under the rubble

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By JOSÉ LUÍS FIORI*

The fingerprints of a guardian

“In this situation that Brazil is experiencing, it remains to ask the institutions and the people who is really thinking about the good of the country and future generations and who is only concerned with personal interests?” (Gal. Eduardo Villa Boas) [1].

The sum of facts and figures leaves no room for doubt that the Brazilian government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic was absolutely disastrous, if not criminal; and its mass vaccination plan for the population is chaos, if not a decoy. There are already 7,5 million Brazilians infected and approximately 200 have died so far, and the authorities continue to bang their heads daily, as if they were a bunch of irresponsible and mocking clowns.

And despite all this, General Eduardo Pazuello remains Minister of Health, without understanding pandemics, planning or logistics. Simply because he is just another nullity of a government that does not exist, that has no objective or strategy, and that is not capable of formulating public policies that have a beginning, middle and end.

Therefore, the failure in the face of the pandemic is repeated monotonously in all plans and areas of action of a government that is content to watch, with an air of mockery, the physical and moral disintegration of Brazilian society, while encouraging division, hatred and violence among citizens themselves. It is the same disregard and omission with life that this government has been maintaining in the face of the advance of the ecological devastation of the Amazon Forest, the Cerrado Region and the Pantanal, with numbers that have been causing a worldwide uprising against Brazil.

Just look at the numbers to measure the size of the disaster, starting with the economy, which had already been stagnant since before the pandemic. The forecast for the Brazilian GDP for the year 2020 is for a drop of around 5%, although the Brazilian GDP had already been falling in 2018 and 2019, when it grew by only 1,1%. But what is more important, the economy's investment rate, which was 20,9% in 2013, dropped to 15,4% in 2019 and should fall much more in 2020, according to the forecasts of the main national financial agencies. and international. To make matters worse, capital outflows from the country, which had reached R$44,9 billion in 2019 – the highest since 2006 – almost doubled in 2020, rising to R$87,5 billion and signaling a distrust and growing aversion of international investors towards the government of Mr Bolsonaro and his minister Paulo Guedes, despite his celebrated labor and social security reforms.

For this very reason, in 2019 Brazil was simply excluded from the Global Confidence Index for Foreign Investment published by AT Kearney, an American consultancy that brings the names of the 25 most attractive countries in the world for foreign investors, the same index according to which Brazil occupied the third position in the years 2012/2013. At the same time, the participation of industry in the national GDP, which was 17,8% in 2004, fell to 11% in 2019, and should fall even more in 2020/2021; and unemployment, which was 4,7% in 2014, rose to 14,3% in 2020, and is expected to continue rising this year.

The Brazilian industry is facing a shortage of raw materials and, according to DIEESE, the country has already accumulated, in 2020, an inflation rate of 12,14% in the price of foods that more directly affect the consumption of the poorest families. From another angle, experts are predicting an electrical blackout for the year 2021, as has already happened in the state of Amapá. And now, at the end of 2020, Brazil has an energy deficit and imports energy from Uruguay and Argentina, which explains the Red Flag 2 that will start to weigh on consumers' pockets in 2021.

Still regarding the state of the country's infrastructure, the National Transport Confederation has been warning that the general state of Brazilian highways has deteriorated in 2019, and 59% of the paved road network now has serious maintenance and circulation problems. Finally, as an inevitable consequence of this physical destruction, the Brazilian economy suffered one of the biggest reversals in its modern history, ceasing to be the 6th or 7th largest in the world in the 2010s, to become the 12th in 2020, and should fall further more, to the 13th place, in 2021, according to the prediction of Center for Economics and Business Research published by the newspaper The Straits Times, from Singapore.

The social consequences of this economic destruction were predictable. Even before the pandemic, in 2019, 170 Brazilians returned to the state of extreme poverty, where approximately 13,8 million already lived, a number that is expected to grow exponentially after the end of “emergency aid”, further increasing the unemployment rate in 2021. The new reality created by the ultraliberal fanaticism of Mr. Guedes was immediately portrayed in the new ranking ranking of the United Nations, the HDI, which measures the “quality of life” of populations, in which Brazil dropped five positions, going from 79th to 84th place between 2018 and 2020. In the same period, Brazil became the country with the second highest concentration of income in the world, behind only Qatar, and the eighth most unequal in the world, behind only seven African countries.

Finally, it is impossible to complete this assessment of the debris of this government without mentioning the destruction of Brazil's international image, conducted in an explicit and slanderous way by the biblical and delusional idiot who occupies the chancellery. The same one who commanded the tragicomic “humanitarian invasion” of Venezuela in 2019, at the head of his failed Lima Group; the same one that failed in its attempt to imitate the United States and promote a change of government and regime in Bolivia, through a coup d'état; the same one that has already picked fights with at least 11 countries in the international community that were former partners of Brazil; the same one that launched a beatific war against China, Brazil's biggest international economic partner; the same one that managed to defeat, in a few weeks, two Brazilian candidacies in international organizations; the same one that got Brazil excluded from the International Climate Conference, held by the UN in December 2020; and finally, the same thing that he celebrated with his Itamaraty subordinates, the fact that Brazil had been transformed, under his management, into an “international pariah”.

Something truly unprecedented and that needs no additional comment coming from a dazzled young man who was practically nominated by John Bolton and Mike Pompeo – the pair of “hawks” who jointly commanded the government’s foreign policy for a few months by Donald Trump.

