May 9th, 2013
How fandom and ideology blinded the Brazilian left from seeing the blatant exploitation of Cuba’s doctors.
Read the full article here.
How fandom and ideology blinded the Brazilian left from seeing the blatant exploitation of Cuba’s doctors.
Read the full article here.
Por exemplo: vocês lembram do Lindberg Farias, líder estudantil dos cara-pintadas há 20 anos, que ajudou o impeachment do então presidente Collor? Pois é, hoje ele é farinha do mesmo saco político que o Collor (são da mesma base aliada). Por isso que eu não acredito que a política brasileira tenha jamais a remota chance de se redimir, se reformar. A mesma coisa aconteceu com a geração de 64 (vide Zé Dirceu). A geração de 64 se tornou farinha daquele mesmo saco o qual eles combatiam (falavam de censura mas manipulam a mídia e se fazem de perseguidos políticos quando na realidade são o partido da situação, e a única censura que existe vem por parte deles, porque ninguém pode falar mal deles). A geração de 64 falhou. A geração de cara-pintadas falhou. A das diretas já falhou. Não existe uma história de sucesso na alegada democracia da política brasileira. Não vai existir, nunca. E isso que eu nem comecei a falar da bancada evangélica… a nova direita, a pior de todas.
The title of this post is today’s trending topic on Twitter. #GodBlessAmerica. Today America and the world reminisce again the loss of thousands of dear ones.
I’m not going to overanalyse 9/11 and go through it all over again like thousands of bloggers, news agencies and international affairs people have been doing. You can find political and social analysis of 9/11 chewed and spitted all over the web. I don’t have anything of value to add to it. It changes in nothing what happened.
I didn’t lose a dear one on 9/11, but I feel like sharing my memories of it. To me 9/11/2001 was the singlemost event of my existence – I’m going 32 this year. Nothing else that happened during my lifetime that was as memorable – in a bad way – as seeing the WTC collapsing to the ground via live TV broadcast.
And then there’s the classic question “Where were you when…?”
In the morning of Semptember 11th, 2001, I was still a medical student. I was arriving at the Pavilhão Pereira Filho Lungs Hospital to see patients and for a lecture. I entered the hospital. The waiting lounge TV was on, and dozens of people (patients and staff) were gathering around the TV, as if hypnotized. The first plane had already hit the first tower. I thought that was all very funny and strange at the same time, and asked the lady next to me: “What film is that?”, to which she replied “It’s not a film. A plane crashed into the building.” That sounded delirious, surreal, and I was kind of dumbfounded. The woman had barely finished talking when the second plane hit the second tower. Then I said ‘oh my god’ in a low voice and my brain went on in an endless “what the fuck” loop for a pretty long time until it actually got to me that that was no film and something was really happening. Then I went up the stairs for a lecture that took place only in our bodies but not in our minds, because we had our cell phone radios on and even the professor would stop the lecture to ask on updates about “the situation”. Everyone was worried, because even though the attacks occured in the USA, the motive for the attacks and the attackers were both initially unknown, and everyone was afraid of being blown up as well. I had to see patients in the hospital wards that day. The hospital wards are filled with televisions – every room, every corridor. Eventually my medical examination and interview would be interrupted by the patient pointing to the TV set and mumbling something. After I was done with my daily activities I went to the med school cafeteria – which was crowded with other fellow students looking at the TV and debating the attacks and American foreign affairs. And that was 9/11 for me.
Aftermath: all the bad talk and international debate about the role of American foreign affairs in the attacks and the whole war against terror thing came only weeks/months later. The shock wave of the implosion of the WTC was stronger than anything and uttered immediate revenge
…and so it goes.
…Cesare Battisti, the convicted italian terrorist and murderer of several people, is now walking freely in the streets of Brazil, thanks to president Lula. Cesare Battisti is the new Ronald Biggs.
Dear Italian citizens: I hereby clarify, on behalf of the majority of Brazilian citizens, that we Brazilians disagree with president Lula’s decision. We are ashamed of his decision, and we think that Battisti belongs in the hands of Italian justice, nowhere else.
President Lula’s last official act as the president of Brazil, a few hours before leaving office, was a closed meeting with Mahmoud Abbas.
The meeting’s reason we learned today, through AlJazeera English :
My short comment: I almost passed out of shock when I first read this. My mother and my father almost had a heart attack.
While I support the Palestinian cause it also concerns me how Lula is jeopardizing more and more Brazil’s diplomatic ties with ther nations.
I wonder how long will it be until Brazil figures in the blacklist of potential terrorist countries. For one who aims a permanent seat in the UN’s Security Council this was a very, very bad move.
President Lula should have kept in mind that defending Brazil’s interests comes first. Supporting random causes, humanitarian issues and other nations is secondary to our nation’s very own issues. He should have known better.
