No Brasil e na América, ideologias políticas que não dão certo se espelham

Se os Estados Unidos quisessem ter uma idéia de seu futuro, só precisariam dar uma olhada para o estado em que se encontra o Brasil no momento, depois de mais de uma década de governos populistas. O mesmo é verdade também para o Brasil – a ascedência crescente de uma reação raivosa e populista da direita brasileira está fazendo com que o país se pareça cada vez mais com a América de Trump.

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Rio’s 2018 Carnival got Political, and it was Amazing (cont.)

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The people are depicted as clowns in the circus that is Brazil, carrying on their shoulders the weight of taxes. Brazil has one of the heaviest tax burdens in the world, yet little to show for it – a constant refrain is “taxes like Scandinavia, infrastructure like Africa.” Brazilians are made into fools for paying so much into the system and then watching their money being stolen or lost to inefficiency and incompetence.

 "In the circus of Brazil, the clowns are the people"

"In the circus of Brazil, the clowns are the people"

The consequences of this malfeasance and mismanagement are also addressed, such as the environmental toll that breakneck development and resource exploitation have taken on the environment. There are refugees of drought, migrants from Brazil’s arid Northeast who migrate to the south in search of the “promised land” in Brazil’s larger cities.

There are images of pollution, and of people dressed in rags rummaging through garbage.

The social consequences are visible in the city’s streets, and as the parade continues, street dwellers are shown begging for money on church steps, and children are on the streets begging instead of going to school.

There is then a depiction of the state of the Brazilian public health system, which are death and the grim reaper carrying staffs entwined with winged snakes, a symbol of medicine with origins in Greek mythology.

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Soldiers in fatigues carry representations of the favelas on their backs, symbolizing the military occupation of the favelas in the fight against narco-traffickers and the brutality that has accompanied it, as well as the civil war being fought on the streets and constant violence and lack of security that regular people have to deal with.

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A float called “abandonment” depicts stray bullets, injured police officers, dilapidated schools where students are victims of gun violence, and dismal conditions in public hospitals where patients die in hallways waiting for treatment. There are street dwelling children dressed in rags pick through garbage.

Rodin’s “The Thinker” watches over scenes of community abandonment below, as someone wields a gun in a classroom.

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  A woman weeps over the body of a shot police officer.

A woman weeps over the body of a shot police officer.

  Above all these symbols of abandonment, Frankenstein’s monster appears next to a banner that reads “stray bullet.”

Above all these symbols of abandonment, Frankenstein’s monster appears next to a banner that reads “stray bullet.”

Drawing on these images of suffering and squalor, the parade continues by addressing the rising intolerance in Brazilian society, specifically discrimination based on religion, race, gender, and sexual orientation.

 “Intolerance is negative, illuminating the mind is positive”

“Intolerance is negative, illuminating the mind is positive”

 A representation of the many religious traditions present in Brazil.

A representation of the many religious traditions present in Brazil.

 Men dressed as women.

Men dressed as women.

 Women in African costumes to represent Brazil's cultural and racial diversity.

Women in African costumes to represent Brazil's cultural and racial diversity.

  Fans from various sports teams dressed as if for battle, in armor, representing the violence that often breaks out between supporters of rival football teams.

Fans from various sports teams dressed as if for battle, in armor, representing the violence that often breaks out between supporters of rival football teams.

  A float shaped like a football stadium, the ultimate symbol of Brazil, is crowned by drag queens dancing in front of flags saying, among others, “femicide, discrimination, racism, genocide, homophobia, hate.”

A float shaped like a football stadium, the ultimate symbol of Brazil, is crowned by drag queens dancing in front of flags saying, among others, “femicide, discrimination, racism, genocide, homophobia, hate.”

To end the parade, things take a positive turn, with representations of hope, redemption, and peace. 

 Carnival is a "democratic party" in which all kinds of people participate.

Carnival is a "democratic party" in which all kinds of people participate.

 Women dressed in white and white doves representing peace.

Women dressed in white and white doves representing peace.

In the quest to make their country better, the people take to the streets in protest.

 Popular protests have been common in Brazil in the past few years, amid several massive corruption scandals and a devastating economic recession.

Popular protests have been common in Brazil in the past few years, amid several massive corruption scandals and a devastating economic recession.

The final float features a triple pietá, depicting several different scenes. The first is the final scene from Frankenstein, in which the creator is dead in the arms of the monster. The monster weeps and says, “I only ever wanted to be loved.” The other two pietás depict scenes of contemporary Brazilian tragedy: A mother holds her dead police officer son, another holds an emaciated child dead of hunger. The meaning of the last float is “learning how to love.”

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It was a fitting end to the carnival celebrations. Beija-Flor was the last samba school to parade, and as it left the Sambadrome, a sea of people poured down from the stands and continued to follow the carnival floats down the street, spontaneously singing the samba song whose lyrics touched a nerve, and their hearts. It was a repressed lament that Brazilians have been holding in for years as they watch their country implode. It was an exorcism, a catharsis. A powerful and moving testament to the difficulties that Brazil is living through, and has lived through for all of its history, expressed through the splendor of that most Brazilian of art forms, the world-famous Rio carnival. A true reflection of the notion that samba may be joyful, but it is the child of sorrow. And that it is transformative. It was a moment of healing for a suffering country.