At the end of the second year of this government, it is immediately understandable why most of those who participated in the 2016 coup d'état, and who later supported Mr Bolsonaro's government, are abandoning ship and moving to the opposition. The young “crusaders from Curitiba”, having fulfilled the mission entrusted to them and after their five minutes of celebrity, are fleeing or returning to their anonymity, while sinking in the mud of their own corruption. The mainstream conservative press has changed and is now dedicated to attacking the government on a daily basis, while the traditional center and centre-right parties, which have been together with Mr Bolsonaro since the 2016 coup, are now stepping aside and trying to build a parliamentary opposition bloc. .

And even the “market” seems increasingly dissatisfied with its Economy Minister, who was once celebrated as the Joan of Arc of the ultraliberal revolution in Brazil. Thus, at the moment, the government only has the political support of the physiological underworld of the National Congress, which the press delicately calls “centrão”, the same world in which Mr Bolsonaro vegetated for 28 years in the most absolute anonymity, in nine different parties. .

This parliamentary group has always been and will always be attached to any government that offers it advantages, but it never had and will never have the autonomous capacity to form or sustain a government on its own. That is why, after two years of this disgrace, there is a question that cannot be silenced: how does this mambembe government sustain itself, despite the destruction it is leaving behind?

It used to be more difficult, but today the answer is absolutely clear, because as the other relevant partners moved away, what was left in fact was a simulacrum of a military government, absolutely shabby. Just look at the numbers, since everyone knows that the president himself and his deputy are military, one a captain and the other a reserve general.

But in addition to them, 11 of the current 23 government ministers are also military, and the Minister of Health himself is an active-duty general, all at the head of a veritable army made up of 6.157 active-duty and reserve officers who occupy key posts in various government levels. According to extra-official data, there are 4.450 from the Army, 3.920 from the Air Force and 76 from the Navy, a number that is perhaps even greater than that of official PSDB and PT militants who occupied government posts during their governments in past decades.

That is why, after two years, it is difficult to cover the sky with a sieve and try to separate the FFAA from Mr Bolsonaro, not only due to the extent and degree of personal involvement of the military installed inside the Palácio da Alvorada, but also due to the level and intensity of the Regular contacts and meetings held during these two years between generals and retired and active officers, inside and outside the government, especially between the highest levels of the two institutions. After all that, it would be like trying to separate two eggs from the same eggnog.

That said, the failure of this government will have a heavy impact on the prestige and credibility of the Brazilian FFAA, putting a damper on the myth of the technical and moral superiority of the military in relation to ordinary mortals. It is now becoming crystal clear, once and for all, that the military was not trained to govern. One thing are its geopolitics manuals and gymnastics and war exercises, another thing entirely are the knowledge and accumulated experience indispensable for formulating any type of public policy, even more so for proposing to govern a country with the size and the complexity of Brazil.

Furthermore, it has also become clear from recent history that the assumption of the moral superiority of the military is just a myth, because the military is just as human and corruptible as everyone else. homo sapiens. It is enough to remember the recent episode of the irregular request, by hundreds of military personnel, for “emergency aid” destined for the poorest people, in the first phase of the pandemic in Brazil. It is estimated that there were more than 50 thousand cases of irregularities denounced by the Federal Court of Auditors and that they had to return the aid to the public coffers. But even after the return of values ​​acquired irregularly, what this episode teaches is that there is no reason to believe that the soldiers are above suspicion and that they are completely infense to "worldly temptations".

Incidentally, there is no more exemplary case of the failure of this belief in the superiority of military judgment than what happened to the former Commander-in-Chief of the Brazilian Air Force, who, self-convinced of his “strategic genius” and his great “moral wisdom” decided to endorse on behalf of the FFA, and personally oversee the operation that led to the presidency of the country an aggressive, crude and despicable psychopath, surrounded by a bunch of scoundrels with no moral principles, and true ideological buffoons, who together pretend that have governed Brazil for two years. Let it serve as an example so that people who consider themselves superior and enlightened, with the right to decide on behalf of society, do not wear a uniform, toga, cassock or pajamas.

In the 1946th century, the military made an important contribution to the industrialization of the Brazilian economy, but also contributed decisively to the construction of an extremely unequal, violent and authoritarian society. And they castrated an entire progressive generation that could have contributed to the advancement of the democratic system installed in XNUMX. Even so, now in the XNUMXst century, the new generation of soldiers, much more mediocre, is dedicating itself to destroying what they had done best in the last century.

For all and all, it seems that the time is coming for Brazilian society to get rid of these “savior myths” and return its military to their barracks and their constitutional functions. Assume once and for all, with courage and with your own hands, the responsibility of building a new country that has your face, and that is made in your image and likeness, with its great defects, but also with its great virtues. May it be a proud and sovereign country, fairer and less violent, that respects differences and all beliefs, and that it will once again be more human, fraternal and fun. And that Brazil will once again be accepted, admired and respected by the rest of the world. These are my wishes for the year 2021.

PS.: In honor of my great friend Luiz Alberto Gomes de Souza, who passed away on December 30, 2020, and who was a great warrior in the fight against the military dictatorship and against inequality and injustice in Brazilian society.

* Jose Luis Fiori Professor at the Graduate Program in International Political Economy at UFRJ. Author, among other books, of Brazil in space (Voices).

Note


[1] Statement by General Eduardo Villas Boas, made on April 3, 2018, the eve of the trial of the request for habeas corpus filed by the defense of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. It was read at the time as an explicit pressure from the then Commander-in-Chief of the FFAA on the STF, in favor of condemning the former president and for his exclusion from the 2018 presidential race. animus, Legal Consultant 11/11/2018, www.conjur.com.brdeclaracao.

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