The Thieves Are Running Brazil

 The Thieves Are Running 

The attitude of President
Lula is the same of a betrayed husband
who removes the couch from the living-room in order to avoid the
adultery. It is interesting to note that Lula, with all his talk about
the cursed inheritance, has not yet blamed former President
Cardoso for the earthquake jolting Brasília these days.
by: Janer

It is general knowledge that the PT has its roots in that other party who
no longer dares to utter its own name. Everybody also knows that the party
who no longer dares to say its name has its origins in that 19th
century philosophy that says the ends justify the means.

Considering that the virtual
prime-minister of our government (chief of staff José Dirceu) is a
former guerrilla member who went to Cuba to specialize in democracy-demolishing
techniques and sees in Fidel Castro a hero, nothing happening in Planalto
today should be a surprise.

A good portion of the
administration is made of personnel who were—and some still are—communist.
Which means those brave humanists to whom killing and robbing are perfectly
ethical activities, provided that the murdering and the pillage are done to
serve the revolution. No difference from guerilla philosophy, and José
Dirceu was a guerrilla member himself.

When I talk about communists,
there are always those who ask me: `are you one of those who see communists
even under the bed?’ No, I’m not, and never have been.

Actually, if you look
under the bed today, you won’t find any communists, because these days they
occupy some curule in Brasília. The century past has amply taught us
that you can expect anything from a Marxist or his heirs, except honesty.
It’s no accident that the other three ministers involved in the recent Waterfallgate
scandal (remember bookmaker Cachoeira = waterfall), Tarso Genro, Olívio
Dutra and Agnelo Queiroz, are also old apparatchiks who rose from Marxism.

Given the fact that these
four gentlemen are not the only Stalin widows to occupy positions in the government,
it is obvious that we are still in for magnificent scandals. If Charlie Waterfall—as
he is called by the American press—has corrupted the high echelon of
Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul, it would be naïve to imagine that
the rich political market of São Paulo, for example, would remain immune
to the bribes of jogo do bicho (numbers game) or bingo.

It’s a fun political moment.
Recently, the government submitted a proposal to regulate bingo, vehemently
prohibited the game. Vehemence, ignorance and lack of skill. By signing a
provisory measure prohibiting bingo, the Executive trips over the Judiciary,
who has until now granted preliminary injunctions for game houses to operate.

The intention may be good,
but it is a totalitarian intention. On the other hand, Lula is redundant.
If bingos only operated by force of injunctions, it’s because previous legislation
forbade them. Something like: look, that law didn’t catch on, let’s reedit
it to see if it works.

For PT Executive, a judicial
sentence and toilet paper are more or less the same thing. The impression
given by the government is that Brasília doesn’t have a single pettifogger
with the most basic notion of juridical hierarchies or the division of powers
inherent to a democracy. Either that or we are left with one single last hypothesis:
the PT still has not learned to deal with the mechanisms of the rule of law.
Long is the journey of a communossaur on its path to democracy.

The attitude of the head
of the government is the same of a betrayed husband who removes the couch
from the living-room in order to avoid the adultery. It is interesting to
note that Lula, with all his talk about the cursed inheritance, has not yet
blamed former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso for the earthquake jolting
the Planalto these days.

Bingo is already legal
under the so-called Zico Law and was definitively regulated by law 9.615 of
March 25th, 1998, signed by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Íris Rezende,
Pedro Malan, Paulo Renato Souza, Paulo Paiva, Reinhold Stephanes… and Édson
Arantes do Nascimento (Pelé).

The law bears the name
of its author, Pelé, who used the occasion to also regulate slot machines.
Which means that the splash of the palace scandals spare no one, not even
one of the heroes of pátria amada, salve, salve! [beloved homeland—from
the national anthem.]

As if the brusque change
in attitude on the part of the government were not enough we also saw the
rise of yet a third position. Justice Minister, Márcio Thomaz Bastos,
declares to newspapers that bingo must be put under state control. Desperate,
the men who represent an administration which is supposed to be a ground zero
in national politics move around like dizzy insects. The "statesman"
who wanted to end hunger in the world cannot even manage a crisis provoked
by a bicheiro (bookmaker).

An Ethical Puzzle

In its attempt to defend
the indefensible, the government put itself behind the trenches of a festival
of sophisms. As the PT president, José Genoíno, used to say,
the facts in question happened in 2002, therefore they have nothing to do
with this administration. This statement means that he considers perfectly
ethical to have as a high level consultant a crook with a solidly crooked
résumé, as long as all the malfeasance has been conducted before
the consultant was hired.

