Echoes from Brazil
The 2014 Elections in Perspective
There is a remarkable effort to oblige the elector to do what he does not want to, simply for lack of options. This effort is evident in the massive and brutal pressure of the media – spoken and written – to favor the left. The people have no chance to express their opinion.
Top, Katia Abreu shamelesssly gives her public support to communist president Dilma; bottom, Bishop Demetrio Valentini endorses Rousseff's platform
Nonetheless, as election day approaches, she appears in photo-ops as a friend of representatives of the rural landowners. She is also visiting members of the Landowners Association who, unfortunately, are giving support to her. Kátia Abreu, for example, president of the National Federation of Agriculture, the main organ of ranchers, farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs, received Rousseff with open arms.
Marina Silva, candidate of the Socialist Brazilian Party (PSB), adds a radical green agenda to her socialist program. Notwithstanding, her campaign has been financed by Maria Alice Setubal, heir to the owner of Brazil’s second largest private bank, Bank Itaú.
In an article published September 7, 2014, in the Folha of São Paulo, journalist Ricardo Mendonça notes, “With the support of a growing right and center-right, it appears that Marina Silva will come in even with President Dilma Rousseff in the first round of the elections for president, and will defeat the latter in the second round.”
At the same time, the strength of the right and center-right electorate is clearly strong, but they lack a representative in the political scenario.
This current could find its spokesman in Senator Aécio Neves, ex-governor of the State of Minas Gerais and head of the PSDB – Brazilian Social Democratic Party. In thesis this would be the party of the opposition, but Neves has avoided “polemical subjects;” he is only concerned about a show of efficiency and good administration. He should be the natural candidate of the conservatives, but he is not. The media, leaders of entrepreneurs, the financial world and his political partisans also do not lend him support or encourage him.
The entrepreneur class
An expressive leader of Brazilian entrepreneurs is Salim Matar, who took on the task of defending free initiative and allowing more investment opportunities. In a recent interview with Veja magazine, he complained about the exaggerated growth of the State, the raise in taxes and the anti-capitalist position of the PT, which has had three successive terms (12 years) in the government.
As Rousseff eats in a simple restaurant, an 80 year-old woman tells her: 'You are a liar. You destroyed my retirement. We had enough of you. Go away.'
About the possibility of the socialist candidate Marina Silva becoming president he said: “Any new government will work if it ends the hegemony of the PT. When this happens, the country will improve. The present day government (PT) has a platform against capitalism, free market, foreign investments, ethics, and liberty of individuals and the press. The victory of any other candidate will end this hegemony of the PT. No one can bear it any longer!”
Asked about the position of the entrepreneur class, he replied: “The majority of entrepreneurs wants a change. Many of them do not speak out of fear of retaliation. Every day we hear a new story [of reprisals]. This government uses its force and power and generates fear.”
The military class
A recent episode that took place in the high level of the military milieu sent the government the message that it has lost the confidence of the military. During a a ceremony commemorating Soldiers Day on August 25, four-star General Antônio Martins Mourão, military commander of southern Brazil – the most powerful army of the country – said these words to high ranking officials and his troops: “We still have many internal enemies obstructing our pathway toward progress. Those who imagine we are not vigilant and prepared are mistaken. Let them come!”
To this challenge the entire troop answered in unison: “They will be defeated.”
General Mourao, right, enjoys the support of the troops
The first article of the 1979 Amnesty Law states: “Amnesty is given to anyone who committed political crimes during the period between September 2, 1961, and August 15, 1979.” This phrase has been interpreted until now as giving amnesty to both the communist-socialist partisans as well as the anti-communist military personnel who combated them.
In the last years, however, some government sectors as well as the Order of Brazilian Lawyers – OAB – have made the case that this amnesty applies only to the communist-socialist agents, and not for those who persecuted them. This interpretation generated a law suit, which finally has ended up in the Supreme Federal Trbunal, the Brazilian equivalent of the American Supreme Court.
Depending on the judgment it should issue soon, a “witch hunt” against the military could start, with the re-opening of many processes initiated by communist-socialist sympathizers against the military that were closed. Brazil is thus following the steps of Argentina, whose governing communist-socialist regime retaliated against past actions of their military regimes.
If this happens in Brazil, the military class will not remain passive, as indicated by the message of General Mourão.
What should we expect? A serious division in the military with a strong right-wing that may propose a military government for the large sector of the population that is tired of 12 years of abuse of power by the PT? Would this be accepted by all? Probably not. What may come next? A civil war? A government of compromise between the left and the right? Anything can happen. It is a certainly a situation that demands attention.