Petra Costa: “We need to talk about AI-5”

Academy-award nominated director Petra Costa has posted on social media in response to the Bolsonaro-led protests on Sunday 19th April 2020, which although small in number, were a blatant call for a new “AI-5” i.e. a return to the darkest period of the military dictatorship – specifically closure of Congress and the Supreme Court.

Costa wrote:

“Thousands of fanatics from the fascist sect, led by the president, advocate with posters, shouts and tweets, “a new AI-5”, but I don’t know if they know what they are talking about.

“AI-5” was an “institutional act” in 1968, illegally dictated by criminals who usurped power in the Republic during the military dictatorship. It was signed by dictator Artur da Costa e Silva.

AI-5, among other things, allowed the closure of Congress, censorship of the press, television, theater, music and cinema; political meetings were outlawed; habeas corpus and constitutional guarantees were suspended and torture allowed.

By AI-5, you could be arrested without committing any crime, without the right to a lawyer, and you could be brutally tortured by Brilhante Ustra, the president’s idol, who stuffed mice into women’s vaginas. The newspapers could not report, because they would be censored. There would be no Congress, no opposition, no right to demonstrate and peaceful assembly of people. You could only read books authorized by the government, listen to music and watch movies that the president wanted and read the news that he authorized. You could be kidnapped by Bolsonaro’s militias, stuck in a basement, tortured with electric shocks and executed by government order. And your family couldn’t do anything. That’s what we’re talking about.

So, before advocating “a new AI-5”, look for a history book to understand what you’re saying. And look quickly, because if there is a new AI-5, the history books will no longer explain, because they will be burned or censored.

And whoever tries to speak out, like me here and now, will be killed.”

As well as Costa, director of acclaimed documentary “Edge of Democracy”, the far-right President’s active participation in this protest has deeply alarmed politicians, journalists and commentators across the political spectrum. Bolsonaro has threatened an “auto-coup” of this kind since long before he was elected, and now from a weakened and isolated position, his rhetoric has amplified and crossed the line into actual breach of the constitution, and yet another clear impeachable offence. There are increasingly widespread calls for Bolsonaro’s removal.