Security & Strategic Review - December 2020

BRAZIL: Political violence on the rise

Political violence in Brazil captures fewer headlines than in other countries in the region, such as Colombia or Mexico. Attacks against elected officials or campaigning candidates tend to take place in small cities and neglected neighbourhoods, thus attracting less attention – with the recent exceptions of the stabbing of now-President Jair Bolsonaro during a campaign event in 2018 (ruled to have been the work of a mentally ill man acting alone) and, a few months prior to that, the internationally-condemned murder of Marielle Franco, a human rights activist and city councillor for Rio de Janeiro, which remains unsolved but is believed to be linked to local criminal gangs. This year’s municipal elections have provided an opportunity to look more closely at political violence, with several research initiatives finding that crimes against politicians in Brazil have multiplied in recent years.

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