The Brazilian scene – VII

Image: Anderson Antonangelo


Comments on recent events

The pandemic continues to march at alarming levels. Brazil became a world record holder in the number of victims per day. The succession of the Minister of Health Eduardo Pazuello by the doctor Marcelo Queiroga took place to the detriment of the movement commanded by the center in favor of the doctor Ludhmila Hajjar, an action refuted by the President of the Republic.

Again there are doubts about the curriculum of a new minister. He claims, for example, that he has been enrolled in a doctorate in bioethics for twelve years. Under Brazilian law, anyone who does not defend their thesis for more than four years is retired. The course he is enrolled in is also under suspicion. This is a very unusual agreement between the Federal Council of Medicine and the University of Porto. The course works with only one professor who comes to Brazil from time to time. Therefore, we once again have the possibility of ideological falsehood in the curriculum of an already appointed minister.

Most governors, acting in a unified manner, pressed for the replacement of Minister Pazuello and in favor of mass vaccination, complaining about the non-contracting of vaccines in sufficient quantities. In addition, UN pressure is increasing on Brazil, due to the role that the country has taken on as a worldwide spreader of variant strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Another important issue that is ongoing without making headlines is political reform. A large part of the deputies want the creation of the “district”, a model in which the most voted would be elected regardless of the proportional quota of their parties. They are also fighting for the re-establishment of coalitions for parliamentary elections. It is a Brazilian tradition that each election has new legislation. These proposals run counter to expectations that the changes in force from the 2018 election onwards would be maintained, removing parties with little votes from the distribution of the electoral fund.

The Economic Organization for Development (OECD) created a committee to monitor corruption in Brazil just as the end of the Lava Jato operation was announced. Brazil is expected to react by continuing to punish the corrupt and especially those who strike against the public interest.

The March 17 Copom meeting raised the basic interest rate (Selic) from 2% to 2,75%. This is a recognition of the pressure of upward inflation.

Finally, succession. The resumption of Lula's political rights still depends on a vote in the STF. But we can already observe some interesting symptoms, such as the aggregation of wills as disparate as those of Delfim Neto and the PSOL that point to Lula as their favorite candidate for the 2022 elections. A truly extraordinary convergence. The Lula effect repositions the situation of Governor João Doria, who is now considering running for re-election. Although the effects of Lula's presence on the electoral scene are still far from being set, it is likely that he will bring greater encouragement and less fragmentation to the coming elections.

*Benicio Viero Schmidt is a retired professor of sociology at UnB. Author, among other books, of The State and urban policy in Brazil (LP&M).

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