The Brazilian Scene – XXVII

Image: William Eickler
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By BENÍCIO VIERO SCHMIDT*

Commentary on recent events

In teacher's week, the cut of R$ 600 million from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is announced. Its driver, the pillow-selling astronaut in his website particular, expresses “surprise”. The CNPq universal public notice is under threat, as well as research and postgraduate grants and other laboratory expenses. A disaster.

Next week will be much busier than the last one, at least in Brasilia.

The final CPI-Covid report (19) will be presented in the Federal Senate, with a vote on the following day (20), with the presence of relatives of victims from all over the country. People from northern Brazil will be highlighted, the site of experiments with ineffective treatment (COVID-kit), combined with deliberate lack of oxygen, and with at least 200 victims in the Amazon. An operation with a strong emotional appeal, it will certainly be faced with the denialism of troops loyal to the Executive, trying to publicly escape the accusations of crimes in 11 incidences, including accusations of quackery and crimes against humanity by President Bolsonaro. The president's children will also be accused of fake news regarding the pandemic. What can cause public commotion.

The vote on the ICMS law, establishing a fixed amount per liter of fuel, will also go to the Senate, after being approved by the Federal Chamber. Protests by governors and mayors may take the matter to the STF later. There is an estimated loss to the states of about R$ 84 billion and about R$ 6 billion to the municipalities. The approval of the Chamber, which would require further regulation of the matter, does not guarantee its approval in the Senate; in addition to having little impact on what fuel prices would be on the market. Due to the rise in prices, the Executive tries to place the responsibility on the governors, in a special way; going as far as impromptu statements about the possible privatization of Petrobras. Incidentally, there is little time left, given by CADE, for Petrobras to sell 8 of its announced refineries (50%) of the national refining capacity. fuels.

The Chamber will consider and vote on an issue sensitive to the relations between the powers of the republic: the PEC (5/2021) that changes the composition of the National Council of the Public Ministry (CNMP). It will be voted on Tuesday (19), with chances of approval with probable suggestions from prosecutors, still exerting many protests for the Legislative advance on its prerogatives. Along with the Improbity Law, this PEC signals an attempt at greater control by the Legislative over the other powers.

The Climate Conference (Glasgow, October 31-November 12) continues to receive suggestions and measures regarding the improvement of global warming indices. Brazil, through the Ministry of the Environment, will present a dazzling plan that will depend on the goodwill of international donors; who, incidentally, have shown contempt for Brazilian advertisements, as attested by the tour of US authorities who travel to South America without visiting or dialoguing with the Brazilian authorities. A sign of isolation and international attrition.

The energy issue is aggravated by fuel inflation and the water crisis. Apart from the skirmishes surrounding Petrobras, the government indicates that it will forward to the BNDES a request for funds (R$ 20 billion) for the construction of coal-fired thermoelectric plants. The first symptom is denial by the Bank, since since 2017 it has prioritized the construction of clean energy plants (solar and wind). One more conflict and a measure against world trends.

In the electoral panorama, in addition to the operation to consolidate the União Brasil (PSL + DEM) as the largest right-wing party in Congress - in turn characterized by extreme conservatism - the diatribes between Ciro Gomes, Lula and Dilma on recent events and on the nature of possible alliances for the 2022 elections. Ciro Gomes makes Lula and the PT his main enemies, in search of conservative support. We'll see.

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

 

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