Latin America’s New Turbulence: Crisis and Integrity in Brazil

Issue Date April 2016
Volume 27
Issue 2
Page Numbers 50-65
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For Brazil’s young democracy, this might seem to be the worst of times. The country’s once-booming economy has taken a nosedive along with global commodity prices; a monster public-corruption scandal is engulfing much of the political class and infuriating millions of ordinary Brazilians; and a president who barely won reelection only to abandon her basic fiscal-policy approach now teeters on the brink of impeachment and expulsion from office. Yet these storm clouds have a silver lining. For, grave as they are, they have put on vivid display the strength, independence, and public trust enjoyed by the country’s web of judicial and public-accountability institutions and attested to the free and energetic nature of the media in a country that only three decades ago was held under lockdown by a military dictatorship. Politics and the economy are in a crisis, but looking beneath the turmoil we can glimpse the power of the rule of law and see Brazilian constitutional democracy’s institutional resilience and fortitude.

About the Author

Marcus André Melo is professor of political science at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil. He is the author (with Carlos Pereira) of Making Brazil Work: Checking the President in a Multiparty System (2013).

View all work by Marcus André Melo