GIGA Forum

Brazil Moves to the Right




06:00 p.m. (UTC)


07:30 p.m. (UTC)

People at a demonstration by right-wing extremist supporters in Brazil
© Reuters / Nacho Doce

  • The glory days of Brazil’s economic boom and the World Cup are now forgotten. At the beginning of 2019, former military officer and right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro moved into the presidential palace. Protracted social, economic, and political crises and the increasing polarisation of political competition laid the ground for his successful election campaign, which was based on the slogan “Brazil above everything, God above everyone!” To date, the Bolsonaro government’s achievements have ranged from the liberalisation of the weapons laws to the dismantling of the social programmes established by the Worker’s Party. The deforestation of the Amazon has been resumed, to the benefit of the powerful agricultural lobby. Under Bolsonaro, Brazil has also changed direction on the international stage. The new foreign policy borrows ideologically from US president Donald Trump. For example, Brazil has left the camp of climate protectors and is repositioning itself on global migration and human rights policy.

    This GIGA Forum investigates the causes of the populist-authoritarian shift in Brazil and takes stock of government policy since Jair Bolsonaro took office. Kai Michael Kenkel (PUC-Rio) analyses Brazil’s domestic policy in light of the increasing societal polarisation. Daniel Flemes (GIGA) discusses the new government’s foreign policy and possible consequences for relations with Germany and Europe. Mariana Llanos (GIGA) comments on the presentations from a democratic theory perspective and taking into particular consideration the role of the Brazilian Congress.

    Panel: Dr. Daniel Flemes is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies and the editor of the GIGA Focus Latin America.

    Prof. Dr. Kai Michael Kenkel is a faculty member at the Institute of International Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and an associate of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies.

    Commentary: Dr. Mariana Llanos is a lead research fellow at the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies and the head of the “Accountability and Participation” research programme at the GIGA.

    Moderation: Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach is the acting director of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies.


    GIGA Hamburg, Hamburg




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