Letter to Citizen Lula

Image: Kaique Rocha


Considerations on the current situation and thirteen suggestions for an eventual Lula government

According to a study by FGV, the next government will inherit the tax loss of R$ 430 billion. Almost 6% of GDP. This data alone gives dimension to the real debacle in the management of the economy of the Bolsonaro government, which boasts an unemployment rate of around 11% and has pushed millions of Brazilians into misery and hunger, who even look for food in the garbage. Inflation reached two digits, with the consequent erosion of family income and the lowering of quality of life.

In the field of education, we are perplexed by the exchange of problematic ministers at the helm of the MEC. The first was Ricardo Vélez Rodriguez, follower of the charlatan Olavo de Carvalho. In the three months he held the post, his administration was marked by the proposal to rewrite the history books to characterize the 1964 coup d'état as a “countercoup” to stop communism.

Worn out by friction with the military, he was replaced by Abraham Weintraub, also a disciple of Olavo de Carvalho, who remained at the head of the MEC for a year and two months. During this period, he became involved with controversies. He was responsible for questions about the 2019 Enem and tried to interfere with the appointment of deans at federal universities. Extrapolating his functions, he participated in acts against the STF, calling its members “vagabonds”, in addition to proposing the arrest of some of them and asking for the closure of Congress.

He was replaced by Carlos Decotelli, who did not take over, as the plagiarism in his master's thesis and the lie in his curriculum were revealed in time, according to which he would be a doctor at the University of Rosario (Argentina) and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wuppertal (Germany), titles denied by the institutions. Bolsonaro then announced the name of the evangelical pastor Milton Ribeiro for the MEC. His management lasted eighteen months and was marked by statements that led the Attorney General's Office to denounce him to the STF for the crime of homophobia. He took a stand against the coexistence of children with disabilities in schools and was the target of accusations that led the Federal Police to open an investigation to investigate corruption, influence peddling and prevarication in his administration. Several servants of Inep (National Institute of Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira) resigned claiming inoperative management, moral harassment and undue interference in the autarchy. Exonerated from the portfolio, Milton Ribeiro was even arrested.

In the political-military sphere, Jair Bolsonaro is at the center of an unprecedented crisis in the history of the Republic. The then Minister of Defense, General Fernando Azevedo e Silva, was fired for refusing to disrespect the Constitution, as Bolsonaro wanted. Following this episode, the commanders of the Army (General Edson Leal Pujol), the Navy (Admiral Ilques Barbosa) and the Air Force (Brigadier Antônio Carlos Bermudez) presented their resignations, in solidarity with the exonerated Minister of Defense.

In contrast, soldiers who are docile to Bolsonaro are awarded super wages, as is the case with Admiral Bento de Albuquerque, who received more than one million gross reais in two months of 2020. General Walter Braga Netto, current candidate for vice-president of the Republic, recently earned more than R$ 900.000,00. But these are not isolated cases. There are a multitude of soldiers who earn super wages, which is a mockery to millions of Brazilians with an income of one minimum wage.

Illegal mining, mainly in the Amazon, devastates rivers, polluted with mercury. The devastation of forests has reached record rates, with the multiplication of illegal logging and criminal burnings. Extensions equivalent to the area of ​​the state of São Paulo become devastated lands.

However, among other harms of the Bolsonaro (mis)government, the neglect of the health of the population in times of the coronavirus pandemic is looming. Declarations and actions against vaccination of the population. The president boasts that he has not been vaccinated and advertises ineffective remedies such as chloroquine. With almost 700.000 (seven hundred thousand) victims of the coronavirus, Jair Bolsonaro's responsibility for this index is undeniable, which led part of public opinion to call him genocidal.

It was never imagined that Brazil would be vilified by the President of the Republic, as happened in the meeting with ambassadors from several countries. His attack on electronic voting machines, praised internationally as a model, has come to be an embarrassment to the international community, which has spoken out against the president's speech. Never has Brazil been so disgraced before the concert of nations.

Citizen Lula, in the face of so much disgrace and so much shame, and in the event that you win the election for the presidency of the Republic, in the year 2022, I believe that you will have the rare opportunity to enter the history of Brazil as a great statesman. For this, he must face enormous challenges with courage and competence. In this sense and as a collaboration, I simply make thirteen suggestions, among others that can be made.

(1) That in the four years of the mandate, Brazil meets the goal of 100% of sewage treatment. Sanitation can be understood as preventive medicine, for the benefit of millions of people, which would greatly alleviate SUS costs.

(2) Contribution of material resources so that the SUS presents a service of quality and excellence.

(3) Allocation of 20% of the GDP to education, valuing the teaching profession, whose minimum salary must be, at least (in 2023), R$ 8.000,00 (eight thousand reais) for a forty-hour week : twenty hours per teaching exercise in the classroom and twenty hours dedicated to study, lesson preparation, preparation and evaluation of tests and student work, among other pedagogical work.

(4) Allocation of at least 5% of GDP to scientific research and technology in the three major areas of knowledge: humanities, exact sciences and biology.

(5) Creation of a Ministry dedicated to agriculture, livestock and fisheries, with policies that favor such activities.

(6) Activation of a Ministry dedicated to industry and commerce, with policies to encourage development and the generation of formal jobs.

(7) Taxation of large fortunes and implementation of public policies that reduce social disparities and favor the generation of formal jobs.

(8) Extinction of mandatory military service, with the professionalization of the Armed Forces.

(9) Strong investment in rail transport.

(10) Strengthening of IBAMA for a radical defense of the biosphere (ecosphere), in the fight against deforestation, fires and global warming.

(11) Investment in renewable forms of energy and, especially, construction of nuclear power plants, the best clean energy solution.

(12) Political reform, with the adoption of mixed district voting and clauses restricting the abundance of inexpressive political parties.

(13) Intransigent defense of the democratic rule of law.

*José de Paula Ramos Jr. is a professor at the Department of Journalism and Publishing at ECA-USP. author of Readings of Macunaíma: First Wave (1928-1936) (edusp).


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