Pindorama's Exhaustion

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By ANDRÉ MÁRCIO NEVES SOARES*

The deaths of Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips are the tragic outcome of yet another monstrous period that began with the 2016 parliamentary coup

I feel that Brazilian society as a whole is exhausted! We are exhausted by the immense strength of living in the least precarious way possible. Confirmation of the deaths of the indigenist Bruno Pereira and the English journalist Dom Phillips was announced. It seems to me that this is the tragic outcome of yet another monstrous period that began back there, with the parliamentary coup against President Dilma Rousseff in 2016. No wonder, since the brief government of the interim/coup leader Michel Temer, the country has been just downhill. Indeed, the dismantling of public institutions also reached its tragic apex with the privatization of Eletrobrás, at the end of the proto-fascist government of Jair Bolsonaro. It is an 8-year sequence that, compounded by external factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has once again placed the country on the world hunger map.

In this context, for a society with almost no memory, I think it is important to recall the main internal facts (as I mentioned the external ones above) that led Brazil back to this calamitous situation. Let's start with Temer the Brief:

26 million unemployed. A government that went down in history marked by informality and unemployment; Government also marked by the highest rejection rates, with only 6% approval at the end of the buffer mandate; Government responsible, proportionally, for the record number of corruption scandals, such as the JBS case; In 2017, we broke the public debt record, which reached R$3,56 trillion (75% of GDP); Establishment of a public spending ceiling for 20 years, in practice making the country unfeasible in the medium term by stifling future investments in health and education, for example, limiting inflation in the period; Social Security Reform, with only age-based retirement being valid – 65 years for men, 62 years for women. In addition, the contribution period was extended to 20 years for men and 15 years for women. For civil servants, the contribution time was set at 25 years for both; Labor reform, with more than a hundred points of the CLT amended with the sole and exclusive intention of making labor relations more precarious, with the withdrawal of several historically conquered worker rights.

In summary, this was the result of the Temer government. Of course, much more occurred during his brief “reign”. No one should forget the complaints about the renovation of his daughter's house or the accusations about bribes from companies that operate in the port of Santos. It is a fact that these denunciations came to nothing, but the old maxim that “where there is smoke, there is fire” is even more valid here.

Now let's move on to the Bolsonaro government. This one is not over yet, it is true, but as it is unlikely that he will give a “sticky horse” in his also brief history (we hope so), to truly turn in favor of the less favored, I understand that it is now possible to also recall his main facts so far. Here they are, not necessarily in chronological order:

The fact that will most mark the Bolsonaro government in history was its denial of the seriousness of the pandemic. In fact, by disqualifying the coronavirus as a “little flu”, and all the actions inherent to this denial, in addition to creating friction with governors and mayors, blaming them for social isolation, Bolsonaro can be considered the main responsible for the more than 665 thousand deaths already recorded by COVID-19.

The children involved with problems in the Judiciary and the constant friction with the STF; Destruction of the Bolsa-Família program to create Auxílio-Brasil, in practice “more of the same”, forced by the pandemic, but much less than the previous one, now that the majority of the Brazilian population has been vaccinated. The result is hunger.

Acceleration of the privatization program, with a record collection of R$ 227 billion, through the sale of state-owned subsidiaries, notably Petrobrás, and shares held by the Union and its companies. This without considering the privatization of Eletrobrás, which will increase this amount by almost 50%.

Countless scandals hushed up with the support of the “centrão”, such as the Covaxin vaccine, the Queiroz case and the check for the first lady, the bribe for the purchase of vaccines for COVID-19, the multiplication of the children’s assets, the case of the logging companies in Pará, the secret budget spree, fraud in the acquisition of high-cost medicines, cocaine seized on the presidential plane, the astonishing expense with the corporate card, the ghost employee Wal do Açaí, the 2018 campaign cashier, among so many others.

Climate denial and nature on fire, especially the Amazon, but not just the Amazon. The devastation breaks all records monthly, in the same proportion as the increase in land grabbing in the Union, and the consequent increase in armed conflicts in these places. It is the greatest environmental destruction that can be the responsibility of a president of the republic, in just 4 years of government; the highest double-digit inflation ever recorded in Brazil since the beginning of the Lula government in 2003.

It is the first election, since the end of the military dictatorship, that the president of the time casts doubt on the legality of the elections, even before they end (for those who remember, Aécio Neves did this in 2014 when he lost the election to Dilma Rousseff).

Having made this small inventory of the horrors that were perpetrated against the country, beyond just human society, I affirm that it is now necessary for us to understand the current situation in Brazil. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the ill-fated moment in which I write could be a watershed for our civilizing well-being, if we understand the greatest catastrophe that lies ahead, if most of us Brazilians re-elect this government once again . Otherwise, let's see[1]:

Approximately 106 million Brazilians survived on BRL 13,83 a day in 2021. Of these, the poorest 50% in the Northeast survived on just BRL 8,31 a day per family member last year. In 2021, the poorest 5% of the population survived on a measly R$39 a month per person, that is, R$1,30 per person per day. In relation to the beginning of the pandemic, the fall in the income of these miserable was 33,9%. 77% of families in the country are currently in debt. Of these, 28,7% are in default. It is the highest index since 2010, since the survey by the National Confederation of Commerce (CNC) began.

