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Opinion: judicial dictatorship – the abuse of Brazilian courts against Bolsonaro and his supporters

By Lucas Ribeiro*

(Opinion) Brazil cannot be perceived and understood as a typical Western democracy in the eyes of international observers.

The distinguished journalist J. R. Guzzo explains in his text ‘Os devotos da ditadura’: “The judicial dictatorship imposed in Brazil by the Supreme Court STF in general, and by Justice Alexandre de Moraes in particular, is the biggest scandal ever recorded in the country’s political history.”

It clearly shows what has been happening in the largest Latin American nation.

However, the situation in Brazil today is worthy of Latin American fantasy realism and the most insane dystopias.

Lula da Silva meets with the Brazilian Supreme Court. Source Twitter.
Lula da Silva meets with the Brazilian Supreme Court. Source Twitter.

Absurdity is consolidating as normality, and our eyes and hearts are losing the capacity to perceive so much madness.

To understand this, it is necessary to remember the authoritarian actions that the Judiciary has been taking since Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019.

The Judiciary, which should be a restrained, reactive, and balanced power, began to act in an increasingly abusive, direct, politicized, and dictatorial manner since the beginning of Jair Bolsonaro’s government and has been consolidating itself as an instance that subjugates others.

This was especially clear during the pandemic.

THE ORIGIN OF THE JURISTOCRACY

The tragedy began with ‘Os inqueritos do fim do mundo’, perfectly described in the book compiled by the prosecutor Claudia Piovezan.

This book reveals, through highly qualified jurists, the state of exception in Brazil.

The Brazilian legal system, through the juristocrats (magistrates with almost divine powers), set up judicial inquiries to persecute journalists, politicians, activists, and other people of the political right through procedures in which they become judges, prosecutors, police chiefs, and victims at the same time.

Public Prosecutor Marcelo Rocha Monteiro explains, for example, that inquiry 4,781 is a “strange collection of illegalities: an investigation initiated neither by the police nor the Public Prosecutor’s Office, but by the Judiciary, which violates the accusatory system”.

Prosecutor Cleber Tavares Neto explains that this inquiry 4,781 is a “liquid and Orwellian” process.

Orwellian because it gives the feeling that we are all being watched by the Supreme Big Brother and liquid because “nobody knows how it will be exercised”.

“Chosen a target by a Justice of the Supreme Federal Court (STF), he communicates to the president of the investigation and can take any measure that seems legal to him,” says Tavares Neto.

He also says: “Before we were worried about exacerbated judicial activism, which even created crimes without law already created. Now we have a process that can convict without crime, without indictment, and without defense.”

ALL AGAINST BOLSONARO

What were all these monstrous acts done for?

To combat the so-called “fake news propagation networks” that persecute, censor, and arrest any activist, journalist, or politician closer to the right or President Jair Bolsonaro.

These legal aberrations that began with these illegal findings at the beginning of Bolsonaro’s government did nothing but expand in increasingly absurd decisions of the Judiciary, which, in an unprecedented manner in recent years, always gave 48 hours for the president to respond or act as the Judiciary deemed appropriate.

When former judge Sergio Moro left the Ministry of Justice, Justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered that President Bolsonaro could not appoint Alexandre Ramagem as director general of the Federal Police, even though that decision was the exclusive competence of the president.

Everything done against Bolsonaro and the conservatives were always justified by the self-styled “Media consortium” that represents the leftist establishment of the Brazilian press and that rejoiced with any action against the president and his allies, forgetting the Constitution and the minimum standards of democracy.

In the year 2021 and amid the electoral process, the judicial activism and authoritarianism of the TSE and the STF became increasingly aligned with the Workers’ Party (PT, left), and everything became progressively more acute.

Suffice it to recall the departure of the then TSE minister, Roberto Barroso, who actively went to Congress in 2021, preventing the ballot boxes from being more secure and auditable (through printed paper concomitant with an electronic method) and maintaining the current electronic model of obsolete technology.

Then what happened with Edson Fachin (TSE minister in the first semester of 2022), who released Lula da Silva from prison and was never appointed as a partial judge to lead the Superior Electoral Court.

Finally, upon arrival at the magistrate Alexandre de Moraes, who is a staunch enemy of Jair Bolsonaro, took possession of the Electoral Court as if he had no bias impediment to do so.

CONDITIONALITY TO THE ELECTIONS

And in this year, 2022, in particular, the activism of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) was almost unanimously favorable to Lula da Silva’s PT.

The TSE took exceptional measures such as:

  • punishing small businesses that gave 22% discount (Bolsonaro’s party number in the elections);
  • prevented journalists from calling Lula da Silva a “thief and ex-convict” (with costly fines);
  • removed countless Instagram pages of the political right;
  • Censored newspapers such as Jovem Pan, Brasil Sem Medo, Oeste magazine, Terça Livre, Gazeta do Povo, and Brasil Paralelo.

Regarding Brasil Paralelo, the TSE even censored a documentary that had not yet been released, which would talk about the stabbing of Bolsonaro.

(Congressmen Nikolas Ferreira, the most-voted Congressman in Brazil)

All this dictatorial action was in the name of “democracy” and the “fight against fake news”. They said this exception would only last until the elections.

But now, even after the elections, the social media pages of several conservative politicians, comedians, and journalists have been suspended.

  • Senator Eduardo Girão made an update of those censored in Brazil and included:
  • Allan dos Santos;
  • Luciano Hang (one of the ten wealthiest businessmen in Brazil);
  • Congressman Daniel Silveira;
  • Pastor Valadão;
  • Congressmen Nikolas Ferreira (the most voted Congressman in Brazil);
  • Canal Hipócritas (a humor YouTube channel);
  • Congresswoman Carla Zambelli;
  • Congressman Gustavo Gayer;
  • singer Latino;
  • singer Zeze di Camargo;
  • economist Marcos Cintra;
  • Lieutenant Major Vitor Hugo and
  • Congressman Coronel Tadeu.

The vast majority of these people were censured for questioning the electoral process in Brazil.

That is to say, the TSE and the STF understand it as “antidemocratic” to doubt the reliability of the electoral process, and whoever questions it is treated as a criminal.

The TSE magistrate and “emperor” of Brazil himself, Alexandre de Moraes, clearly said:

“Those who criminally are not accepting the result of the elections, those who criminally are practicing antidemocratic acts, will be treated as criminals”.

Therefore, the concept of “democracy” defended by Brazil’s highest courts must be similar to the Soviet “democracies” of Eastern Europe.

And whoever these all-powerful people deem “antidemocratic” can have their social network accounts suspended, or receive a visit from the Federal Police; have their phone and bank secrecy violated, and receive astronomical fines for “undermining democracy”; or go to jail without a minimum of due process.

This is the state of affairs in Brazil.

A highly partisan judiciary structure, acting dictatorially and with powers reminiscent of Soviet justice.

* Trained in International Relations (Unijorge – Brazil) and Master in Politics and International Relations by Sergio Arboleda (Colombia), he has a long experience in international business and worked in Chambers of Commerce. Since 2019, he writes about Ibero-American issues for the newspaper Brasil Sem Medo and has also contributed for the newspaper ADN América.

With information from Gaceta

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