Christian nationalism is not a new phenomenon, but in recent years it has led to the consolidation of power by politically conservative, illiberal and authoritarian political leaders and parties across the globe. The storming of Brazil’s seat of government, in part driven by this ideology, is the latest evidence of this trend.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, met in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last week and accomplished little. While the organization is not meaningfully addressing the hemisphere’s problems, let alone solving them, small improvements could lead it to a place where it might be able to in the future.
Brazil and Argentina recently announced their plan to create a common currency, starting with their two countries and inviting other South American countries to join. The idea is that it would help the region ease its trade relations, making it better able to control inflation. It’s a heady notion whose time has not come.
“Brazil is back,” Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said shortly before being sworn in for a third term as president. His foreign policy agenda marks a clean break from that of his predecessor with a focus on reengagement with the world. But that may be harder to achieve now than it was when Lula first took office 20 years ago.
It was all supposed to be behind Brazil—the fears of a post-election crisis that would undermine the country’s democracy. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had defeated Jair Bolsonaro in October’s election and been sworn into office. Brazil and the world breathed a sigh of relief for the country’s democracy. And then came Sunday.
When supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the capital’s seat of government on Sunday, everyone’s mind flashed back to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. The two assaults on democracy were driven by many of the same forces, with similar ideologies, similar playbooks—and some of the same players.
The inauguration of Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva on Jan. 1 was a moment of triumph and an opportunity to play regional leader and global statesman, a symbol that Brazil is back on the world stage. However, as this weekend’s riots in Brasilia make clear, it was just the opening of what will be a long four years.
Nowhere is the challenge of recovering from the pandemic and the fallout from the war in Ukraine more pressing than in Latin America, the region that was arguably the world’s hardest-hit during the “polycrisis.” For governments hoping they will be able to retake the ground lost in the past three years, the task looks gargantuan.