Editorial: What a mess

brasilobserver - Dec 19 2015

(Leia em Português)


It’s done. The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, authorized on Wednesday 2 December the opening of the impeachment process of president Dilma Rousseff.

Much of the country, it is worth mentioning, celebrated this news like a goal in football. We are witnessing a tragic spectacle that has continued since the beginning of the year, and that seems to aim to make it impossible for the country to overcome the most urgent problems: public accounts on deficit, rising unemployment, galloping inflation, economic recession…

Whose fault is it? The favourite villain is Eduardo Cunha, of course, representing all of the worst in Brazilian politics – he accepted the request for impeachment to shift the focus of the Ethics Commission that may revoke his mandate. Or was it Dilma? It doesn’t matter. It does not matter either to define whether the situation is a coup or not. More urgent is to see that our political system is disintegrating, with no sign of recovery until a minimal consensus in Congress is built. It is a time of opportunisms and insanity – that’s the painful factual truth.

The mistakes of Dilma’s government and PT (Workers Party) are innumerable – and, ultimately, the main inducers of the crisis now facing the country. In power, they behaved like the others and betrayed not only the progressive movement they still pretend to represent, but the hope of building a social democracy in a country deformed by centuries of inequality. Significant progress was made in the last decade. But the negation of politics as a means of confronting paradigms and building lines of passage for a new development cycle let the PT project to become unfeasible – even after Dilma’s victory in October 2014’s elections.

By promising the impossible on the campaign and hiding the challenges that the country would face in this transition cycle, Dilma and PT lost the political capital necessary to keep changing the Brazilian reality. By adopting the discourse defeated at the polls, they lost popular support and urged the most retrograde opposition to come out. The government created, finally, the conditions for the impeachment of the elected president to be discussed openly and daily. It is, after all, a political process.

And about the opposition, what is there to say? It is ironic that from Argentina and Venezuela, countries usually derided by the conservative parties, come the most important lesson. In those countries, the “progressive” governments of Christina Kirchner and Nicolas Maduro end up suffering electoral defeats. It is possible to win at the ballot box – that is democracy. In Brazil, however, anti-government parties want to take a shortcut, including PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party), the main opposition party that has always considered itself as republican.

But why does is happen? Four defeats in a row at the polls may be one explanation. The PSDB has long been unable to produce a national project compatible with the hopes of the majority of the population. Such incompetence in overcoming the PT at the polls is also one of the factors that made us reach the current state of political and economic crisis.

About PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party), there is not much left to talk about. This is the unfaithful party that holds the balance: they follow whoever is in power and that’s it, nothing else matters for them.

It is necessary, however, to believe in Brazil. We have to believe in Brazilian society, even now that the pessimism is so dominant. The occupations of public schools by youths in the city of São Paulo is one of the reasons for hope, despite the dominant narrative treat them as invaders (read the Conectando section). We must, after all, develop our democracy through the participation of civil society. We must fight the depoliticization that serves only to untouched politicians in offices. We need to politicize the politics, rescue the sovereignty of the population.

This also applies for companies and business leaders, why not? Social achievements are inseparable counterpart of sales, profits and investments. A more equal society is a key factor for good business.

Anyway, Brasil Observer wishes its readers a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year! We meet again in the February edition.