With the title "Now, is this any time for joke?," Jornal da Tarde, the afternoon edition of O Estado de S. Paulo wrote this Monday, December 11, a scathing and ironic editorial lambasting the bad shape of air control in Brazil and the "biggest chaos in the country’s commercial aviation history."
The crisis in the sector, notes the daily, would have supplied enough material for a book of jokes if it weren’t for the fact that everything started with the crash of the Boeing 737, the deadliest accident in Brazil’s aviation history.
The editorial remarks that the Brazilian authorities tried all conceivable ways to accuse the Legacy jet’s two American pilots, whose plane collided with the Boeing, "until it became impossible to hide that a series of mistakes had occurred in the national control towers and that there was a communication failure due to the easy-to-understand fact that controllers and pilots don’t speak the same language."
And Jornal Tarde continues: "Since only 3% of our controllers understand English and the Americans haven’t learned Portuguese, ones didn’t know what the others were talking about. Nevertheless, they only were able to go back to the USA after they were charged by the Federal police with putting the aircraft at risk. Certainly because their mothers could not be sued for not having taught them the ‘uncultured and beautiful’ language invented by Luís de Camões."
The editorialist then comments: "Another tragicomic detail of the episode is the fact that, living outside the country, all they have to do to escape the legal proceedings’ disastrous consequences is not coming back ."
The opinion piece goes on pointing out that Brazil’s Congress is restless for not having any of the spotlight turned to them in the crisis: "The Congress leadership decided to enter the playing field with obvious requests that Defense Minister, Waldir Pires, also known as Softy Waldir, be ousted and they are threatening to take over in order to solve the problem."
The Jornal da Tarde also observes that the usually fragmented Congress has been united to ensure impunity for its members:
"At the same time that they promised to intervene into a subject that doesn’t concern them, our Congress didn’t mete out any punishment to the last of the mensaleiros (those involved into the votes for cash scandal), José Janene from the PP party of Paraná state.
"With their moral authority wasted in the national general pizzeria, the congressmen have as much authority to intervene in the flight control crisis as the bey of Tunis, the caliph of Baghdad and the king of spades from a deck of cards." concludes the editorial.