A Turn-of-the-Century ‘Vaccine Revolt’ in Brazil Carries Seeds of Today

Anti-Science Arguments, Mistrust of Public Health, and Fake News Incited the 1904 Uprising Against Mandatory Smallpox Immunization

On November 9, 1904, the Brazilian newspaper A Notícia published the government’s vaccination plan against smallpox.

The following day, the so-called Vaccine Revolt began in Rio de Janeiro, then the country’s capital. The popular uprising left at least 30 dead and shook the structures of Brazil’s then-young republic.

The circumstances that led to this unprecedented revolt—a swirl of anti-science arguments, denialism about the benefits of vaccination, and fake news about the effectiveness of the vaccine—are not too distant from what’s happening in Brazil today. As with smallpox in the early 20th century, …

The Forgotten History of Brazil’s Concentration Camps | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Forgotten History of Brazil’s Concentration Camps

In the Early 20th Century, Authorities Hid Thousands of Impoverished Rural People Trying to Escape Drought

This is an excerpt from Brazilian social critic and novelist Rachel de Queiroz’s first book Os Quinze. Published in 1930 and later translated in English as The Fifteen, it refers …

If You Want to Rule Brazil, Draw Power from the Streets

In a Country with Too Few Democratic Tools, Mass Protests Can Make or Break a Government

Last August, Brazil’s leftist President Dilma Rousseff was forced to step down from office after the nation’s senate voted to impeach her. But Rousseff’s true downfall came months earlier, when …

Even “The Girl From Ipanema” Can’t Save Rio’s Olympic Train

Why the Faltering Subway Line Exemplifies Brazil's Broken Promises

When the self-proclaimed greatest legacy infrastructure project of the Rio Olympics is a new metro line that stops eight miles short of the actual Olympic Park, you already know there’s …

Rio de Janeiro’s Violence Makes No Sense

A Journalist Grapples With Her City's Brutality

Every Wednesday, a farmers’ market sprung up in the cobblestoned square facing my Rio de Janeiro apartment. The clank and bang of vendors building makeshift stalls woke me up at …