The challenge of impunity and the trivialization of the unacceptable

Image: Cottombro


Electoral crimes have to be judged much more quickly than others

There are many who, in Brazil, do not conform to the slowness of the Judiciary, in judging conflicts between the rights and duties of all and punishing those who disrespect the Constitution and the Laws. And such slowness actually discredits him, even when required by care in listening to the parties, in order to ensure fair sentences. But it becomes dangerous if it leads to impunity and the persistence of criminal actions, due to the feeling that crime pays.

And if those who should be punished are Executive agents or members of the Legislative and the Judiciary itself, impunity will corrode democracy itself, which institutes these Powers, from within. And more profoundly if it is associated with the trivialization, by society, of crimes demanding punishment, until they are forgotten by the collective memory. That is, if society is not outraged by impunity. This explains the persistence and expansion of corruption in Brazil. And, more sadly, it happened, unlike what happened in sister countries, with the murders and torture that indelibly marked the seizure of power by the military in 1964.

We are currently experiencing an electoral period, in which the people, from whom all power in a democracy emanates, has already chosen who will assume the Legislative Power and will choose who should assume the Executive Power for another four years. In these periods, the slowness of the Judiciary becomes especially dangerous. The legislation that guarantees equal conditions in electoral campaigns gains special relevance.

Electoral crimes have to be judged much more quickly than others: the non-conviction of criminals means that unprepared and corrupt people, or with malicious intent, assume the representation of the people in the legislative process or in the administration of the government machine. In these moments, impunity becomes a fatal disease for democracy, even more so when combined with the trivialization of the unacceptable. It could lead to the postponement, without deadline, of the construction of the Brazil of our aspirations: democratic, of justice, solidarity, equality and peace.

These reflections led two collectives – bringing together co-founders of the World Social Forum and participants in the mobilizations for popular participation in the Constituent Assembly – to draft a Manifesto for the end of impunity for the current President of the Republic (

Impunity marked the entire term of this President. And now characterizes his electoral campaign, in an endless series of electoral crimes, aiming to influence the vote of the least informed. And the institutions of the Republic that should protect it do nothing, as well as running the risk of insufficient indignation from society. On his side, the President and his minions are carrying out their sick plans with increasing intensity, with an apparent certainty of this double inaction in the face of more and more unpunished electoral crimes. Would we be in a limit situation for the continuity of our democracy?

There are only a few days left for us to be able to demonstrate that we want to put an end to the nightmare we have been living since the election, for the Presidency of the Republic, of a person without any preparation, knowledge or normal mental conditions to exercise the most decisive public office in a country.

The Manifesto, addressed to fellow citizens of those who are signing it, and to the Powers of the Republic that could put an end to impunity, intends to be a strong wake-up call. May we be heard, especially in the STF and TSE, for the good of Brazil.

The association is organizing weekly lives on the subject referred to in the title of this article, which deserves reflection from all of us, so that we are able to build a future for our country that does not forget its past and the mistakes we have been making in it. Action against impunity and against the naturalization and trivialization of what is unacceptable and non-negotiable is fundamental.

*Chico Whitaker is an architect and social activist. He was councilor in São Paulo. He is currently a consultant to the Brazilian Commission for Justice and Peace.

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