Next Stop, Civil War
correct name for what we are up against in Brazil is
narcoterrorism. Violence has become a federal issue and
the fight against violence, with or without formal intervention,
with or without the Armed Forces in the streets,
must also become a federal issue.
Illusion has its limitations.
At some point econometrics has to run into reality. Economics is not an
abstraction. The use and application of all measurements such as C-bonds,
the country risk, the exchange rate and other animals, is an artificial
processjust like experiments in laboratories, performed under optimal
conditions and with no environmental interference.
It was inevitable,
this contamination of political newscasts by police newscasts. Same thing
with the conjugation of crime statistics and the economic indexes in the
business pages. Corporate manuals and rituals would not allow this here,
but it has been happening in the international press, forced to see our
country as an integrated phenomenon, with no random segmentations. It
is not a coincidence that, in the last few days, the New York Times,
BBC-World, the Walt Street Journal and the Economistthe
latter two with worldwide clout in economic and business affairshave
dedicated plenty of space and time to talk about the escalation of violence
raging in Brazil.
We fool ourselves
again, and dangerously, when we avoid calling a spade a spade and take
refuge in minimalist and fictitious classifications. What we are up against
is a generalized, pre-civil war insurrection. `Organized crime' is idle
talk and false rumors. The correct name to use is narcoterrorism.
The horrors of the
iron-hand years have excluded from our legal vocabulary the term "atentado
à segurança nacional" (assault to homeland safety)
and we are now paying an exceedingly high price for all the euphemisms
and linguistic mannerisms that blind us from facing the issue in its true
dimensions. Violence has become a federal issue and the fight against
violence, with or without formal intervention, with or without the Armed
Forces in the streets, must also become a federal issue. Openly and ostensively.
In all spheres, including foreign relations. The FARCs can no longer be
treated with lace cuffs. The Complexo da Maré slums start
on the bottom of Guanabara Bay and ends in the jungles of Colombia.
At each victim fallen,
each act of violence, each scare, each civic insult and each assault to
the rule of law inflicted by the outlaw power, we are reminded that we
are up against a federal emergency. Recently, the eixo rodoviário
Norte-Sul (north-south freeway axis) was sectioned by incursions
in Linha Vermelha (Red Line) and Linha Amarela (Yellow Line)
and by the control over Avenida Brasil, in Rio. These are not parochial,
metropolitan or statewide occurrences; these are national risk situations.
This is the truth and it needs to be faced head on and designated appropriately.
All the reconciliation
events uniting Rio's governor dona Rosinha and Rio's former governor
dona Benedita and festive little get-togethers for coronel Bolinha
(colonel Tubby, former governor Anthony Garotinho) and his rivals are
not only ridiculous but also an outrage to the memory of those fallen
and humiliated by the Confederation of Violence. The cynical little smiles
and taps on the back, on the eve of the funeral of a free society, expose
widely and openly a sham and a hoax.
The Morro do Turano
is no longer an urban district; it is now a federal district. The
criminal assault (premeditated, as became evident) against Estácio
de Sá University is not the stuff for a mere B.O. (Bulletin of
Occurrence). It deserves a C.R.I., or Constatação de Ruptura
Institucional (Verification of Institutional Breach).
When we have a de
facto governor, Anthony Garotinho, admitting that he has lost control
over the situation and the Justice Minister, in the Observatório
da Imprensa TV program, answering a question from journalist Dora
Kramer, uncomfortably admitting that he would rate with a grade five the
performance of the Rio de Janeiro State authorities in matters of public
safety, there is no way we can continue to disguise the labeling and the
size of the disaster.
The reach of this
disaster is not only factual but also conceptual. When a few decent senators
such as Pedro Simon and Jefferson Peres propose tearing apart the Code
of Ethics and dissolving the Ethics Committee following the decision by
the president of the Senate to file and conclude the judicial proceeding
against ACM (senator Antônio Carlos Magalhães), the King
of Telephone Tapping, we can see the moral magnetization between the degradation
of law and order in Rio de Janeiro and the degradation of political practices
in the high spheres of the Republic.
When the majoritary
PT (Workers Party)the party of hope and changecapitulates
before this affront, concerned with the majority it needs in order to
pass reforms it has always fought against, what we have is a political-partisan
everything-goes which also explains the federal complacency with the Governor
Couple of Rio de Janeiro that has been costing so many tears and so much
When the pseudo-oppositionist
PSDB allows Senator Tasso Jereissati to openly articulate the support
necessary to protect his partner-friends ACM and Sarney in one of the
most sordid maneuvers of recent history in Congress, it is clear that
the party needs a name change. It should take aside the SD (of Social
Democracy) and entitle itself simply PB, the Banana Partyfiberless,
boneless and emasculated.
This is the time to
call a spade a spade. Before the spadestogether, healthy, smilingly
and politically correctend up destroying what we still have left
in terms of decency and courage.
the author, is a journalist, founder and researcher at LABJORLaboratório
de Estudos Avançados em Jornalismo (Laboratory for Advanced
Studies in Journalism) at UNICAMP (University of Campinas) and editor
of the Observatório da Imprensa. He also writes a column
on cultural issues for the Rio daily Jornal do Brasil. You
can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tereza Braga, email:
This article was
originally published in Jornal do Brasil - www.jb.com.br