On January 8, a mob stormed Brazil’s presidential palace, Congress, and Supreme Federal Court in a brazen attempt to overthrow the country’s democratically elected government. Insurrectionists shattered windows and defaced walls. They defiled national treasures and assaulted those who stood in their way. And yet, while Brazil’s buildings may be battered, the people and values they represent remain unbowed.
Make no mistake: these rioters attacked democracy itself. Disinformation that has proliferated in recent years converted to physical violence. Extremist rhetoric was used to undermine the peaceful transition of power. Those advancing false narratives to thwart democracy are threatened by movements across government, civil society, and beyond that are challenging histories of exclusion and dismantling the systems and structures that perpetuate inequalities of all kinds.
Many have drawn parallels between these attacks and the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol almost exactly two years ago, and understandably so. The twin images of defiant, conspiratorial mobs, fueled by a corrupted patriotism, to storm seats of government, are chilling. They speak to the instability, born of inequality, misinformation, and autocracy, that threatens democracies around the world.
For over six decades, the Ford Foundation has been privileged to support the aspirations of Brazilians. We remain committed to bolstering the strength and resilience of the people, including our grantees, who have worked tirelessly to protect the rights and values enshrined in the nation’s 1988 constitution.
We are inspired by those who fearlessly resist polarization and division and center diverse voices to affirm the value of a multicultural society united around shared democratic aspirations. We are moved by the multiracial, feminist coalitions working towards a more free and equal society, the Indigenous communities courageously mobilizing for their rights, and the Black women leaders confronting the dual forces of racism and misogyny with strength and clarity.
Today, we reaffirm our support for those knitting their country together in the face of violent backlash. Thanks to their courage and conviction, Brazil remains resilient. Congress, the judiciary, and leaders of state governments are uniting across party lines to condemn the attacks. And civil society organizations are prepared for the road ahead: they are organized to advance progress and expand the sphere of democracy to include those long denied its promise.
The defense of democracy has never been more urgent in Brazil and around the globe. We give no quarter and no country to those who would restore inequalities the righteous have worked to tear down. We remain committed to supporting Brazil’s democratic values and institutions and honoring the dignity, autonomy, and vibrancy of the Brazilian people.