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Brazil: A New Referendum on Lula


Brazil: A New Referendum on Lula

The hoarse voice of the streets in Brazil is tired of believing in unkept
promises. Elections are
coming and there is still time to turn the
game around. Public money and favors of the central power,
however,
will hardly change the Brazilian national mood. The fact is
that nobody can stand the belt
tightening anymore.

by:

Carlos Chagas

 

If the Lula government had made a miracle, in other words, had kept the campaign promises since the first day of
government, creating jobs, alleviating the hard life of the needy, restoring development, without the slightest doubt, only the
PT (Workers’ Party) would be disputing the municipal elections of 2004.

The Workers’ Party mayoral candidates for reelection would continue in their positions without any effort. Mayors
of other parties would not even try a second mandate. We would watch the party of workers government, the start of 20 or
40 years of holding power, without electoral discussions.

The problem is that the miracle was not possible, and we cannot condemn the government for having adopted, at the
start, the model inherited from Fernando Henrique. It would be either to act like this or take a risk of falling into the trap of
the neoliberals, those who invented the term "Lula effect" as punishment to voters for having shown interest in radical changes.

This perspective would be the linear road, but, as in politics not always the straight line is the shortest distance
between two points, it remains the hope that slowly and gradually we will be able to arrive there. In spite, of course, of the
pressure that the true owners of the power apply in order to keep everything unchanged.

They were even able to insinuate themselves in the ministry threatening with chaos all those who keep reminding
that the PT government was chosen to better their own hard life. This, however, is a subject for another day. All we are
interested today is to verify the effects of the national frustration due to the miracle that was not achieved. What are the consequences?

The first one will come in the municipal elections, which will happen soon. Instead of being privileged the PT
candidates find themselves in trouble. First, those who got elected, for not having accomplished what they intended. Then, those
who are coming out as candidates for the first time.

With all respect, the PT today means stagnation. Lots of talk, the same promises, but the evidence is that there are
no differences between the Workers’ Party and the other parties. They became wines of the same barrel.

There is no city in the country, especially the capitals of the states, where the mayors of the PT have not introduced
new taxes, charging for the collection of garbage, for light, public cleaning and conservation of parks and streets, that is, the
same taxes and even other new ones collected from the population by previous administrations. Not to mention, of course, the
price hike of taxes and public tariffs.

Let’s not forget either the scandalous increase of IPTU, IPVA and others taxes from North to South. And the ever
growing needs of those who actually live in the municipal districts, because it’s only in fiction that we are part of the states and
the Union. The public safety tells us the real story.

The obvious conclusion, which is not ours but of several researches conducted in semi secrecy by the parties: being
or not being a member of the PT, mayors who are candidates for reelection are doomed. Even those who disputed previous
elections will be out on a limb. The electorate, wiser than their illusory tutors, began to send signs of exhaustion. They are not
interested in traditional politicians, wherever they might come from.

This is at least the current conclusion, which, of course, can be changed, but indicative of a trend sometimes
registered in our electoral process. Enough. We had enough deception, lies and impossible dreams.

It doesn’t mean that the electorate will resuscitate rhinos, goats or poles, that were chosen in past elections. Such
candidates win once in a while, when the popular patience reaches its limits, which is still not the case.

Get ready Marta’s and Cesar’s (the mayors of São Paulo and Rio). If the Lula administration doesn’t make some
changes—this seems more and more unlikely—unknown candidates will get the upper hand. Those will be people coming out of
the shadows, having or not virtues to occupy a place under the sun.

Here lies the danger. The hoarse voice of the streets is tired of believing in unkept promises. The rise of the PT
seems as if it were the last stage, after which the rocket will blast through the undecipherable stratosphere. There is still time to
turn the game around and put the public opinion more or less in predicable paths. I’m not suggesting public money and
favors of the central power. They will hardly change the national feeling. The fact is that nobody can stand the belt tightening
anymore. Why would voters reelect those who accomplished little or nothing?

Get ready for the possibility of new frustrations. Or for some entirely unexpected effect. Make you choices if you
want, being careful with the mystics, the adventurers and even with the tenants of the zoo.

 

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

carloschagas@hotmail.com

This article appeared originally in
Tribuna da Imprensa –
http://www.tribuna.inf.br

Translated by João Crus, Portuguese teacher, English-Portuguese translator, and researcher of the English language.
He is based in Austin, Texas. E-mail: jcrus@austin.rr.com  

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