Parallel to this situation, the basic interest rate, Selic, is now at 12,75% per year, triple that of last year and the highest value since February/2017. Inflation, in turn, is in the double digits, something that has not happened since November/2015. The average income of the Brazilian had a record drop in 2021, and reached its lowest value in 10 years. If in 2020 it was BRL 2.386, in 2021 it is around BRL 2.265, the lowest level since 2012.

As for the poorest social segment of the population that depends on assistance programs to survive, these incomes, such as the Bolsonaro government’s emergency aid, fell from 28,3% to 24,8%, causing a 30,1% drop in the average. of that source of income.

The unequivocal consequence of all these data is the “naked and raw” return of hunger in Brazil. Or rather, given that it never ended among us, despite its cooling off between 2003 – 2012, one can see the “unseen eyes” the rampant advance of hunger throughout Brazil. In this sense, according to 2nd. National Survey on Food Insecurity in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Brazil, carried out by the Brazilian Research Network on Sovereignty and Food and Nutritional Security (PENSSAN Network), the country currently has 33,1 million people who do not have enough to eat daily, almost twice as many people starve by the estimates of 2020. In absolute numbers, there are 14 million more people going hungry in Brazil.

Of course, there are many more statistical data that corroborate what is said above. Wherever information is sought, the truth is that Brazil has been the victim of an armed robbery (literally) for almost 8 years. The delivery of pre-salt to foreign companies is a clear example of this. However, this is not the most apparent robbery, despite being equally harmful for the country.

In this moment of famine, it is necessary to be very attentive to the surroundings of national politics, because the perspective of a smooth change of government, according to the will of the voters, as determined by full democracy, is very threatened. In fact, the political movements of the current president, together with his entourage of soldiers installed in all spheres of power, reinforce the fears of the most perspicacious that the transition to an eventual new PT government will not be peaceful.

Therefore, it is imperative to bear in mind the following facts: The threat of a possible military coup is very real. Despite the mainstream media treating the matter as yet another braggadocio of the current president, the truth is that all indications point to this. Starting with the routine agenda on the legitimacy of the ballot boxes by the government. Last week, military actors complained that the TSE was not honoring them.

Last week, the rentier group XP also canceled the publication of an electoral poll, under strong pressure from Bolsonarists. O "think thanksThe ultraconservative ICL (Instituto Conservador Liberal) of Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, is more active than ever. He has been promoting increasingly aggressive lectures and speeches against all his father's opponents, especially against the STF.

The American newspaper "The New York Times" published a report last Sunday, 12/06/2022, saying that President Jair Bolsonaro has the support of the military to try to promote a coup d'état in Brazil according to the results of the next elections.[2]

The news site Brazil 247 published today that Bolsonaro's allies on the plateau are more pessimistic after the latest polls. For them, it was time for the current president to come close to the voting intentions of his main opponent, former president Lula. In practice, polls are indicating just the opposite, that is, even the possibility of a victory for Lula in the first round.[3]

I started this text informing the death of the indigenist Bruno Pereira and the English journalist Dom Phillips. It's only right that you break up with them. Indeed, more than reporting their deaths, it is necessary to praise their courage and commitment to such a noble cause – the maintenance of life in the Amazon rainforest and the people who inhabit it. In this regard, even if everything we are receiving as news is tragic, it is necessary that men of this greatness continue to persevere in the fight for a better world. Yes, a better world. Because the Amazon goes far beyond mere regionality and they knew it. The photos and videos that we all saw of Dom and Bruno in the region show that, above all, they were committed to teaching the people of the region how important they are.

Therefore, and due to everything already mentioned above, this macabre episode in our history, along with so many others such as the murder of Chico Mendes, the massacre of Eldorado do Carajás and the murder of Dorothy Stang, among others, must be the time frame of the new civilizing turn of Brazilian society.

It is no longer possible to live with this lawless country that has become Brazil in these last 4 years. If this mob is re-elected, it is possible that the country will arrive in 2026 in a worse situation than when the Republic was founded, more than a century ago. All possible social and economic indicators point to this. Indeed, we are the country with one of the lowest investment rates in the world, since Vietnam and the Dominican Republic overtook us in the 1990s.[4]

As is known, without a minimum of investment there is no job creation, economic growth, improvement in the quality of life, etc. The Brazilian people do not deserve to be recolonized. I hope that the death of these two selfless and lovers of our country's most rooted culture was not again in vain.

* André Márcio Neves Soares is a doctoral candidate in social policies and citizenship at the Catholic University of Salvador (UCSAL).

 

Notes


[1] All data presented, and many others, can be consulted at the IBGE, according to the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (continuous PNAD), for the year 2021, released on the last day 10/06/2022. In addition, some data was collected from the survey by the National Confederation of Commerce (CNC), carried out last month; and the 2nd. National Survey on Food Insecurity in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Brazil, carried out by the Brazilian Network for Research in Sovereignty and Food and Nutritional Security (PENSSAN Network), released on the last day 08/06/2022;

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/12/world/americas/brazil-election-bolsonaro-military.html?searchResultPosition=4

[3] https://www.brasil247.com/brasil/apos-pesquisas-pessimismo-toma-conta-de-aliados-de-bolsonaro-no-planalto

[4] https://www.ihu.unisinos.br/619585-caminho-do-fracasso-brasil-tem-uma-das-menores-taxas-de-investimento-do-mundo

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