The frontier between Brazil and its crisis-ridden neighbour Venezuela has become a major migration route, a hotspot for crime and a flashpoint for violence. This is the first of three commentaries on Venezuela’s troubled borderlands.
Amid COVID-19 spread and controversy over govt’s management of pandemic, political polarisation deepened as Supreme Court continued moves toward investigations of close allies of President Bolsonaro, and president’s supporters took to street to protest against legal proceedings. Following rise of tensions between Bolsonaro and Supreme Court after latter in recent months launched multiple investigations against close allies of president, including two of his sons, president’s supporters 13-14 June protested in Brasília, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, launching fireworks on Supreme Court building in capital Brasília; then Education Minister Abraham Weintraub who attended demonstration in Brasilia, said Supreme Court judges should be arrested; Weintraub resigned 18 June and left for U.S. after Supreme Court announced investigations against him over accusations of libel and disinformation. Amid Bolsonaro’s supporters’ call for military to close Supreme Court, Secretary of Govt General Luiz Eduardo Ramos 12 June said military would not intervene. 70 retired army officers next day published letter accusing Supreme Court of making politically-motivated decisions. Following Supreme Court order, authorities 15 June arrested pro-Bolsonaro protest leader Sara Giromini over accusations of raising funds for anti-democratic actions that could threaten national security. Amid COVID-19 spread, power struggle continued between Bolsonaro on one hand, and mayors and governors on the other after Supreme Court in April allowed local authorities to impose isolation measures amid COVID-19 pandemic; São Paulo 19 June and Rio de Janeiro next day extended quarantine until early July. Small-scale demonstrations took place 28 June in several cities against Bolsonaro’s handling of COVID-19 crisis, which reached 1mn reported active cases and 50,000 deaths 19 June.
The frontier between Brazil and its crisis-ridden neighbour Venezuela has become a major migration route, a hotspot for crime and a flashpoint for violence.