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Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight

Havana.

“Now the poor, the excluded, the landless and the homeless, who had hoped to reach happiness, will have to seek other party associations –or forge new political tools– based on ethics, the elimination of the causes of social inequalities and the search for another possible Brazil”.

Such is the forecast of Frei Betto, the militant journalist, writer, religious revolutionary of the Dominican Order and Theology of the Revolution –former advisor to the President of the Republic of Brazil when Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva held that position– given the serious crisis in that country after the parliamentary and media coup d’etat against the constitutional order in his country.

The first three governments of the Brazilian Workers Party (PT) –two with Lula and one with Dilma Rousseff– represent the best in the republican history of the South American giant.

“45 million Brazilians were rescued from misery; social programs –from the Bolsa Familia to More Doctors– which spread a safety net under the poorest social sectors of the nation. Access to college became popular. The International Monetary Fund stopped bothering our accounts and Latin America gained greater unity. And Cuba was taken out of limbo,” wrote the prestigious religious revolutionary.

“Too bad the PT did not dare implement structural reforms in politics, taxes and land. It allowed its Zero Hunger emancipation program be replaced by the compensation program Bolsa Familia.”

“As if rhetoric were enough to cover unfortunate inequalities, the PT tried in vain to be the father of the poor and the mother of the rich. To renew Congress it did not trust the political potential of the leaders of social movements. It preferred to form promiscuous political alliances whose opportunistic virus eventually contaminated some of its leaders.”

Thanks to easy credit, inflation control, and a real increase in the minimum wage above inflation, the population had greater access to personal goods. In its 13 years of government, the PT did not insist on the political literacy of the nation or the democratization of the media.

Thanks to tax exemptions, the entire line of electrical appliances, as well as computers and cell phones, are present in almost all the slums of the favelas…“and who knows if, even in the foothills of the mountains, and any other car can be bought on installments “.

“However, you also find the hut occupied by a family without housing, with no security, no health, no education, no quality public transportation. The priority should have been for access to social welfare. Failing this, a nation of consumers was formed, not of citizens; a nation of voters who vote as if they were obeying a religious precept or repaying a personal favor.”

According to Betto, “between advances and setbacks, the PT leaves as its legacy social programs that deserved to be defined as state guarantees and not just as government policies.  But, will the party have the audacity to reinvent itself?” wonders the revolutionary intellectual.

PT governments inherited the country from neo-liberal Fernando Enrique Cardoso who left Brazil to Lula in deep economic crisis, with skyrocketing inflation, astronomical public debt, breaking of the social fabric, disarticulation of the state and a deepening of the abysmal inequalities and injustices Brazil has suffered for centuries. Among these were the unjust distribution of land. Another was an electoral law that prevents popular participation. For both, the union leader [Lula] and Dilma, governing has been very difficult.

To advance their social agenda they had to maintain alliances of convenience and agreements with bourgeois sectors and parties. They to faced a fierce onslaught byldd the right and the great oligarchic media in a country where 90% of the media is in hands of seven wealthy families who control the audiovisual spectrum.

Despite these factors, the PT management has been revalidated by voters in three consecutive presidential elections, including the much-harassed re-election of Dilma in 2014, with a smaller margin than earlier, but still with the very respectable figure of 54 million votes, more than three million more than her rival Aécio Neves.

Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment has been a dirty blow by oligarchic groups of the resentful  Brazilian right that has been inserted into the large projects of the imperialist extreme right. They are interested in removing from their way a nation that somehow holds the ideals of Latin Americans and has become a standard bearer of its resolute struggle for independence and social progress.

No doubt there will be a struggle. It only remains to be seen in what arena. The coup leaders lack consensus except within the elite and the fascist sector of the middle class.

A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.

More articles by:

Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.

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