Former President of the Brazilian Republic Dilma Rousseff has publicly defended Academy Award nominated director Petra Costa, who has come under relentless attack from supporters of the 2016 Coup that her film ‘The Edge of Democracy’ documents, including extreme-right President Jair Bolsonaro himself. The attacks include messages, graphics and videos published by the Secretariat for Social Communication, a Government Agency answerable to the President, designed to discredit the director and the film, which is tipped to become Brazil’s first ever Oscar winner. The use of the Secretariat to attack a citizen in this way has been widely condemned as a breach of the Brazilian constitution.
As if Pedro Bial’s misogynist and sexist rudeness towards Petra Costa wasn’t enough by calling her an insecure girl who is seeking parental approval, the Brazilian Oscar nominee for The Edge of Democracy is now the victim of an intolerable aggression made official by the Bolsonaro government.
The Secretariat for Social Communication of the Presidency has produced a video, made with public money, to offend the Brazilian artist just because she exercised the inalienable right to criticize the government on a TV network. We are talking about censorship and a brutal disrespect when it comes to freedom of speech.
Petra was even serene in her choice of words, pointing out a little bit of what Brazilians and the world already know: Brazil is governed by a chauvinist, racist, homophobic enemy of culture; a supporter of dictatorships, torture and police violence, and friend of paramilitary groups, the ‘militias’.
Petra Costa was called a liar for telling the truth about the way the government treats the environment, which the world also knows: the Amazon is being devastated by Bolsonaro’s leniency with deforestation and land invasions, and by his profound disrespect for the indigenous people.
The Secretariat for Social Communication has been using its public resources to incite hatred against an artist. But Petra just makes us so proud. For being a talented woman, for representing Brazil in the Oscars and for making a movie that unmasks the illegal 2016 impeachment, the coup that led Brazil to this disaster called Bolsonaro.