The Mafia that Governs Brazil
I recently read a Facebook post from a person who rightfully pointed out that Brazil is far from being a democracy. In fact, the user clarified that the country has never been a democracy, at least not in the last 40 years.
He begins his post with the following thought: “Today it is difficult to disassociate ourselves from politics. I’ve found out about the size of the irony that we Brazilians are in ..” He then uses irony himself to refer to the situation the country is in and how people were indoctrinated into believing that democracy reigns all over. “The generation of which I am part of was born in a democratic environment. What a good thing. A new constitution … How lucky we are! Brazil is a “young democracy”. So I heard, so they told me. I, innocent, believed. We, the innocent, believed.
The problem is that Brazilians are not innocent. They were lied to all right, but that was many years ago. Today, they are innocent no more, yet they continue to allow a cabal of oligarchs, both foreign and local to determine what their lives should be like. It is not a Monarchy as the author of the post claims, but a Mafia. It is the same kind of Mafia that governs over every single western country today.
Mr. Dobrinsky says that the class of people that dominates politics in Brazil is a sort of nobility, but he forgets to point out what is obvious: The people are to blame for everything that has happened in the country since it became a sort of democratic republic. It is the people who elect their representatives. How and why do people elect representatives who destroy a country like Brazil? The answer is due to ignorance.
There are two other horrific details that seem to be out of the public discourse of those who complain about their government here in Brazil. Firstly, most people understand the situation and do nothing to change it, and secondly, people actually embrace the current state of disgrace the country is in.
The highest degree of corruption in the history of the country is not enough to light up a fire cracker in the hearts of Brazilian people, who limit their actions to innocuous street protests that do little or nothing to change things up. In fact, that very same degree of corruption is brought in and adopted into their own lives.
Brazil’s problem is not that people are ignorant, but that people are willfully ignorant. They learn to be ignorant from very early in their lives which is why most people still support the “jeitinho brasileiro” or the Brazilian way of doing things. That behaviour exists in the minds of members of the political mafia as much as in those of the homeless and everyone in between. It is part of people’s fabric.
There are three clear examples of how deeply rooted corruption and complacency are in the Brazilian way of life. All Luiz Inacio da Silva, Dilma Rousseff and the current president, Michel Temer are being investigated by a special court due to their apparent involvement in massive corruption scandals with tentacles extending to other countries in Latin America. Yet, all that Lula, Dilma and Temer show in public is arrogance, hubris, bravado.
Just this week, president Temer was officially put under investigation after tapes surfaced where he asks for bribes to keep a fellow mafia member quiet about the scandals he appears to be involved in.
The accusations are stacked against Temer, battered by evidence and judicial statements filed to incriminate him by the owners of one of the country’s main business groups.
But Temer not only refuses to resign, but has also decided to move to attack those who accuse him of wrongdoing. He claims that the evidence against him is “fraudulent” and in a message to the nation he urged the Supreme Court to suspend investigations related to obstruction of justice, passive corruption and criminal organization. As expected, Temer showed no proof to back up his claims.
Anyone would think that with the current state of affairs, Brazilians would be at least populating the streets as they did against Rousseff, but nothing even remotely close has taken place.
Meanwhile, resisting at all costs seems to be the slogan of the Brazilian president, despite the fact that the situation for him only worsens as the days pass. Temer is becoming a new Nicolas Maduro.
The disclosure last Friday of the judicial statements of the entrepreneurs who incriminate Temer, the owners of the meat empire JBS, brought devastating consequences.
The managers describe a systematic payment of illegal donations, negotiated directly with Temer over the last 10 years, totaling up to 4.7 million reals.
The maneuvers reported by the entrepreneurs took place even while the country was in the midst of the investigations of the Lava Jato case.
They assert that a few months ago an intermediary of Temer demanded a commission of 5% for him to obtain a favourable decision by the organization that oversees free market competition through which JBS would obtain a profit of 200 million reais a year.
Going back a few years, the informers tell how Temer managed, as vice-president of the country, to receive a monthly payment of 100,000 reais for an ally of his who had just left his position as government official.
Another account tells about how Temer made a donation of another 15 million reais to the parties that were allied with him in the 2014 election campaign and how he decided to keep one million for himself.
To make matters worse, the communication group O Globo, until now one of Temer’s greatest cheerleaders, is beating mercilessly on the new details and on Friday published an editorial demanding his resignation.
Although Temer still has the bulk of his parliamentary support, which includes his own political army, the Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), and the Brazilian Social Democrat Party (PSDB), the drip of desertions among its allies is growing.
On Saturday, the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) withdrew its support. It is increasingly doubtful that he will have enough strength to approve the reform he has been most committed to and the one that most demand for the markets: the reduction of pensions.
For the first time since the start of the new political crisis, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva went on stage to demand Temer’s resignation and to have early elections.
Lula is the most interested in immediate elections because he leads all the polls and could be a candidate for the presidency again before the five legal proceedings open against him, also for corruption, are concluded.
The former president is also not free from the confessions of the owners of JBS, who claim that they delivered 150 million reais in illegal donations to Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT).
In the midst of this flood of new corruption scandals, Temer decided to address the nation again on Saturday not only to deny all charges but to appear as the “moralizer” of Brazilian public institutions.
He warned that the opening of the judicial investigation compromises the economic recovery of Brazil, after two years of hard recession, since he placed the country in what he himself admits as “a serious political crisis.”
Temer’s strategy is to invalidate one of the main tests against him, the recording of a conversation he held on March 7 at his official residence with JBS owner Joesley Batista.
From the content of that meeting, the Attorney General of the Republic, Rodrigo Janot, deduced that the president gave his acquiescence to the payments that Batista was allegedly making to buy the silence of former President of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, a former political ally of Temer sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption.
The newspaper Folha de São Paulo has published an expert study that says that the recording is edited and has up to fifty cuts. Temer clings to that to claim that the new “clandestine recording” was “tampered with.”
The newspaper Folha de São Paulo is part of a group known as the Folha Group, a conglomerate that also controls UOL (Universo Online), the leading Internet portal in Brazil.