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Comments on recent events

The first thing to highlight, in the events of recent days, is the role of the STF, which is not new, because it has already interfered, even very recently, in health policy, freeing only municipalities and states to make decisions and prohibiting the Federal Union from deciding on these federative entities, and other measures, such as the annulment of the appointment of the general director of the Federal Police.

This time, the STF's protagonism rests on much more complicated issues, one of which is the complaint about the legal nature of the investigation led by Minister Alexandre de Moraes. Even considering that the individuals investigated by the Federal Police are recognized as aggressors of the STF, the question remains: wouldn't the STF be judging in its own defense? I do not consider this legal discussion relevant, since what is at stake is basically Brazilian democracy and the very existence of interdependent powers.

The second relevant aspect of this protagonism – regardless of the strict legality of this process, a topic that will be much discussed from now on by jurists and politicians – is the fact that it politically produces a very negative effect for the government. It is a relevant effect because it shows the government, vis-à-vis public opinion, that it is necessary to be careful, as there is someone attentive with the power to intervene. I consider the political effect more important than the merely legal effect, since the latter may even be stopped in a short time, resulting in nothing but the fear of those deviant behaviors on the part of those audited by the Federal Police.

All of this, once again, contributes to government instability that undermines the fight against the coronavirus and economic decay, which is already quite visible. While European countries and even the United States are discussing plans to remake fundamental low-carbon policies, trying to raise resources to think about another type of industrial civilization, Brazil is isolated, remaining aloof and outside these chains of decisions and thinking and innovation.

In this sense, I believe that international pressure on the Brazilian government will become increasingly present from now on, whether from the point of view of foreign trade, with Europe announcing a possible boycott of Brazilian products, or due to the fact that Brazil stay out of the chains of decision on innovation, which is very serious. Take the case of the coronavirus vaccine. Many countries are racing to find a vaccine as soon as possible, an effort supported by international resources. Brazil is isolated outside this circuit.

There is no lack of reasons for us to continue trepidating, nervous, without knowing very well what direction things will take, although it will probably follow the same path that is being defined now. We continue in the midst of many setbacks, many accidents, few decisions and contempt, a naturalization of the coronavirus that is killing more than a thousand people a day.

*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).

Article established from a debate produced by the consultancy powerr.

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