More than fifteen years after the return to civilian rule, why do starkly unequal political and social structures persist in Brazil? In a detailed examination of the impact of military dictatorship on democracy, Timothy Power puts his finger on important answers to this question. While some theoreticians suggest that so-called conservative transitions from authoritarianism can be beneficial to democracy, Power clearly establishes the Brazilian case as a significant counter-example. Authoritarian rule and the slow transition (1964-1985) not only asphyxiated democratic expression; they also provided right-wing politicians with disproportionate influence and the ability to stay entrenched in positions of power at least into the late 1990s. Instead of a fully consolidated democracy, Brazilians experience "a perverse situation in which, instead of the right accommodating itself to the rules of the new democracy, the rules of the new democracy must accommodate the right" (p. 239). The Brazilian right blocks the kind of legislative initiative needed to reduce cronyism and promote social change, for example, the long overdue implementation of meaningful agrarian reform.
Copyright © 2012-2013 Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe.
Editores: Ori Preuss; Nahuel Ribke
Instituto Sverdlin de Historia y Cultura de América Latina, Escuela de Historia
Universidad de Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv,
P.O.B. 39040 (69978), Israel.
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