent countries in Latin America for journalists.
There are no mechanisms for protection and the impunity
is widespread. Journalists are subjected to great
pressure to reveal their sources and many obscure
reporters have ended up in legal proceedings.
In 2020, Brazil ranked 107th out of 180 countries in
Reporters Without Borders index of press freedom in the
world (see ranking list here).
Media ownership is highly concentrated, including to
large industrial families who often have close ties to
the political class. For example, the dominant and
influential Globo conglomerate has run political
campaigns and sponsored presidential candidates. In
connection with the change of power in January 2019,
concerns about media freedom increased. Both Human
Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders reported that
threats and physical attacks on journalists have
increased following the election of Jair Bolsonaro as
president. During the election campaign, he explicitly
threatened to include state advertising in media that
dislikes him, and pointed out, among other things, the
country's largest newspaper Fôlha de São Paulo. Among
other things, the newspaper had reported an illegal
social media campaign against Bolsonaro's opponents in
the election. The campaign was valued at over $ 3
million, but the money was never reported to the
Judicial system and legal security
The judiciary is largely independent, although there
are problems with external influences and harassment,
not least in the countryside. Many times the legal
system works poorly with long waiting times when the
legal cases are often high. There is a lack of judges
and low wages pave the way for corruption. The death
penalty has been abolished.
The police are badly corrupt and according to Amnesty
International, there is routine torture of detainees,
prisoners and prisoners at youth institutions. Despite
laws against torture, perpetrators are rarely punished.
Conditions are miserable in many overcrowded prisons.
The number of inmates is twice as large as what the
prisons are built for. The authorities often have
limited control inside prisons where extreme violence
occurs, often linked to gang conflicts. Prison riots are
common, sometimes with dozens of deaths as a result.
Both on arrest and in custody, suspected criminals die,
often without investigating the deaths.
Police have also been hired by businessmen to "clean
in the slums" and thousands of street children have been
murdered. Few such massacres or other murders performed
by death patrols with ties to security forces have been
cleared. Environmental activists, peasants and
indigenous peoples in the fight for land rights have
been beaten by police and, in some cases, killed by
military police or hired killers. Villages have been
burned and women raped.
Death threats and murders are used against human
rights activists and persons who reported abuse or
testified against police officers. Demonstrations
against the abuse are not infrequently beaten down by
police or military police.
Truth Commission after military rule
There is a national secretariat for human rights, and
the government is trying to prevent torture. In the fall
of 2011, a Truth Commission was appointed which was
commissioned to investigate human rights violations from
1946 to 1988, which includes the period of military rule
from 1964 to 1985. The Commission, which submitted its
final report in December 2014, concluded that torture,
executions and "disappearances" were systematically used
under military rule. Over 400 people lost their lives
and thousands were tortured, the commission said,
calling on the military to recognize its responsibility
for the "serious abuses" committed.
The report identified 377 people who were guilty of
human rights violations, of which around 100 were
estimated to be alive. According to the Commission, they
should be brought to trial, despite a 1979 amnesty which
means that neither military nor former guerrillas can be
prosecuted for acts of violence during the dictatorship.
The Commission considered that the crimes were so
serious that they should nevertheless be tried in court.
President Bolsonaro has seriously questioned the
Truth Commission's conclusions, and in August 2019 he
appointed a new commission to investigate abuses during
the dictatorship. The new Commission consists of two
military officers as well as two members of Congress who
belong to his own party PSL.
Rousseff wins the presidential election
In the second round of the presidential election, the Labor Party's Dilma
Rousseff wins by 54 percent against 44 for José Serra of the PSDB.
Congressional elections and the first round of presidential elections
In the congressional elections, the eleven parties in the government
coalition secure a majority in both chambers. The Labor Party (PT) is taking the
place as the largest single party in the Chamber of Deputies from the allied
PMDB, which is now the second largest. The Lulatrogne parties receive a total of
359 of 513 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. In the first round of the
presidential election, the Labor Party's Dilma Rousseff gets 47 percent of the
vote, PSDB's José Serra 33 percent and environmentalist Marina Silva 19 percent.
The election had long seemed to be a walking victory already in the first round
of elections for Dilma Rousseff. However, a week before the election, a
political scandal began to roll up within the Labor Party. In addition, the
defunct former Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva, received surprisingly
Lula among the world's most influential
The American magazine Time appoints Brazil's President Lula da Silva, former
US President Bill Clinton and American singer Lady Gaga as the world's most
influential people. Lula is praised for her efforts in social justice and
HD stops amnesia
The Supreme Court votes with the numbers 7–2 against a proposal to amend the
Amnesty Act of 1979 that prevents prosecution for acts of violence and abuse
during the 1964–1985 dictatorship.