SOME FACTS AND PERSPECTIVES ABOUT BRAZILIAN ACTUALITY
It is somewhat difficult to seize Brazilian reality, not just because it is such a vast and complex country but, also, because opinions and even news about it are usually based on hearsay or ideological views of facts. I will try here to give my own view and be as equidistant as possible of what is happening or about to happen in the country these days.
Last year, one of the fiercest presidential electoral campaigns in our history took place. Aécio Neves, the candidate of right-wingers, had been blamed for building airports using public money in small cities of Minas Gerais, the state he governed, near the farms of his relatives and friends. Also, for paying one of the lowest salaries in Brazil to public high-school teachers, using non-declared state companies’ money in his campaign, as well as for indicating the wife of state’s vice-governor to preside Minas Gerais Audit Court (TCE-MG). Besides this, he was pointed out as having full support of mainstream oligopolistic news media and a big part of Brazilian élites and corporation groups and being in favor of privatizing public services. And finally, for spanking a former girlfriend in public.
Nevertheless, his campaign time was not used to defend him of all those accusations (which he just labeled as ‘lies’, although many of them had been fully proven) – but to accuse the other candidate, Dilma Roussef from PT (Labor Party, reformist and moderately left-wing), of being a corrupt socialist and a bad public manager – even if he’s failed to give any evidence of what he said. In exchange, Dilma Roussef’s television and radio time was used mostly to show the achievements of her ongoing office and to present what she intended to do during a second mandate, if reelected.
Hate and economic terror campaigns were moved both through mainstream and alternative media by using its cartoonists and columnists and through Internet’s social media. Both sides attacked one another and, despite the many social and economic achievements of Dilma’s first mandate and of her predecessor’s (Lula, also from PT), mainstream oligopolistic media almost prevailed. Economic power has played an important factor for both sides, but mostly on Aécio’s side due to his several multimillionaire corporative sponsors.
Dilma has been reelected in October 2014 with a difference of 3.5 million votes (or, as we say here, 50 Maracanã stadiums of difference). Not much in relative terms, but a lot in absolute numbers. Not a month after elections elapsed before the beginning of accusations against her and a big campaign against Petrobras state oil company, which had been under investigation since the beginning of 2014 for alleged irregularities in dealings with contractors. A number of necessary economic and fiscal adjustments announced in December 2014 was a reason for new criticism, both from some of her supporters as from mainstream media and opposition in general.
Now, as the investigations against Petrobras progress, politicians from different parties are under Federal Police and Public Attorney’s scrutiny for having supposedly received money from these same contractors – which would pay bribes to be favored in public biddings. Even if PT is not the main party under investigation and of general knowledge that this practice might have been going on for decades, opposition blames Dilma and PT for being guilty and for benefiting the most of the so-called scheme. One thing to be remarked here is that both the judge in charge of the preliminary instruction, as well as many of the public attorneys and federal policemen involved in the investigation (Operação Lava Jato), have publicly declared support to Aécio and disapproval to PT, Dilma and Lula in social networks before elections.
Repeating what took place during Lula’s second mandate, a massive negative campaign is being moved by mainstream media and opposition and even impeachment cries are heard. What should be an impartial investigation and trial progressively becomes a foremost political issue. Inflation campaigns and trucker strikes are being organized by the very media and corporations that strongly opposed Dilma before elections. Negative campaigning against Brazil’s main oil company (one of the world’s biggest) Petrobras is so permanent and deep that the company had to resize its investments for the next years and its balance shift had to be published without being vouched by a trusted external auditing company. Company’s stock prices have substantially dropped in Brazilian stock market, although many important investors here and abroad keep buying it or refuse to sell it. Behind these pressures and permanent negative campaigns, some say, are Petrobras rivals who want to buy it out.
Some facts: Petrobras’ actual value, measured by its assets, has multiplied over 6 times in the last decade. The same media which are against any media regulation are also responsible for negative campaigns – both against Brazilian economy as against Petrobras and Dilma. They are the ones who, along with political opposition parties, try to promote – even without saying – a presidential impeachment and the fall of Petrobras only to blame PT for it. In Brazil, this strategy is compared to what happened in Paraguay a few years ago, when legally elected president Lugo was ousted by Congress on grounds of failing to perform his presidential duties and responsibilities. Some also see this as a forced third electoral shift.
Two huge demonstrations have been scheduled: one in favor of Dilma, Petrobras and democracy for March 13, and another, by the opposition, for March 15. March 13 is mostly spontaneous and does not count with mainstream support to be publicized and covered, while March 15 does. Among the groups which support March 15 we have: adepts of former military régime (Revoltados On Line and Coturno Noturno, for instance), businessmen, conservative journalists, neoliberals and people who would rather see Aécio and his group in power now. Supporting Dilma, Petrobras and democracy, we have labor unions, progressive church leaders, intellectuality, moviemakers and students’ representative institutions, as well, of course, as a big part of the people who voted for her.
(written by Flávio Prieto and @AlziraLopes18)