Brazilian presidential hopeful Dilma Rousseff, in her acceptance speech last weekend as the ruling PT’s (Workers Party) candidate – she’s called and call herself pre-candidate – declared that if elected she intends to maintain the expansion of consumption, saying that she believes it will continue to exert a strong impact on production, as it did during the financial crisis in 2009.
“Consumption in Brazil sustained the country in the face of the fear that overshadowed the international financial system,” she said. She went on to say that the commitment to the poor, in the form of social assistance programs, one of the trademarks of the Lula government, would be expanded.
Without specifically mentioning land reform, the platform included as part of its “social effort” an expansion of settlements for landless farmers and technical assistance for those settlements, along with an enhanced family farm sector.
The platform calls for continuation of the Accelerated Growth Programs (PAC 1 and 2), and the home ownership project for low-income families, “Minha Casa Minha Vida” (My House My Life).
“Those programs will have a decisive role in improving the living standards of Brazilians at the same time they resolve a longstanding plague in our history: so many people forced to live in slums,” Dilma declared.
There was a clear promise to continue Lula policies. “We are not changing the rules (moving the goal posts) in the middle of the game, as has happened many times in the past,” Dilma declared.
And as for the armed struggle that took place during the military rule, she said: “We prefer the unjust, calumnious voices of the opposition in a democracy to the silence of dictatorships.”
Dilma also said she was pleased that high-ranking members of the PMDB, Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement, attended the PT party convention last weekend and that she was in favor of a coalition government made up of various political parties.
Dilma sat at a table next to the president of the PMDB, Michel Temer, who is favored to be her vice president. She denied any problems in bringing the two parties together, saying she was in favor of “a strong platform supported by various parties. It is not a good idea to have a one-party administration,” she declared.
It was a party celebrating the 30th anniversary of the PT and its 4th Party Congress. But the main event last weekend (February 20 and 21) was certainly the selection of the presidential Chief of Staff (ministra-chefe da Casa Civil), Dilma Rousseff, as the pre-candidate of the PT for president of Brazil.
However, the election is in October and the rules in Brazil are very strict – candidates are to be officially announced only in the month of June and can begin campaigning in July. As we are in February, Dilma is a pre-candidate and no one is campaigning.
That point was strongly emphasized by the president of the PT, José Eduardo Dutra, as he carefully explained what happened. “We obey the law. However, we expect that the opposition will go to court, at the TSE (electoral board), and try to create problems for us with a flurry of lawsuits. We are prepared,” he stated.
Dilma was presented to the convention by president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to wild applause and cheering. Lula said he had come expecting a difficult task: “… convincing the PT to accept Dilma Rousseff as its candidate. From the sound of things, this is not a task at all…..the task is unnecessary,” said the president.
Lula went on to recall the participation of Dilma in the armed struggle against the military dictatorship (1964-85) and the fact that she often has to face discrimination.
“The biggest discrimination Dilma has faced is not because of any defect, but because of her qualities. In first place, just because she is a woman,” Lula told the convention.