To Starve & Die in Brazil, Colltalers
The brutal execution-style murder of Brazil’s councilwoman Marielle Franco, Wednesday night in Rio, may have triggered what close to two years of President Michel Temer’s string of corruption scandals and slashes to social, health, and education programs hadn’t: social unrest.
It may be about time. After proudly leaving the U.N. World Hunger Map, in 2014, and overtaking the U.K. as the sixth-largest economy, Brazil retreated into a constitutional downward spiral, since it installed Temer in power two years later, in what’s now largely viewed as a coup.
The last time Brazilians took the streets to mass protest, they wound up serving interests of an alliance of right-wing politicians, powerful media organs, and segments of the middle class, that orchestrated President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment halfway into her second term.
But when thousands showed up to mourn Marielle, as she was known, in Rio and other cities, the mood was different. In grief, Brazilians are again demanding human rights, justice, and freedom, just as they’d done in the 1980s to finally dislodge from power the military dictatorship.
They’ve got plenty reasons to do so. Yet, while there’s much soul searching and vicious arguments about what actually brought the country to such a paralyzing standstill, there are few areas of disagreement about what needs to be fixed: opportunity, the rule of law, a more accountable class of politicians, a clear path to regain control over the future, and others, are all often mentioned as common denominators.
But the endless chain of financial malfeasance by members of Temer’s cabinet, a judiciary that’s not just utterly partisan, but has resisted any effort to review its bill of privileges, plus the multi year, multi-headed political aim at dismantling PT, the Workers’ Party, of its legacy, has hardly left any space for thinking about solutions. In the middle of the national room, of course, sits the giant shade of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The two-time former president seems now bound to prison, after a relentless campaign against his perceived misconducts all but ruined his reputation as the man who had at last put Brazil on another map, that of influential nations of the world. In fact, under his presidency, over 30 million Brazilians were lifted from deep poverty, and some social programs he implemented became Continue reading