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The Bolsonaro Phenomenon May be Brief

“Right now, there’s a good chance that the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, be very brief. The word impeachment is already part of the current language in the media and social networks in the South American giant.”

At least that’s what Andrés Ferrari Haines, a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil, wrote in an article published, on May 21, by the Argentinean newspaper “Página 12”.

Eduardo Bolsonaro, the president’s son, warned in Buenos Aires that an electoral victory of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s would represent the risk of turning Argentina into another Venezuela.

Curiously, says the newspaper, his father is achieving in Brazil what mercenary Juan Guaidó could not achieve in Venezuela: to have protests everywhere promoting the rule of law and opposition to the President.

An historic march took place on Wednesday, May 15, in which nearly two million people took to the streets in 200 Brazilian cities to protest against the budget cuts in education. It was a turning point in the rejection of President Jair Bolsonaro, his children and several personalities close to him.

Those who, during his electoral campaign, thought that his violent and bellicose style was part of an electoral strategy to attack his opponents are realizing that this is a trait of his personality.

It seems that his capacity for dialogue is zero, and he can only express himself aggressively –even if this might not be his intention.

One could think that Bolsonaro, together with his sons, tried to strengthen his image in a direct relationship with his electoral base, discrediting sectors that were part of the coalition government, such as the military, which occupy several positions in allied political parties.

Even more serious, in the field of the economy, has been the appointment of his “super minister” Paulo Guedes, an extreme neoliberal choice, submissive to U.S. capital, especially to those that seek the extreme exploitation of natural resources and the control of state financial institutions and companies such as Petrobras.

In his strategy, Guedes placed all his chips in favor of the approval of a brutal reform aimed at preventing an “inevitable” economic catastrophe. Here he is meeting great resistance in and out of parliament.

It is a strategy of submission to private activity that launched Minister of Education Weintraub who, summoned by Congress, in the midst of a student protest, made it clear that the objective was not to cut the educational budget, but to extinguish the public education system.

In line with his President, the minister ignored the students and affirmed that “the graduates of the Brazilian public universities don’t know anything.”

Reality, however, has demonstrated the opposite: public schools are at the top of the list in the national ranking –with only two or three private ones– in the front rank. Even more so:  the public ones are among the first in comparisons with those in emerging countries, and some have reputable placements at the international level. Thus, it is clear that there is no basis whatsoever for the government project aimed at dismantling public education to the benefit of private education that the minister so much praises.

For his part, Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo aligned Brazil’s foreign policy to the United States in a moralistic crusade that identifies “globalization” with a process driven by “cultural Marxism” and climate risks with a “communist conspiracy”, even at the expense of  losing important foreign markets.

Meanwhile, the economy comes to a standstill, the stock market falls and the dollar soars.

In addition, it has become known that consulting firm A.T. Kearney removed Brazil –for the first time—from the top 25 destinations for the United States investors.  During the government of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil was in the third place.

Bolsonaro was losing so much support in the last week that even his “guru,” astrologer Olavo de Carvalho, predicted that he will abandon politics in Brazil.

The Brasil LIbre  [Free Brazil] Movement, a great player in the fall of Rousseff and in the anti-PT wave, also announced its breaking up Bolsonaro.

The students are calling for a mobilization on May 30 and, in addition, they have joined the General Strike, on June 14, against Bolsonaro’s reforms.

The main print media, O Globo de Rio and Folha do Estado de Sao Paulo, in their editorials are very critical of the political maneuvers of the President and his attacks on democracy.

Investigations of corruption and illicit association against one of his sons, Flavio, are growing every day, and affect nearly one hundred people who were hired or moved fortunes in connection with his office, including the President’s wife herself.

A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.

 

 

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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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