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Believe It or Not, Brazil’s Second in Line for Presidency Is a Communist

Brazil's Speaker of the House, Aldo RebeloMaster Gilberto Freire  was absolutely right when he remarked that Brazil was the country of the possible impossibilities. Any of these days, he used to say, Carnaval will fall on the Holy Week… He couldn’t be more right. The neoliberal government of President Lula, Antônio Palocci, Henrique Meirelles and others has just gone all the way, using nominations and distribution of money to get a communist to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives. If you tell this abroad no one will believe you.

Unless, it’s obvious, Aldo Rebelo is not a communist anymore, and has instead become an agent of liberalism infiltrated in the PC do B’s (Communist Party of Brazil) small troop. Or maybe the government is preparing in silence the socialization of the means of production, the nationalization of the bank system and the reappraisal of all privatizations.

… And Dirceu Celebrated the Victory

But they will not be able to impose the single party system because the PT had not enough breath to launch its own candidate. The party, which once was the master of ethics and morality realized that, if it presented a candidate, the PT would march into a new and resounding defeat.

This way, it availed itself of an ally infused with dedication and spirit of sacrifice, a man who until recently was being humiliated and scorned by the selfsame PT, while minister of Political Coordination.

It would have been comical,  if it weren’t so tragic, to see Representative and former Chief of Staff José Dirceu applauding, as if he were celebrating in the Maracanã stadium his team’s victory.

Portuguese comedian Raul Solnado once commented that after the carnations party people would get the florist’s bill. He was talking about the democratic revolution that took place in Portugal.

This same diagnosis is also valid for the Brazilian government. Aldo Rebelo’s won over José Thomaz Nonô for a mere 15 votes of difference. No doubt, they were the same 15 who have the rope around their neck, while trying not to be sacked. There is one left, because they number 16.

It is immense the price the Palácio do Planalto (presidential office) will have to pay for the granting of resources and nominations. There will always be a chance that the government won’t keep its promises, as it has already happened in the past. Release of resources? Who promised? Nominations? No way. Some people do not remember. Others forget. We will need to find out if the amendments will be paid after being released. Or if after being promised, the nominations will be published in the Federal Daily Gazette, making it official.

We can’t leave out however a word of optimism. Aldo Rebelo is a serious man. Competent. If he will keep being a communist faithful to its doctrine, that’s another story.  The Lower House is certainly in better hands under him than it would be under Severino Cavalcanti, but if he starts talking about different punishments for those legislators charged of receiving illegal money then he is finished.

The Brazilian public opinion will not be appeased with the resignations of Waldemar da Costa Neto, the bishop Rodrigues,  Severino Cavalcanti and a few more. Those who went against the Congress decorum will have to be punished. Punishments are now indispensable for the survival of the democratic institutions.

President Lula should consider that it is possible to win elections in the small universe of 513 citizen, especially if these citizens are congressmen. To face an electorate of 120 million is a total different animal, if the same old physiologic practices are kept, framed by impunity.

Bad Predictions

What could not be absent of the Wednesday night’s events, when the new House Speaker was chosen, was the friendly and trained press, the one for which better than the current government, only the next one.

For them the governments victory was a sure thing, and they bet the Lula administration would win by 40 or 50 votes. They got into trouble when the dispute became a close vote by vote bout, between Aldo Rebelo and José Thomaz Nonô.

The standoff in the first round did not lead the absurdity analysts to refrain from their brownnose manifestations. Quite a few, especially those who could be seen on TV, were sweating cold and losing their color.

They sought  various excuses to explain the tough battle and helped the interviewees from the government base with clueless questions, doing exactly the opposite to the opposition.

President Lula should beware because at any time the hand that caress will be that which throws stones at him.

We already have the examples of presidents Getúlio Vargas, Juscelino Kubitschek, Jânio Quadros, João Goulart, José Sarney and Fernando Collor de Mello. They metamorphosed from heroes into villains in less than 15 minutes.

Carlos Chagas writes for the Rio’s daily Tribuna da Imprensa and is a representative of the Brazilian Press Association, in Brasília. He welcomes your comments at carloschagas@hotmail.com.

Translated from the Portuguese by Arlindo Silva.

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