The results of research recently published by the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) and UNICEF – the first one finding that 70% of households in Brazil are living with open sewers and that most do not have clean water, the second stating that about 40% of adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years are living below the poverty line and 20% of them do not know how to read or write – reveal the perverse face of an unjust and unequal nation, disfigured by one of its most serious social crisis.
These are situations that might lead to devastating consequences in the not too distant future.
They are also a confirmation that we are a country of lies, which insists on hiding in ostentatious official advertisements the degradation of millions of Brazilians abandoned to their own devices. These are lies in their worst form, which show in the open the illnesses of a government hostage of political parties that support it politically and that is about to drown in the sea of corruption which is making it untenable.
From this distortion arises the inevitable closer relationship with the nefarious practice of paternalistic policies that exalt submission and are further diminished by the electioneering bias that characterizes them.
The appalling figures of the two surveys show the precarious conditions of life to which is confined a significant portion of the population. From the content spread by the state propaganda, which pollutes all available means of communication, there is no prospect of significant investment in this sector.
I do not remember seeing during those nine years of PT (Workers Party) misrule any advertising piece publicizing any serious program, especially focused on basic sanitation, worried at all about mitigating the effects of this bleak picture. I refuse to take into account those tendentiously assistentialist ones.
Self-appointed representatives of the most advanced society in the world they scoff at the suffering that plagues these brothers of ours celebrating the absurd financial contribution requested by the International Monetary Fund: “From borrowers we now have become money lenders to the IMF and the opposition still has the nerve to say that nothing has changed,” cheers one of the proud heralds of the country above any suspicion.
It changed, yes, very much so. The network of social protection has become an electioneering savings bond. However, the economic policy conceived by the team of the then Finance minister Fernando Henrique Cardoso, implemented by president Itamar Franco back in 1994 and the sole responsible for the rise of Brazil to the condition of an IMF creditor, remains the same. Untouched. The only ones who can’t remember this torturing truth are the miscreants, usurpers of the talent of others.
Every cent destined to the IMF will mean a mile less of installed sewer system, an extra child who will die before being one year old, a teenager’s abbreviated dream doomed to vegetate in the vastness of ignorance and condemned to be just another number in the police statistics book. The PT arrogance resists. I feel a shame that should not be mine.
Another worrying fact is the conspicuous indifference of the press and congressmen who were elected to act as opposition. Mostly interested in biting a generous chunk of the official chauvinistic propaganda, the media limits itself to convey merely circumstantial information about this human tragedy that is denying children and adolescents the most banal expectations of a less suffering life. Moreover it’s not that different the reality that separates youth and adults.
No media outlet has dared to investigate more thoroughly this Brazil forgotten by the authorities. Without exception, the television, lends itself to a double menial task. At one end it glorifies the occupation of the favelas in Rio, all without a shot being fired plus the arrest of the kingpins of banditry even before the start of the Hollywood operation with pre-set date and time. At the other end it promotes a smear campaign to discredit the security organs of the state of São Paulo.
The sound of the swindling silence warns that in Wonder Brazil’s capital assaults, thefts, robberies, murders, kidnappings, pedophilia have been abolished. Since Rocinha favela was taken back by the state, no woman was raped, no man was molested.
The opposition also can not notice, or it pretends it doesn’t notice the precarious livelihoods of those tens of millions of children and adolescents and it doesn’t take a stand to demand drastic and urgent measures to combat the calamity that strikes the eye. Apparently, not even electoral interests are able to move them.
They waste precious time trying in vain to create inquiry committees they know beforehand will never amount to anything. Although in separate roads, opposition senators and representatives walk the same path of coward indifference trodden by the government and its allied base.
With the dignity torn by the crudity of this hostile and bitter daily routine, several millions of sub-Brazilians represented by children, young, old, men and women are still waiting for some other Portuguese seafarer of dubious competency to get lost through the South Seas to discover them. Disillusioned, they realized too late that the Wonder Brazil invented by Lula was unable to discover them.
Impervious to manipulation, the cold and insensitive reality takes its toll and sends the world’s seventh economy to the darkest depths of backwardness and underdevelopment caves. Cornered by such situation, it prevails the servitude that elects.
Mauro Pereira is a contributor at Veja magazine.