Time to go for the jugular!

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By PAULO NOGUEIRA BATISTA JR.*

Who wants to watch another year and 8 months of destruction, sponsored by Bolsonaro and his XNUMXth rate team?

About a month ago, I wrote here in this column that the Bolsonaro government was on the ropes and could even fall. Some thought it was delirium and that I was confusing reality with my desires. In other words, they accused me of wishful thinking, How do you say it in english.

However, what has happened since then seems to confirm what I wrote: the government is reeling and really runs the risk of not reaching the end of its mandate. Bolsonaro lives his worst moment.

The fundamental factors in the government's recent weakening are known. I would highlight the delay and clashes in approving the 2021 budget, which caused a real political crisis, wore down the Minister of Economy and must have left an aftermath of mistrust between the government and its parliamentary base. More important than that: Lula's successive Supreme Court victories, which dramatically bolstered Bolsonaro's main political opponent.

But what weighs, without a doubt, above all, is the creation of the CPI of Covid in the Senate, with an unfavorable composition to the government and Renan Calheiros in the rapporteurship. Bolsonaro is visibly terrified of what might come out of this CPI. It could be the antechamber of impeachment.

Let's not fool ourselves, however. The government is not dead! It has many instruments of power. And it may even recover. I hope that Bolsonaro's political opponents do not make the mistake that Lula's political opponents made in 2005. Do the reader remember what happened? Lula was at his lowest point with the “mensalão” scandal. His main political arm, José Dirceu, had to leave the government. Lula looked finished.

His opponents decided, as I recall, not to proceed with the impeachment. They were afraid of Lula's deputy, José Alencar, who was a staunch critic of the financial system and high interest rates. Alencar, although a businessman, was on Lula's left in matters of economic policy. Better then let the President bleed to the end of the government and defeat him at the polls in 2006.

Fortunately, Lula recovered and defeated Alckmin in the second round of that year's elections. He went from there to a second period of government which, contrary to the “curse of the second term” rule, was much better than the first. Lula would leave the government in 2010 consecrated, with very high approval ratings. He elected, without major difficulties, his successor, Dilma Rousseff, a technocrat unknown to the general public. The people wanted to vote for “Lula's wife”. And she voted.

Couldn't a similar recovery happen with Bolsonaro? Politics is the realm of unpredictability. But imagine the following scenario, which is not implausible. With the advancement of vaccination in the second half of 2021, the epidemic situation begins to normalize and the economy recovers a little. Bolsonaro can then start singing victory again. Let's not forget that the Brazilian people have very low expectations, even modest ones. Little or nothing is expected from their rulers. And another: it is necessary to recognize that Bolsonaro, as detestable as he is, knows how to speak the popular language. There are only two prominent politicians at the moment who actually know how to talk to the people. Lula and, unfortunately, Bolsonaro.

That's why I say and repeat: it's time to go for the jugular! Liquidate, or begin to liquidate, this harmful, destructive, anti-national and anti-popular government at its weakest moment, that is, in the next, say, 3 or 4 months. And don't talk to me about a "coup". This government has committed serial crimes of responsibility. Grounds for impeachment, within the Constitution and the law, abound. Never has a government given so many reasons to have its mandate interrupted.

Is there a lack of people on the streets? So, let's go to the street! The revolt is such that many will respond to a call for mobilization. We cannot stay at home, cowed, afraid of the pandemic, passively watching the country be destroyed.

Are there reasons to fear Bolsonaro's vice president? Some say vice is “toxic”. But I don't think he poses a danger remotely comparable to that represented by Bolsonaro's continuation in the Presidency. Mourão was not elected, has no charisma, has no leadership. He will probably be a weak president, who will limit himself to leading the country, in a scenario of less turmoil, until the elections at the end of 2022. I could, of course, be completely wrong. But I don't believe.

It is also feared that Mourão in the Presidency will favor a candidacy from the traditional right, currently called the “third way”. This non-Bolsonarist right-wing candidate, the false “center”, would probably have the support of a federal government chaired by Mourão. But so what? Better for Lula to face such a reasonably civilized candidate than to run the risk of losing to Bolsonaro.

The Lula reader will say: but Lula is the favorite, Bolsonaro will be very worn out, Lula will win the elections in the second round anyway, etc. It might as well be. But it's a risk we shouldn't take! Bolsonaro’s re-election may even be a low or medium probability event – ​​and even that is debatable – but, in case of materialization of this risk, the result is catastrophic for the country. Four more years of ineptitude, retrograde ideas, lack of project, perversity and destruction of the State, Brazilian society and the Nation itself. This is the kind of risk that we can't run.

And here's more: who wants to watch another year and 8 months of destruction, sponsored by Bolsonaro and his fifth-rate team? The first two years and four months have already shown what they are capable of. Is it not enough already?

One conjecture to finish. The traditional right, which presents itself as a “third way”, only seems viable as a second via. Everything indicates that the false “center” is only competitive in the 2022 elections if Bolsonaro or Lula leave the race. Lula can no longer take it out. But it is an illusion to imagine that the bufunfa gang has already resigned itself to Lula's new presidency. They will even accept it, if there is no remedy. But they want to work on another candidacy, I believe.

Will the electoral calculations of the non-Bolsonarist right favor impeachment? So be it.

*Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr. he was vice-president of the New Development Bank, established by the BRICS in Shanghai, and executive director at the IMF for Brazil and ten other countries. Author, among other books, of Brazil doesn't fit in anyone's backyard: backstage of the life of a Brazilian economist in the IMF and the BRICS and other texts on nationalism and our mongrel complex (LeYa.)

Extended version of article published in the journal Capital letter, on April 30, 2021.

 

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