Brazil: The IMF Is Running the Show

Brazil: The IMF Is Running the Show

Brazil was put on a standstill in order to achieve and even expand
this bogus and obscene
basic surplus, which is neither basic nor a
surplus because the country remains in the red, sending
the largest
chunk of our wealth abroad. All this in detriment of the biggest part
of the
investments necessary to resume economic development.


Carlos Chagas


What really strikes me as odd is to watch both PFL (Partido da Frente Liberal—Liberal Front Party) and PSDB
(Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira—Party of the Brazilian Social Democracy) striking down on the government’s
economic policy. From the liberal and
tucano blocs come the most crushing criticism of the job done so far by minister Antônio
Palocci and his comrades.

The stance of both these parties shows that the world is not lost and that people can repent from old,
ill-taken positions. But it also reveals that the world is, yes, definitively lost, because the developer of the ongoing neoliberal model is the PT government, who until six months ago was fighting these policies with both licit and illicit weapons.

Slave of IMF

The inversion allowing the Lula administration to follow "the cow to the swamp" (as Brazilians describe a
disastrous situation) would be comic, if it weren’t tragic. The country was put on a standstill in order to achieve and even expand
this bogus and obscene basic surplus, which is neither basic nor a surplus because, truth be told, the country remains in the
red, sending the largest chunk of our wealth abroad under the guise of interest payments and payments on the foreign and
public debts. All this in detriment of the biggest part of the investments necessary to resume economic development and the
lowering of our unemployment rate.

The Lula administration behaves as a slave of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), aiming only at paying the
interest, see inflation contained, the dollar reduced and the so-called Brazil risk falling into the scale drafted by the speculators.
We won’t commit the injustice of supposing that this strategy is harmless. After all, Fernando Henrique left the country on
the brink of bankruptcy. Using malice and expecting to win a previously lost election, our former president watered with
mineral water the external fears about the advent of chaos if PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores—Workers’ Party) gained power in
Brazil. There should be a law to punish and send to jail the authors of these crimes against our country, but this is a discussion
for another time.

What we must point out is the fact that the new government needed to prove that it would not socialize the means of
production or declare a moratorium on all debts, much less transfer the control of foreign companies to the State or confiscate
investments made here.

One Percent Wage Increase

The problem is in the fact that president Lula could have taken the first steps to promote the promised fundamental
changes in the economy and social programs as he announced the other, bitter, changes ahead. For this to happen, however, we
needed a plan, a program and government guidelines, all drafted during the years in which the PT ran and lost elections.
Unfortunately, there was nothing. Only the carbon paper (or we should say video-tape) of the previous policies dictated by the IMF.

We saw the announcement of the Zero Hunger program, by the way still innocuous, but just the announcement. The
rest were rises in interest rates, draconian budget cuts, the granting of a ridiculous 1 percent readjustment in public servant
wages, a halt to ongoing public works and the re-routing of funds destined to public health and road repair into the single coffer
of interest payments on the foreign debt. Not to mention increases in utility charges and tariffs, medications and fuel.

Who aligns all this criticism? PFL and PSDB, joined, of course, by the conscientious faction of the PT, who is for
that same reason punished. Here and there we see parties such as PDT and PC do B showing their indignation and protesting
on behalf of the 53 million incensed voters who elected President Lula, but they claim in the desert because our present
administration, copying the eight years of Fernando Henrique, applies the same mechanisms of control and dominance over
the media.

It is ironical, this Hamletian dilemma of tucanos
(PSDB politicians) and liberals about voting or not voting on the
social security and tax reforms. Because the truth is that, during both terms of Don Fernando II, both PFL and PSDB tried to
pass these cruelties against the Brazilian people and did not succeed. Comically, due to the opposition by the PT. Are they
going to remain coherent, even knowing that they are contrary to the national interest? Are they going to lend support to Lula?
Or are they going to play the opposing model, even with an uncomfortable feeling?

Justice, Albeit Tardy

Senator José Sarney accredited himself as the patron of one more move in defense of the common citizen by
introducing a bill creating the rights of violence victims. Criminals, when put in jail, receive the solidarity of organizations who
defend human rights, even though they behaved like animals. Their victims, on the other hand, are left in the lurch. They get no
support from the government, even when their physical integrity was attacked. If the bill passes, not only the State will care for
the victims but the criminals will have to face payment of damages. If unable to pay, they will get more jail time.


Carlos Chagas writes for the Rio’s daily Tribuna da
Imprensa and is a representative of the Brazilian
Press Association, in Brasília. He welcomes your comments at 

This article appeared originally in Tribuna da
Imprensa – 

Tereza Braga is a freelance Portuguese translator and interpreter based in Dallas. She is an accredited
member of the American Translators Association. Contact:



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