With an election looming, can Brazil finally confront its injustices?

Published in the Open Democracy

By Robert Muggah

It was once fashionable to describe Brazil as the country of the future. What a difference half a decade makes. In recent years, a democratically elected president was stripped of power, and ultimately replaced by an authoritarian strongman. Today, Latin America’s largest country is suffering from a “triple crisis” – a raging pandemic, economic turmoil and political turbulence. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. So what accounts for Brazil’s malaise?

Brazil has a host of assets that should have set the country up for success. For one, it is a demographic giant: there are at least 210 million Brazilians, making it the sixth most populous country on the planet. Brazil is also an economic powerhouse. With a GDP of $1.8trn, it is the tenth-largest economy in the world. The country is also geographically vast, spanning 8.5 million km2 – the same as western Europe – and is home to 40% of the world’s tropical forests, 20% of its freshwater supply, and 10% of its biodiversity.

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