I read much of your speech, Mr. José Serra. Maybe I am today what you used to be at my age, when a young man, someone who was president of the National Students Union and supported the government of João Goulart in the Rally of Central. When you defended the socialism you today condemn, the patriotism you betray today, the autonomous development of Brazil you mock now.
You, as Fernando Henrique, are useful to the owners of Brazil – yes, Serra, Brazil has owners, because 1% of the richest Brazilians have the same as all the poorest 50% – because you were different in the past and today you hide yourself from what you used to be so people won’t see what you are.
The symbol of Brazil that can’t be anymore, that cannot be like they made it anymore.
Brazil can no longer be the country of the elites because our elites, with few exceptions, despise our people, find them shabby, double-dealing, lazy, dirty, dishonest, delinquent folks. They loathe them, cover the windows with a film so they won’t see them.
It can no longer be the country of the elites, because our elites in general, do not hesitate to sell everything this country has – as you indeed encouraged people to do – so the “master race” come here and exploit our wealth in an “efficiently” and “profitable way.” For themselves, of course, and for those who live off their crumbs.
It can no longer be the Brazil of the arrogant rulers, like you, who speak from up high – when they speak – who use bombastic speech, so that in a sophisticated language that the people cannot understand, they negotiate what belongs to all for the benefit of a few.
Brazil can no longer be the country of wise men who, so wise were they, that they made this giant kneel before the world and made us all slaves of an unjust economic and political order. The country of the “cult” rulers who know how to meow in French and how to say “yes, Sir” in English.
It can no longer be the country of development by dropper, where surplus is king, where interest rates are higher above all, where profits are above people, market above happiness, money above the human being.
Brazil can now more than it could during the government you were a part of.
It was able to face the most devastating global economic crisis by increasing wages, income, consumption, production, employment, when we spent decades hearing when there was a crisis in Malaysia or Thailand that we had to tighten even more people’s belts.
It was able to speak as equals to the world, it was able to take back its oil, it was able to stop firing, it was able to resume public investment, it was able to once again invest in housing, sanitation, hydroelectric plants, ports, railways, gas pipelines. It was able to expand access to education, while still below what the people deserve. it was able to bring to the consumption world immense masses of those excluded giving them the right to dream.
It was able, yes, to assume the global role that befits a great country, to become the leader of its brothers in Latin America.
Brazil could at last be the country where its people do not feel as an outcast. A country where progress is no longer synonymous with misfortune.
Therefore, Serra, that’s why Brazil cannot afford to walk backwards. It cannot go back into the hands of people so arrogant with their people and so docile to those well-off. It can no longer be ruled by cold people who do not feel the pain of others and are not anxious and eager to change.
It can no longer, Serra, it can no longer be ruled by people who disowned their most generous, bravest, most determined years and who abandoned their dreams to pragmatism, who disguise their capitulation to the enemy in the name of a modern discourse, as if what is supported by the most retrograde, elitist, slave, reactionary Brazil could be modern.
There are people like that supporting Lula and Dilma, for political-electoral convenience, yes. But there are two hundred times more on your side, without any reason but to see that your candidacy and your election are the way to stop the rise of the “scum.” Where there is a hard-heartedly reactionary Brazilian, there will be a voter for you, José Serra.
By and large I would not speak like that to an older man, I would not be that bold.
But I feel this need, beyond me, beyond my natural shyness and my own inadequacy. I feel compelled to be the voice of your past, José Serra. It is a young man who only asks from God that he won’t lose his convictions as time makes us lose hair, that his causes won’t weaken as time does weaken the body, that his love for the Brazilian people will survive as his whole life passion. May the knowledge that time will bring be not the capital of my success, but tool of the future.
I saw a man, already old, facing electoral defeats, dying as a victor, for he had never betrayed the ideas he advocated. Errors, everybody makes them. Treason, however, is the murder of ourselves. We kill who we were in exchange for a new role.
Perhaps it comes from there the hard time you have to sleep.
In the remote chance that you may win the elections, José Serra, you will be the defeated one. You’re the executioner of your own best dreams.
Carlos Daudt Brizola, better known as Brizola Neto, is a House representative for Rio de Janeiro state. He is the grandson of legendary leftist politician and governor of Rio de Janeiro, late Leonel Brizola.