This article analyzes Luiz Inácio da Silva's resounding reelection victory in the wake of corruption scandals implicating his party and government. Voters with lower levels of economic security and schooling played a critical role in returning Lula to the presidency. Least prone to punish the president for corruption, poorer Brazilians were also the most readily persuaded by the provision of material benefits. Minimum wage increases and the income transfer program Bolsa Família expanded the purchasing power of the poor. Thus, executive power and central state resources allowed Lula to consolidate a social base that had responded only weakly to his earlier, party-based strategy of grassroots mobilization for progressive macrosocietal change. Although Lula won handily, the PT's delegation to Congress shrank for the first time, and the voting bases of president and party diverged. The PT benefited far less than the president himself from government investment in social policy.
Legal reforms that make judges independent from political pressures and empower them with judicial review do not make an effective judiciary. Something has to fill the gap between institutional design and effectiveness. When the executive and legislative powers react to an objectionable judicial decision, the judiciary may be weak and deferential; but coordination difficulties between the elected branches can loosen the constraints on courts. This article argues that the fragmentation of political power can enable a judiciary to rule against power holders' interests without being systematically challenged or ignored. This argument is tested with an analysis of the Mexican Supreme Court decisions against the PRI on constitutional cases from 1994 to 2002. The probability of the court's voting against the PRI increased as the PRI lost the majority in the Chamber of Deputies in 1997 and the presidency in 2000.
Brazilians often complain that investigations of corruption by public servants drag on for years or bring few legal sanctions on the perpetrators. This lack of accountability is so pervasive that a slang phrase, acabou em pizza, is often invoked when investigations are inconclusive. This article investigates the role of four Brazilian public institutions charged with keeping public servants accountable. For analysis, it breaks the accountability process into its three component stages: oversight, investigation, and sanction. Through a study of six prominent cases of corruption, it shows that the weakness of the accountability process in Brazil is due not entirely to the toothlessness of individual institutions of accountability, but also to the independence of such institutions at each of the three stages. These findings suggest that institutional arrangements influence the degree of accountability, and thereby also public trust and confidence, in Latin America's largest democracy.
This study analyzes Latin America in light of the post–Cold War transformation of the global system. Much of Latin American foreign policy studies traditionally has been concerned with the region's subordinate position to "core" countries (generally, developed states and their ruling elites) and the degree to which these countries' policies constrain Latin American policies and development. While this juxtaposition is still a major topic, it ignores the leverage of new "spheres of authority" (SOAs), where global rules and norms are increasingly sustained. A hypothesis presented here is that the U.N. system is an example of such an SOA, which creates a new context for the insertion of periphery demands in the international agenda. A second hypothesis is that such insertion is increasingly made through the creation of new regional groupings, which are an expression of national development and security demands. Such processes carry both new possibilities and challenges.
This article seeks to explain the highly interventionist Brazilian automobile policy of 1995, which drastically departed from the neoliberal principles guiding Brazilian economic policy at the time. This seemingly inconsistent policy stemmed from two overlapping bargains. The first, between the private sector and the government's developmentalist, and hence more permeable elements, shaped the policy's content and design. A second, more crucial intrastate bargain pitted the defenders of the previous development model against the team of neoliberal, technocratic economists who had centralized economic decisionmaking authority since mid-1993. These economists' support for the automobile policy must be understood as a response to the macroeconomic and political challenges they faced in 1995. This study highlights the importance of examining the undisclosed actions of the state and the role of intrastate cleavages in political economy outcomes.
More than a decade after Latin America's most recent turn to democracy, unchecked police violence and torture continue and in some cases have increased. This study examines police killings in 19 Brazilian states from 1994 to 2001 and finds that democracy has not substantially reduced these types of human rights violations, for two reasons. First, underlying social conflict has continued to exert a significant impact on the lethal use of force by police officers. Second, pro-order political coalitions, generally represented by right-wing politicians, have blocked effective measures to control police violence and have implemented public safety measures that stress the use of force. The analysis emphasizes the nonteleological nature of democratization processes and demonstrates the strength of political forces working to maintain "illiberal democracy."