Highlights – XV

Image: Stela Grespan


Commentary on recent events

A serious problem for Brazil and for future generations – of tragic dimensions – is the intensity of deforestation, deforestation and other environmental disasters both in the Amazon and in the Pantanal. During the week, the Pantanal should benefit from the rains that are beginning to fall in the Midwest region. Even so, what happens there is a major disaster in which four million square meters of vegetation were decimated by a drought and a series of fires probably caused by people interested in land grabbing and the expansion of livestock and soybeans.

On the other hand, it is worth highlighting the document, signed by international organizations, NGOs and some Brazilian banks, sent to the government requesting immediate measures in relation to the environmental disasters that are happening in the Pantanal and in the Amazon. They justify the requirement by the need to guarantee the current level of access for Brazilian agribusiness exports to the foreign consumer market. For the first time in history, NGOs and large companies, such as Klabin, for example, sign a document together.

The first opinion polls about the municipal elections point to a close dispute, especially in São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro and probably Belo Horizonte, although in the latter the current mayor, candidate for re-election, has the support of the majority of the electorate (54%). In this initial stage of the campaigns, two things stand out: (a) the attempts, made by almost all the candidates, to nationalize the election and (b) the lack of protagonism of the PT, a large party that has the largest bench of the Chamber of Deputies and with own or affiliated candidates in virtually all Brazilian capitals.

On September 22, we will have the opening of the International Assembly of the United Nations, as usual, with the inaugural speech by the President of Brazil. Following the route of his classic denialism, the president will probably tell untruths, citing unproven facts such as Brazil's alleged economic success (while the country is experiencing a record drop in economic activity). He should also say that there are only a few scattered fires in the Pantanal and the Amazon, which will do nothing to reduce the negative image of the country abroad.

Lastly, budget cuts. With the partial paralysis of Congress due to the difficulties arising from the pandemic, we are witnessing an accumulation of incisive cuts, whether in policies to protect women, in environmental protection policies or in labor inspection policies. Such cuts seek to transfer revenues for the creation of a program along the lines of the announced Renda Brasil, in a different strategy from the one defended a few days ago by the Secretary of Finance of the Ministry of Economy.

These cuts made evident the paralysis in the execution of government policies, even with the existence of resources to do so. The degree of use of available resources has been very low, especially in education – as recognized by the current minister –, in programs to protect women, in environmental policies and so on.

*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).

See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • A look at the 2024 federal strikelula haddad 20/06/2024 By IAEL DE SOUZA: A few months into government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis