Caixa’s payroll loan scam

Magnus Thierfelder Tzotzis, 2019, Installation with water
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By CHICO WHITAKER*

This scam will make many people desperate with the debt that will result from it, when they stop receiving the Brazil Aid

In Brazil, we are all almost used to defending ourselves against hundreds of types of small and large scams – over the internet or hijacked to empty our accounts at a bank terminal. It's a process of continuous invention, by smart guys and big smart guys organized, sometimes with extremely sophisticated techniques, of new modalities to take money from the unwary, with each passing day. We are continually surprised by calls for attention with new scams – who doesn't receive warnings from the police and even banks, and doesn't suspect that these warnings are also new scams? It is therefore not surprising that a tremendous blow by the government itself suddenly took shape!

Speaking then with the victims of our country's smartest man: who warns a friend is. A lot of people tell us that this coup will leave a lot of people desperate with the debt that will result from it, when they stop receiving the Brazil Aid. But they also say that the objective of the President and his accomplices in this coup is shamefully immediate: to ensure that those who consider themselves benefited have the gratitude of re-electing, on October 30th, the current President of the Republic. If it works, it will have been the most gigantic electoral scam we've ever seen around here!

Many certainly received with joy the news of the granting, by Caixa Econômica Federal, of a “payroll loan” to beneficiaries of Auxilio Brasil – incidentally also anticipated with impunity. According to Caixa, the application to receive it had 11 million hits between the 20th and the 206th of October! She even had to suspend them on the 21st, “for system maintenance”, completely drowned… And also because naturally, in the land of scams, one calls another, and complaints began to multiply for the collection of unexpected fees and sales married.

Those who entered the queues that formed were certainly happy with the prospect of receiving money (up to 2.582 reais!), to pay off debts, buy things that were waiting for their turn, and even the food that was already missing. But it seems that not everyone realized that it was not a grant without consideration, but a loan, which could be up to 3.840 reais. That is, something heavy to repay. For what they will have paid to settle it (in 24 installments from 15 to 160 reais), also 1.259 in interest. All with a small detail: these installments will be automatically deducted from the Auxílio Brasil. But the distribution of this aid is scheduled from August to December of this year. That is, then, without this aid, from January 2023 onwards, the discharge will obviously have to come out of the pocket of the “beneficiary” (data from the Folha de São Paulo of 22/10/2022).

Are we all in Brazil so lacking in the capacity for indignation – from those who are so clearly victimized by this ongoing “electoral operation” to those who claim to be above sufferings such as unemployment and hunger, and are concerned with the necessary defense of democracy – that we are no longer capable of denouncing this coup to the whole country and voting en masse on October 30th against the continuity in power of a real gang?

Without having to go as deep as condemning the current President and his cronies for the policy of lies, violence, death and hatred that they have installed in our land (which this past Sunday was clearly demonstrated by one of his most furious minions), could it be that we don't see more how to punish, at least by vote, the crimes of the President in the face of the pandemic, or the multiplication of scams by his entire family, such as accumulating money to buy 150 properties? Could it be that we allow ourselves to be dominated by the trivialization of the unacceptable, and we no longer have the strength to shout a resounding Enough!

*Chico Whitaker is an architect and social activist. He was councilor in São Paulo. He is currently a consultant to the Brazilian Commission for Justice and Peace.

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