Brazilian Spring is a non-profit visual project that intends to spread international awareness of Brazilian social and political problems. It started in Vancouver as an advertisement campaign consisting of a series of portraits and illustrations with the humble ambition of shedding some light on this dark period that Brazil is currently experiencing. Soon after, the project began to catch the attention of Canadian and Brazilian supporters. As the message started to spread, the project started to take on volunteering support from amazing artists, designers, performance artists and photographers, who have joined the cause and helped grow the project to its current size.

The concept behind this project is that every big social change in the world had its roots in new ideas that were spread through artistic expression and manifestos. And it is through art that we plan on planting the seeds of these ideas, so that they harvest into a fully fledged Brazilian Spring.

The name “Brazilian Spring” was derived from the Revolutions of 1848, known as the Spring of Nations or the Peoples’ Spring, when the peoples of several European countries began a revolutionary process that led to a wave of freedom and civil rights. In addition, this project also references the period of military dictatorship that Brazilian underwent between 1964-85, and the recent parliamentary coup d’etat of 2016.

 

The coups and the scars that remain.

In 1964, an American aircraft carrier docked near the Santos Harbor in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. The plan was to bomb the country in case the legalist wing of the Military tried to stop the coup that would end the popular leftist term of then President João Goulart. Operation Brother Sam (an ironic code name, under which it would eventually come to be known as), consisted of a plan to swiftly intervene in the affairs of left-leaning governments of Latin America. It would lead to the American sponsored crushing of the young and fragile democracies of several countries in the region, arming and financing far right sects of their Military Forces to promote violent coups. The Brazilian Military dictatorship lasted 21 years, being responsible for over 5,000 political murders, and the torture of at least 1,918 political prisoners; one of whom, Dilma Rousseff, would be democratically elected and re-elected President of Brazil 40 years later, in a sort of poetic justice. She was kept prisoner for 3 years and tortured with electric shocks to her feet and ears, and tied to a Parrot’s Perch or “pau de arara”, the trademark torture device of the Brazilian Military dictatorship, consisting of a stick to which victims were bound upside down and naked by their wrists and ankles.

52 years after the Military coup, Brazil experienced a second coup d’etat. The very same media outlets that back then covered up facts and supported the Military coup, were now, once again, in allegiance with right wing anti-democratic groups and parties. The intentions of these groups are: to stop the undergoing investigations of corruption of high-ranking government officials; to auction publicly-owned national assets, such as the drilling rights to the extensive offshore oil reserves; and to undermine social justice by defunding education, healthcare, social security and other constitutional rights. With that in mind, an impeachment process was orchestrated against Roussef. The main accusation was based on a budgetary workaround that relied on a constitutional grey area, which wasn’t technically legal or illegal, and was also done by every democratically elected president since 1988. Even though President Rousseff was proven innocent, the impeachment got pushed through a hostile Congress and approved by the Senate, which, two days after the impeachment, passed legislation clearing up that the budgetary workaround in question was indeed not a crime. According to Romero Jucá, an important ally in Congress of Michel Temer’s, the process was a “great national agreement” to “stop the bleeding” from the corruption investigations that were looming over a significant number of Parliament members.

A few months later, Brazil supreme court justice Teori Zavascki, that was overseeing a vast corruption case died in a suspicious plane crash. Zavascki was responsible by the investigation of the same corruption scandals that motivated the conservative party to promote the impeachment.

Brazilian spring by Gustavo Chams