Richard Lapper is a freelance writer and consultant who specialises in Latin America. He is an associate fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London and a member of the editorial board of Americas Quarterly in New York.
He graduated in sociology at the University of Liverpool in 1974 and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. He held a number of senior positions at the Financial Times of London between 1990 and 2015, and was the newspaper's Latin America editor between 1998 and 2008.
He is currently writing a book looking at the rise of right-wing populism in Brazil, scheduled to be published by Manchester University Press in 2020. Provisionally entitled 'Beef, Bullets and Bible: Brazil in the Age of Bolsonaro', the book examines the reasons for President Jair Bolsonaro's election and the prospects for the country under his stewardship.
It argues the economic crisis of 2014 and 2016 and the Lava Jato corruption scandal shattered faith in Brazil's political elite and, in particular, the Workers Party, the left-wing party that had governed Brazil since 2003. However, in analysing Brazil's current circumstances a number of longer-term factors, including the rise of organised crime, the popularity of Evangelical and particularly, Neo-Pentecostal sects, as well as the unique and varied dynamics of Brazil's agricultural and rural heartlands, must also be taken into account.