This was perhaps the most moving moment of an already extremely powerful display. Even after the music stopped, the voices of the thousands of people remaining in the streets echoed with the following words:

Oh beloved home, where will you end up?
Your children can’t take it anymore!
You, who didn’t know how to care
You, who denied love
Come and learn with Beija-Flor
It’s me
The reflection of the legendary creature
The monster
Deprived of love and tenderness
The target of contempt and segregation
From the father who rejected his creation
Hostage to the intolerance of these people
Scraps of my own creator
Judged by the strength of greed
I continue bearing my cross
In search of a light, of salvation
Extend a hand, my Lord
Because I don’t understand your faith
If it is offered with love
I will nourish myself with energy
You always call me brother
Yet leave me aimless
Trade a piece of bread
For a piece of heaven
Greed wears a suit and tie
Where hope succumbed
I see liberty imprisoned
Your book I don’t know how to read, Brazil!
But the samba takes this heartache away
Like a wave of happiness and emotion the tears roll
My song is resistance
In the echo of a drum
Come and see him shine
Another boy that you abandoned
Oh beloved home, where will you end up?
Your children can’t take it anymore!
You, who didn’t know how to care
You, who denied love
Come and learn with Beija-Flor

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Why Moving Up Brazil’s Elections is a Terrible Idea

As Brazil’s president is looking more and more unlikely to complete his term in office, the country is divided as to how he should be replaced. Some are arguing to move up direct elections – a process that would require amending Brazil’s constitution. This would be a long, contentious and most likely pointless, if not potentially dangerous, exercise. Better to just follow the currently outlined constitutional procedure and wait for the next scheduled elections, which are only a little more than a year away. Instead of “Diretas Já” (direct elections now), how about “Diretas Já Já”(direct elections soon)?

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JBS and Impunity

Forget Odebrecht. JBS is the new king of Brazilian corruption, and revelations from the company's founders, the billionaire Batista brothers, threaten to take down President Michel Temer. But the real scandal is that despite admitting to some egregious crimes, the Batistas themselves have been granted full immunity and will continue to run their multi-billion dollar empire from abroad. 

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UPDATED: In Brazil, the Legislative and Judiciary Face Off

After a brief period of respite, tensions are once again building in Brazil at the end of what has been a singularly tumultuous year. Recent moves by Congress to shield itself from anti-corruption investigations have set off the latest round of widespread popular protests, but it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. A series of missteps, corruption allegations and controversial measures by the government of Michel Temer, combined with continued negative economic forecasts, have been trying the Brazilian people’s patience.

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Two Former Rio Governors Arrested

Within the last 24 hours, two former governors of the state of Rio de Janeiro have been arrested. Anthony Garotinho is accused of rigging his wife’s mayoral election in a cash-for-votes scheme. Sergio Cabral is accused of taking bribes from the construction companies responsible for public works projects in the state, notably some related to the World Cup and Olympic Games.

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The Pros and Cons of Brazil’s Controversial Constitutional Amendment

A proposed constitutional amendment that would limit public spending growth, one of the Temer government’s key initiatives, is making waves in Brazil. Some have cheered it, stating that getting Brazil’s finances in order is crucial for the country’s economic recovery. Others however, worry that this extreme measure will ultimately harm the country’s poorest citizens. So who’s right?

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What happened at Petrobras?

There is a saying that the most profitable business in the world is a well-run oil company, and the second-most profitable business is a poorly run one. Well, according to that logic, Brazil’s Petrobras defies categorization. It is a state-owned oil company, essentially a monopoly, in one of the biggest countries in the world, and yet it has been losing money for years. How is this possible?

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Dilma vs. Collor: How do Brazil’s impeachments compare?

The acrimonious nature and bizarre ending of Dilma Rousseff's impeachment almost makes you nostalgic for the impeachment of Fernando Collor de Mello, in 1992. Back then, Brazil was united in its disdain for a corrupt president and the process to remove him was relatively swift and uncontroversial. Indeed, perhaps the best way to make sense of the current impeachment and gain some perspective on it is to compare it with this previous episode. 

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Post-Impeachment Brazil: What happens now?

The events leading up to the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff have been simultaneously traumatic and cathartic for Brazil. As this chapter of Brazilian history draws to a close, many unanswered questions remain. Will the new government have the clout to push through the hard reforms needed to pull Brazil out of its worst ever economic crisis? Will the Lava Jato corruption investigation be allowed to continue, or will politicians get in the way, risking the country’s future to save themselves?

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No crime in Dilma's pedaladas?

A Brazilian prosecutor has found that the “fiscal pedaling” for which suspended Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff faces impeachment does not represent a crime. However, this interpretation probably won’t affect the outcome of the impeachment proceedings against her. This is because while conclusion of the prosecutor in this case refers to criminal charges, the "crimes of responsibility" cited as the basis for impeachment are civil in nature.

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One of the guys in charge of fixing Brazil’s finances just posted a frustrated but informative Twitter rant - UPDATED

As a Secretary in the Finance Ministry of Michel Temer’s interim government, economist Mansueto Almeida is one of the people tasked with the seemingly impossible task of fixing Brazil’s finances in the face of a crushing recession and a record budget deficit of some R$ 170 billion. Unsurprisingly, he is frustrated. Frustrated with the difficulty of it all, for sure, but even more so with the widespread speculation and unrealistic expectations coming from analysts and commentators about how it should be done.

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