Political Performance and the Afterlives of Dictatorship in Brazil

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In August 2016, Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, was removed from office by the senate. She had come under attack after a series of corruption scandals and allegations. In this marathon session, politicians of all stripes and colours voiced their judgment on the former ‘guerillera’ who had fought against the military dictatorship in Brazil. An incredible series of political performances reflective of the current state of Brazil were publicised in the largest televised political event in Brazilian history. More than allegations however, this event was about a fight for the past. The event was a fight for access to the laboratories where photographs are retouched, where biographies and history are rewritten. This was particularly, noticeable in Bolsonaro’s speech thanking Rouseff’s military torturer and in listing the ‘real’ presidents of Brazil as the former military dictators. My film (to be released Dec 2021) seeks  explore how we can see the afterlives of the past military dictatorship coming to the fore in the performance of politicians whether through explicit reference or through other means (i.e. rejection of minority rights). These performances will then be used to explore the civic-military alliance that has continued to run Brazil even in ‘democracy’ and the state of memory politics more broadly.

Iñaki Iriarte

Student, UCL

Iñaki Iriarte is a Laidlaw Scholar working with UCL's Institute of the Americas on researching political representation in Brazil.