The delegation of 19 Brazilian civil society organizations that is in Washington to report on the attacks against the electoral system and democracy in Brazil was received on Wednesday, July 27, by the House Representatives Hank Johnson (Georgia) and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (Florida) and by the staff of Senator Ben Cardin (Maryland) in the Capitol Building.
The group explained the attacks against democracy currently underway in Brazil and asked the lawmakers to act so that the U.S. immediately recognizes the result of the October presidential election as soon as the election authorities release the vote count, irrespective of who wins. The intention is to prevent the threats that have been made by President Jair Bolsonaro against the electoral system and against Brazilian democracy from materializing.
The visit began on Monday, July 25, with meetings with American civil society organizations. On Tuesday, July 26, the group was received at the U.S. State Department and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and it also met with Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont), who expressed concern over the attacks on democracy in Brazil and over the similarities with the U.S., where former President Donald Trump attempted to stop the vote counting in the November 2020 presidential election, when he was defeated by Joe Biden.
Among the members of the Brazilian delegation, there are representatives of quilombola communities and the black movement, as well as environmentalists, human rights defenders and advocates of the LGBTIA+ cause. The delegation spoke about the increase in the persecution directed at these groups and the growth of political violence in Brazil, expressing fears that the situation will deteriorate if the October election is not held in a free and unimpeded way.
“We are meeting with senators, representatives and members of the State Department in Washington. Our intention is to strengthen the Brazilian democratic system, seeking recognition of the efficiency and reliability of our election process,” said Marcelle Decothé, of the Marielle Franco Institute, who is part of the delegation.
“Strengthening Brazilian democracy also involves the combat of racism, the fight for climate and environmental justice and the combat of the inequalities that are present in our country. The advocacy agenda in Washington this week is important to reinforce our messages about the defense of the Brazilian electoral system by organizations that are leading the agenda in Brazil,” said Maria Sylvia, of Geledés – Black Woman’s Institute.
On Thursday, July 28, the delegation has meetings with the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations) and with a group of diplomats based in Washington. On Friday, July 29, meetings will be held with Representative Jamie Raskin, a member of the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol that took place on January 6, 2021, and with members of the IACHR (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) of the OAS (Organization of American States).
The WBO (Washington Brazil Office), which is organizing the visit, is an independent and non-partisan think tank committed to promoting cooperation and knowledge about the reality in Brazil and to supporting the international work of civil society, social movements and other sectors of Brazil in Washington in defense of democracy, human rights, the environment and freedom.
Organizations that make up the delegation: