Highlights – XIX

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By BENICIO VIERO SCHMIDT*

Comments on recent events

Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential election is the subject of discussion in Brazil and around the world. Its first measures focus on facing the coronavirus. Biden invited a group of scientists – including Brazilian physician Luciana Borio – to draw up a strategy to combat the pandemic together, even during the Trump administration. In addition, it is signaled that environmental policies will undergo a sharp inflection. The “green economy” already on the rise in the US should acquire greater potential with the new presidency. Biden is largely in favor of clean energy and contrary to the interests of the large oil oligopolies. Soon we will be able to observe the effects of this new environmental policy and its impacts on Brazil and Latin America.

From an economic point of view, everything indicates that Biden will not revoke all of Trump's measures. He also proposes a kind of “soft protectionism”, which seeks to make the United States, once again, the center of innovation and production of goods that the 100st century consumes and produces. It is not yet known how the democratic government will deal with the current protectionist policies, established without any compensation for countries like Brazil. In the last stage of the Trump administration, taxes on laminates from Brazil increased by more than XNUMX%. Measures were also adopted regarding the local production of ethanol alcohol – to the detriment of Brazilian exports – in order to favor farmers in the American Midwest, Trump voters. Let's see if this situation will be changed, if another logic will be installed.

The municipal elections in Brazil are in the final stretch. The highlight, in addition to the rejection of Bolsonaro in large centers, is the use by the former captain of the Presidency of the Republic's communication network to support his preferred candidates, starting with his son, candidate for councilor in Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunate. It is no coincidence that jurists are drawing attention to the unconstitutionality of these actions.

The environment in Brazil remains on the agenda. The subject of the moment is the proposal of the Council of the Amazon, chaired by General Mourão, to control the NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) present in the Amazon. It is obvious that this is unconstitutional. NGOs do not need government authorization by definition, this goes against their principles. In addition, most of these NGOs are of a religious nature and have, incidentally, received substantial support from the government to operate in the Amazon. One more quarrel to stir up the environment, the environment, so to speak.

The economic measures that the government intends to adopt in relation to emergency aid, the continuation of the war economy against the coronavirus, are still on hold. The indecision about whether or not to maintain the law that stipulates a cap on government spending has not yet been resolved. That depends on who takes control of the House and Senate and the elections themselves. Meanwhile, the dollar is falling and the stock market is rising, in a clear allusion to the detension that Biden's election creates in the United States and in the subcontinent.

Finally, it is interesting to note the movement towards trying to reorganize the center-right field in Brazil with the trio Mouro, Huck and Dória. Undoubtedly, they claim the right to represent those parts that, coming from Bolsonarism, are unhappy with the current head of the nation. Let's see. It's a topic for the next few weeks.

*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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