domingo, 30 de agosto de 2020

Free Speech Is Under Attack In Brazil, And We Want Americans To Know About It

Mario Balaban

Thirteen years ago, I moved to the United States from Brazil. Part of the reason I left was that my family was fed up with the crime, corruption, and socialist policies which ran rampant in my former home. But recently, with the election of President Jair Bolsonaro, who ran on an anti-crime, anti-corruption, and anti-socialist platform, I began to have some hope for Brazil. 

Since coming into office, Bolsonaro has faced an uphill battle. Though he won the election by over 10 percentage points, his opponents are still trying to remove him from power. Their method? Using the Supreme Court to strip the free speech rights of his most vocal supporters.

The court is composed of 11 Ministers, seven of which were appointed by the far-left Workers’ Party and four others that were appointed by former Brazilian presidents still under investigation for wide-ranging corruption.

Minister Alexandre de Morais, photo: Eraldo Peres/AP
The Brazilian Supreme Court only has one item on their agenda: removing the democratically elected president, Jair Bolsonaro, from power through any means possible. The court’s judges have not accepted the October 2018 election results and detest Bolsonaro’s anti-establishment background. Given that the large majority of these judges were appointed by socialist presidents, their anti-Bolsonaro attitude isn’t surprising to most Brazilians.

What we see today is the culmination of the socialist establishment’s efforts, which resulted in the now-infamous “Fake News” investigation, launched in 2019 by the Supreme Court. They purport to investigate mass-scale “fake news” that they believe is endangering Brazilian democratic institutions. In reality, the investigation does nothing but target vocal conservative Bolsonaro supporters and force them into silence.

To further expose the investigation’s double standard, not a single radical Marxist activist or politician in Brazil has been under investigation for spreading fake news. Not even when they openly defend Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro and claim that he is a great and honorable leader.

So far, the “Fake News” investigation has led to personal property seizurescensorship, and even arrests of a social media influencer and a journalist. What the investigation did not do is find “fake news.”

Even with the lack of evidence, the Supreme Court has decided to double down on the investigation.

Recently, Supreme Court Minister Alexandre de Moraes, who leads the “Fake News” investigation, went so far as to order Facebook and Twitter to shut down people’s public profiles. At first, Facebook and Twitter did not want to comply with the order, but a daily fine of 20,000 Brazilian Reais (around 3,750 US Dollars) was placed that forced the American social media giants to comply.

The fact that anti-conservative Big Tech companies originally did not want to obey Moraes’ censorship decision shows just how far the Supreme Court in Brazil has gone. Even these BigTech companies think that Brazil’s Supreme Court is setting a terrible precedent for speech rights around the world, but are facing fines if they do not follow the court’s orders.

Moraes has conducted the “Fake News” investigation in complete secrecy, barely allowing the investigated parties to know what crimes they are being accused of. In June, for example, the lawyer for one of the investigated conservative journalists, Allan dos Santos, said he and his client were being kept in the dark about this investigation. Also, Allan said he didn’t even know if he was just being investigated or was already considered a defendant in this case. Just more proof that Moraes’ irrational behavior is completely unprecedented and Orwellian in nature.

Worse yet, there is absolutely no one in Brazil that can stop this tyranny. The Supreme Court is the ultimate judicial power, and they are unchallenged as they proceed with these heinous acts against the Brazilian people’s civil liberties. Moraes will continue to push forward with this investigation regardless of the public outcry against it. The reason this “Fake News” investigation even exists in the first place is because the Supreme Court knows that by criminalizing conservative thought, they will be able to criminalize Bolsonaro’s presidency.

To date, there are no laws in Brazil about “fake news” that justify such an investigation. Unfortunately, Brazil’s Congress is helping the Supreme Court by voting to put such laws in the books. Brazilian Congressional leaders are in the process of passing a law that would punish anyone who posts what they deem to be “fake news” with prison time, and they even want to monitor people’s social media accounts in a way that eliminates any and all individual privacy rights. The law is so draconian that even the left-wing group, Human Rights Watch, has come out publicly against it.

The truth is, the socialist establishment’s desperation and need to hold on to power has put them on a path of no return: they wish to curtail speech rights on a permanent basis. They are more than willing to generate political unrest in Brazil in order to silence their opponents.

As I speak with Brazilians about this situation, there is one recurring theme they tell me: Americans must know what is happening in Brazil. A very large number of Brazilians admire the United States and hope that their country emulates the American model one day. They were proud to host CPAC Brazil last year and welcome several American conservatives to speak to them. Throughout the event, American Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump received roaring applause from the crowd every time they were mentioned.

President Bolsonaro and the large majority of Brazilian people want to strengthen ties with the United States, and that is certainly something that bothers the socialist Supreme Court.

As patriots, Brazilians and Americans must join forces against attacks on our most basic freedoms. The anti-freedom socialist threat has manifested itself recently in the United States, a threat that Brazilians are all too familiar with. It is important to understand that strong cooperation between freedom-loving countries is the only way to halt the advance of tyranny. 

With all of that being said, American support would mean so much for Brazilians at this time, and I am certain many Brazilians would be eternally grateful for it.

Mario Balaban is a conservative from Brazil who currently lives in the United States. He attended Bryant University in Rhode Island, graduating with an International Business degree in 2016. His ongoing mission is to fight for Western ideals and expose wrongdoing at every turn.
Townhall, Aug 29, 2020 12:01 AM

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