The Brazilian Farce: Celebrating World’s Most Miserable 6th Largest Economy

Poverty and wealth Having gone through the year-end celebrations we were left with the feeling that 2011, as a whole, will not be missed: it will be marked as one of the most mediocre political years, characterized by successive crises involving the three branches of government. I don’t know which one most haunts my fears, what I know is they all exacerbate my deepest suspicion.

As has been the case in recent years, the federal government maintained its bet on an advertising avalanche to disguise the moral collapse that accompanies it since 2003.

The official propaganda distinguished itself for its distorted content, more concerned with promoting the government’s logo and for the undisguised electioneering bias. Displaying a very well articulated brazenness, Dilma and Lula were the main protagonists of the commercials that sell Brazil’s fake image.

Both also had outstanding performance in the most sordid manifestation of disrespect to the intelligence of Brazilians, designed to pretend that both the mensalão (monthly allowance) scandal as the 15 ministers dismissed for involvement in corruption, if they ever existed, had nothing to do with their administrations.

They trampled on the part of society abandoned by a silent opposition, hiding behind an alleged preservation of the institutional order and, as a tribute to cowardice, qualified itself as the main guarantor of the climate of disorder that threatens the institutions.

Fearful, this opposition betrayed the trust of voters with an exaggerated reverence for their governors and contented itself with being a privileged spectator of the billion-dollar spree provided by corrupt ministers indicated by Lula and appointed by president Dilma Rousseff.

As we enter the tenth year of the PT ruling, there is little to celebrate. TV news dressed up to stage another act of explicit adulation towards the federal government, celebrating with fanfare Brazil’s entry in the group of the six largest economies on earth.

Too much pyrotechnics and too little information because at no time they reported that the country is among the seven most developed economies since the time of the military dictatorship. The unscrupulous maneuver minimizes the naked truth: a huge void separates tens of millions of Brazilians from this supposed advancement.

It is inhuman the joy that surrounds the 6th poorest wealth of the world. There can be no joy when the numbers of the real Brazil point to a bleak picture, which shows more than 19 million bastard children of the PT opulence, who survive below the misery line.

It is immoral to justify any presumption of economic success when more than half the population has no access to treated sewage and drinking water, while another sizable portion parade down the avenue of submission bearing the banner of remunerated poverty.

Likewise, it is unacceptable to boast about a fortune that even if it overflows the coffers of the government, it does not reach the adolescents, who, unaided, wander among the miserable 40% and the illiterate 20%, a frightening reality that calls into question the future of the nation and nips at the bud the sense of nationhood.

Elected with the votes of the overwhelming majority of those humiliated by forgetfulness, president Dilma Rousseff missed a unique chance to be reconciled with her mandate evading the responsibility to communicate to the nation the success of the Brazilian economy and because of that, express her sorrow for the incompetence in the management of the available financial resources.

And, in solidarity to the miserable, tell how ashamed she is of the offense of the bullet train, of the criminal activities of NGOs belonging to those who are PT friendly, of her ministers’ diversion of over a billion reais in public money, of her embarrassing New Year’s break, which cost taxpayers more than half a million reais.

To complete the ritual of reconciliation, she should apologize for all the promises that were lost somewhere in the campaign.

Such a stance would be less compromising than isolating herself at a military base and transferring to the worst finance minister of republican history the task of explaining that if those involved in the mensalão are convicted and imprisoned, if the ministers stop robbing the public coffers and if there is no overinvoicing in the World Cup’s works in twenty years, the PT government will be ready to rescue these citizens from the condition of sub-Brazilians.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Dilma Rousseff and Finance minister Guido Mantega are the unequivocal confirmation that when it comes to human development, the sixth most powerful economy on the planet still has one of its tentacles firmly mired in the vicinity of the stone age.

Mauro Pereira is a contributor at Veja magazine.

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