Brazil's corruption

Image: Cholera Joy


In Brazil, corruption went beyond the institutions of the judiciary and the armed forces, it attacked the very soul of the nation

The first meaning of the word corruption, in the Houaiss Dictionary, is deterioration, physical decomposition of something, putrefaction. Corruption has been the biggest feature of Brazilian society since 2016. This feature was introduced into national life by a movement that was initially imperceptible because it presented itself as its antithesis, the Lava Jato processes. The group led by Sergio Moro acted to corrupt the political life of the country with the aim of removing the then dominant articulation led by the PT from power.

This intention had already been tried by the STF in the judicial fallacy of the “Mensalão” case, when a crime was invented where money supposedly embezzled from Visanet, a private company, was made public and the convicts were guilty of resorting to the corruption of the concept of “domain”. of the fact”. Without knowing anything they had done, they had to have somehow participated in the crime invented by reason of their function in the public administration. To the dismay of its enemies, however, the PT government survived this first onslaught and achieved three successive electoral victories.

A second initiative takes place with the action of right-wing opportunist parties with a view to deposing President Dilma, this time corrupting the concept of a crime of responsibility, then attributed to mere accounting entries. With the coup victorious, its promoters elevated a notoriously corrupt person to the presidential chair, Mr. Michel Temer. If his ministry was a parade of “capybaras” like those of Moreira Franco, Eliseu Padilha or Gedel Vieira Lima, his deeds were the corruption of workers' rights through the reform of labor and social security laws with a view to reducing wages, compromise of employment and income guarantees, the precariousness of wage relations, the erosion of social security benefits and the dismantling of union finances.

In addition, it advanced on the other social rights of the population in education, health and assistance with the radicalization of the poorly called “fiscal responsibility”, in fact an irresponsibility with the provision of services to the population. His greatest achievement was the constitutional amendment that instituted the “spending cap” and the resulting corruption in the provision of public services. Interest payments were, of course, exempt from complying with that ceiling, fattening the financiers' asses with between 6 and 8% of GDP each year. The reader should note that the thriving Brazilian agricultural sector accounts for around 5 to 5,5% of GDP and the entire public service between 15 and 17%.

At the end of Temer’s term, and following his moral degradation, after the failure of his most direct representatives, the ruling class almost unanimously embraces Bolsonaro’s ridiculous corruption as a means of preventing the left’s return to power in 2018.

At the same time, another movement of corruption in State institutions was consolidating itself in the processes led by Sergio Moro in Curitiba under the false image of the fight against corruption. The support that this gentleman received to carry out his criminal project was the broadest imaginable. All the procedural illegalities committed by the judge, prosecutors and police had already been announced by Moro himself in an article in which he commented on the Clean Hands operation in Italy. There, the perverse initiative to mobilize public opinion and the press against the defendants and the entire political system was shamelessly expressed, accompanied by the assumption that the Italian legal operators were as corrupt as the “Curitiba gang”, which was denied by those ones.

Unfortunately, we cannot be as proud as the late Lucio Magri, a great Italian journalist and communist, for the fact that, among those really guilty, there was no member of his party. But in any case, Lava Jato was never about guilt. The avowed objective was to destroy the Brazilian political system, while the true desired result was sought in a cunning way, the implementation of an authoritarian regime of fascist inspiration. Actions that first favored Aécio Neves in 2014 and then Bolsonaro in 2018 were meticulously carried out by a corrupt structure that started at the 13th Court in Curitiba, passed through the reviewing chamber of the TRF 4, by the rapporteur at the STJ and by the rapporteur at the STF, all coordinated to produce news with political repercussions and legal facts that conditioned the political electoral process to demoralize and defeat the PT and the left and condemn to prison some of its leaders, especially Lula.

The last achievement of this corruption of our justice system was the election of Bolsonaro. But for this feat another corrupt process had to be established, the one that compromised the command of the Brazilian Army with the candidacy of this captain kicked out of the force for indiscipline and conspiracy. Under the pretext of non-compliance with the works of the National Truth Commission, which shed a little more light on the crimes of the dictatorship and its executors, many of them military, a subversive movement was articulated under the aegis of Commander Vilas Boas. His intention was to seize power to refound Brazil through an intellectually indigent ideology that mixes an outdated anti-communism with the lure borrowed from the North American extreme right of a fight against “globalism, gramscism and cultural Marxism”, whatever that nonsense means.

These soldiers not only supported the conspiracy with Temer, but had been opening up the barracks to Bolsonaro's political proselytism for some time, partying at graduations and military ceremonies, as they continue to do today. The most regrettable thing about all this conspiracy is that it is clear to all that, in addition to the mediocrity of their ideology, the military who have taken over the government have no idea what to do. The most obvious expression of this is the pathetic General Pazuello, lost in the ministry of health in the midst of a pandemic.

But it is necessary to bring a third actor to this macabre plot, those whom Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr. called “the bufunfa gang”. His representative in this context is Guedes, the former Ipiranga post that had everything and proved that he has nothing. A mediocre economist trained at the church in Chicago in the early 1970s and who, after a teaching internship in Pinochet's Chile, showed his true talent as an articulator of successful moves in the speculation of the financial system.

With this operator, the financial bourgeoisie and its smaller partners in the productive sector and in agriculture rose to the status of formulators of economic policy. The result is regrettable. Its starting point is a silly and, moreover, malicious idea that sees the carrying out of “reforms” as a necessity to encourage economic growth. His proposals are all aimed at impoverishing the poor, enriching the rich and paralyzing public services by reducing their resources, as if that could produce any economic growth. Instead, what such reforms actually do is redistribute what already exists by keeping the economy stagnant, a form of accumulation by dispossession, as defined by David Harvey.

Coming now to the main character, Bozo, who announced that before building a project it was necessary to deconstruct a lot of things and he has been dedicating himself to this with dedication. All the institutions created to ensure access to the political, social and economic rights guaranteed in the Constitution, and which were slowly being established by democratic and popular governments in recent decades, have been under attack since the first day of their mandate. Popular participation in the State's decision-making bodies has been emasculated, as well as access to health, education and assistance has been reduced and rights have been suppressed. Democracy itself is being corrupted

But deconstruction is half the truth. There is also the gradual implantation of an authoritarian regime in which the incumbent of power dreams of becoming a dictator. Now, all despotism, defined the Greeks, has always been a form of corruption, of moral degeneration, an idea revived two thousand years later by Machiavelli when he spoke of the necessary virtu of the prince. In the case of Bolsonaro, and beyond his sociopathic perversion, this form of degradation is joined by another: his life is corruption. And corruption in the sense in which the word is being used these days, of an association of dishonest politicians with bandits to steal the State. He maintains friendly relations with criminals, is committed to the embezzlement of public money, forms a veritable gang with his children, all of whom are involved in misdeeds.

The corruption of justice and the armed forces, by destroying the political system of democracy, brought to Brazil the same result that in Italy was incidental: after Mãos Limpa, the corrupt Berlusconi. Here corruption went beyond the institutions of the judiciary and the military, it attacked the very soul of the nation. The creative, diverse and pacified Brazil of the democracy pact saw a horrendous return of the repressed emerge in this process in the form of hatred, intolerance and violence promoted by the corruption of Bolsonaro and his minions.

*Luiz Augusto E. Faria He is a professor of Economics and International Relations at UFRGS.



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