Brazilian Youth “Out” Perpetrators

Posted by Rebecca Atencio

Following the tradition of Argentine escraches and Chilean funas, Brazilian youths are “outing” accused torturers, spray-painting phrases such as “A torturer lives here” on the sidewalks in front of where said accused torturers live and work. The first outings began today in several cities (including São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Porto Alegre) and will continue over the next several months. One outing included the reenactment of torture on the parrot’s perch (pau de arara). The emergence of this kind of youth activism (escrachos in Portuguese) may signal a shift in public opinion, at least among young Brazilians, with regard to the meaning of the dictatorial past and the question of accountability for human rights crimes. (Thanks to Christopher Dunn for the heads up!).

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4 Responses to Brazilian Youth “Out” Perpetrators

  1. Laura says:

    Great article. However, to what extent do we know if the Brazilian society- as a whole- wish for the prosecution of perpetrators of human rights violations during the Brazilian dictature and to abandon the amnesty law? Do you have any further information on this? Thank you very much for your response!

  2. transitionaljusticeinbrazil says:

    Hi Laura,

    That’s a great question. Historically, public support for trials has been lacking. Scholars often talk about the public’s inertia or apathy when it comes to the question of accountability. As Nina Schneider has pointed out, however, this lack of public support does not necessarily mean that people view the dictatorship in a positive light. In fact, many in Brazil–including some of those persecuted by the regime–oppose criminal trials but do vehemently support the need for truth and memory about human rights crimes. Those who take this stance contend that moral condemnation is sufficient. On the other hand, the emergence of “escrachos” might indicate a shift in the public mood. It remains to be seen if this trend catches on. I highly recommend Schneider’s article “Impunity in Post-Authoritarian Brazil: The Supreme Court’s Recent Verdict on the Amnesty Law” (2011) if you’re interested in reading more on the subject of public opinion and punishment.


  3. Really interested to hear that escraches have spread to Brazil. In general, I’d like to say thanks for a fantastic blog, my Portuguese is pretty poor so this is going to be invaluable to me!

    • transitionaljusticeinbrazil says:

      Dear Lillie,

      Thanks so much for visiting, it’s an honor! Your blog was one of the first we added to our blogroll. I’ve been following it for awhile now, it’s really fabulous.


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