It’s as if a Messalina,
once anointed by the power in charge, became a Vestal on the very next day.
Even worse: a week after the accusation was made, the news spread that in
2003, soon after his hiring by the administration, this presidential advisor
was already having meetings with bicheiros in Brasília.

As a Quixote who saw two
princesses in two whores, Genoíno comes to the counterattack: "There
is no evidence that the meeting between the former Planalto consultant Waldomiro
Diniz, bicheiro Carlinhos Cachoeira and two directors of the Gtech
company, which took place in January 6th, 2003, resulted in any irregularities".
For him, the fact that a meeting took place does not imply the occurrence
of any irregularity.

As observed by an internetic
friend of mine, it’s like someone scheduling a meeting in a motel room with
two prostitutes and a transvestite and, after a few months, showing to his
wife a photo of all four in the motel room with all their clothes on. "The
fact that this photo was taken with two prostitutes and a transvestite in
a motel room does not mean that any irregularity took place". With defenders
such as these, the government can even waive the accusation.

In the middle of this
festival of lame excuses, the most outrageous and original one, introduced
by Attorney General, Cláudio Fontelles, was left unnoticed. For him,
the scandalous collection of bribes involving Waldomiro Diniz, former deputy
chief of Congress Affairs for the President and former consultant to minister
José Dirceu, is a "normal thing for a human being". After
all, "all of us have a dark side". Considering the source, it’s
an interesting opinion, to say the least.

"We all have our
shady side, which I call dark. This is a normal side of political parties,
associations, even families themselves. It’s part of life. What we must do
is to fight this type of behavior, when these people let this side of themselves
come out," said the attorney-general.

I suppose that when he
talks about his dark side, the man is talking about breaking the law. I also
suppose that the attorney-general is talking about himself. Well, the world
is full of people with no shady side whatsoever, who have never bribed, extorted
or defaulted on anyone.

Some of them due to sheer
lack of opportunity, perhaps—after all, not everyone can have a dark
side that allows them to pocket millions of reais. Most mortal human beings
can only afford a small and mediocre dark side allowing them to make a few
cents a day, at the most, to help with daily survival.

It is normal in the midst
of political scandals for the people involved to exchange accusations in order
to defend their own skin. The minute the country heard about the recordings
of the palace advisor extorting percentages from bicheiro Cachoeira,
the national president of the PT called the media to inform that the whole
thing was the working of José Serra, the candidate who was defeated
in the last elections.

The truth of this matter
actually doesn’t matter. The identity of the author changes nothing because
the content of the recording is still the same. When José Vicente Brizola
revealed to the public the machinations of the gaúcho (from
Rio Grande do Sul) PT government also involved up to its neck with gambling,
the same José Genoíno erupted into the field with knife and
sword to accuse the accuser and to call him bitter.

It’s like the spirit of
old Stalin incorporated into the former petista guerrilla man: first
you demoralize your opponent, then you discuss the merits of the issue. It
doesn’t matter if he was bitter or not. The authorship of the accusation does
not alter its contents.

Mutual accusations will
multiply with the appearance of new data. Nothing new there. What is unique
in this Waterfallgate is to witness a federal attorney accusing the nature
of human beings as the main defendant in the case of the misdeeds of PT.

By stating that everyone
has a dark side, the attorney-general is insulting a good portion of humanity.
Worse still, he is accusing the best portion of humanity, the one who is not
featured in the front pages of newspapers. After all, honesty has never generated
headlines. That is precisely why PT is making the front pages.

For less than that, Nixon
had to resign. Or have we all forgotten Watergate? For a lot less than that,
Collor was impeached. Using his cheap metaphors, Lula has stated that a child
needs nine months to be born. Well, the child is born… and nothing happened.
Then the President went back to his metaphors: the child needs a few months
to learn how to walk. Fourteen months in power was all we needed for the revelation
of the true nature of the brigands who took charge of the government,
preaching the opposite of what they are doing today.

The child is here: fat,
robust, corrupt… and walking.

Janer Cristaldo—he holds a PhD from University of Paris, Sorbonne—is
an author, translator, lawyer, philosopher and journalist and lives in São
Paulo. His e-mail address is

by Arlindo Silva.

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