José Serra (PSDB – Party of Social Democracy of Brazil, center-to-right wing) is the only man out of the three main candidates to president. Born in the town of São Paulo, he comes from a lower middle class family, son of italian immigrants. Just like rival Dilma Rousseff (PT), Serra was an active leftist militant against Brazil’s 1964′s military coup. Unlike Dilma Rousseff, he didn’t stand for an armed action. But to the then military commanders-in-chief the only good opposition was no opposition. José Serra was captured and oustered by them, interrupting his study of civil engineering and later graduating as an economist. Unlike Dilma Rousseff, José Serra accumulates a vast roll of political posts, from mayor of São Paulo to senator of the Republic. He was also Minister of Health during the mandate of former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
Last year – before President Lula came out to publicly endorse the candidacy of Dilma Rousseff – Serra started out well ahead in the polls. That has changed drastically and the latest polls have shown a continuous downfall, being that now Serra has only 25-27% of vote intentions, against 52% of Dilma Rousseff.
In the Brazilian electoral process it’s normal to have one candidate using denounces of corruption as a petard against the opposition candidate. First we had Dilma Rousseff’s allies digging deep into José Serra’s daughter life to try to find anything that could be thrown against the fan. Then in the past two weeks an avalanche of denounces of corruption coming from Serra’s allies brought down Lula’s current chief of staff, Erenice Guerra. She has a direct relationship with Dilma Rousseff, since Dilma was the previous chief of staff. Yet, nothing seems to tarnish Dilma Roussef’s candidacy, she will remain untouched as long as she’s armored with Lula’s unbreakable shield of popularity.
Election happens in October 3rd, 2010, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., -3 GMT.
Brazilians vote via computers developped exclusively for this purpose, called “e-ballots”. In 2010 Brazil will start implementing, in test mode, vote by biometric scan and the printing of a receipt with the name of the voted candidate. Those are measures to increase safety and avoid electoral fraud.
Today’s candidate is Dilma Rousseff.
Dilma Rousseff (PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores – Worker’s Party) is Lula’s sweetheart. Previously to candidacy she had been the Chief of Staff of Brazil – from 2005 until 2010 – in Lula’s mandate. In spite of having an administrative position of public notoriety, she had been living in the shadowy limbo of political (and public) oblivion until President Lula openly endorsed her candidacy around the middle of 2009. Before President Lula openly and shamelessly* advocated for her, hardly any average Brazilian citizen knew exactly who Dilma Rousseff was or what she did. Back then she would always be 10 points behind in the polls, runner up to candidate José Serra (PMDB – Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira – Party of the Brazilian Social Democracy). After President Lula started openly campaigning for and with her, she started climbing all the way up on the polls, and is now about 10 points in front of candidate José Serra.
Dilma Rousseff never ran for any public post in her life. She is essencially an administrator who was fabricated into the ideal politician stereotype, based solely on Lula’s gigantic and astonishing popularity and public appeal. This article says exactly what I am talking about: My Name is Dilma Rousseff and I’m Running Again for President, Says Brazil’s Lula
All the above said, I am not saying here that Dilma would be a bad president simply because she never ran for office before.
Unlike her female concurrent Marina Silva, who had a poor life background in the Amazon forrest, Dilma Roussef is a urban, high middle class woman, born in the town of Belo Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas Gerais. Already in her youth – 16 years old – she became interested in Marxism. Later while in college (UFMG, where she started a major in Economics, later finished in another college, UFRGS, in the town of Porto Alegre.) she became a member of the socialist armed militia VAR-Palmares, one of the many youth groups that fought against the abuses of the ongoing military dictatorship (which started in 1964 with a coup d’etat). Dilma Rousseff was arrested and tortured by the military during three years of her life. After the end of military dictatorship she started her career in a number of administrative posts, always related with public administration and politics, and so on, until she became Lula’s Chief of Staff.
Dilma Rousseff, together with Marina Silva, is a good example of Brazil’s best: diversity. Both come from opposite backgrounds, one is a brown skinned, formerly illitarate child of the Amazon; the other is white, daughter of a rich European immigrant. Both are Brazilian. They have very different stories, but what they have in common is that both somehow involve suffering and giving yourself over to something bigger. Both are women. Both are candidates to president.
*The electoral law of Brazil determines that there is only so much the current chief of state can do to campaign in favor of his successor. President Lula crossed that line shamelessly many and many times, and has been fined in several thousands of Brazilian Reais for that, yet, he pays the fine and goes on breaking the law. The situation got to the curious point that Dilma will never pose with her Vice (and I’m afraid no one actually even knows who her vice is: Michel Temer, PMDB, President of the Brazilian Congress.)
I only mention this funny detail because undue campaign is something Lula vehemently condemned before he became president. Now he changed his mind, it seems.
The Brazilian presidential election is starting to heat up, and it’s with great joy that I announce this: out of the three main candidates to President of Brazil, two are women. I will present them in different posts. Today I’ll introduce you to Marina Silva.
Marina Silva (@silva_marina, PV – Green Party) was the first to officially register her candidacy with the Electoral Supreme Court. Marina’s vice-president is Guilherme Leal, co-founder and director of Natura, a Brazilian (and Latin American) cosmetics giant. Leal also takes part in the Brazilian WWF, Funbio (Brazilian Fund for Biodiversity), Abrinq Foundation and Arapyau Institute (an organization for education and sustainable development).
Marina is currently a Senator for the state of Acre, in the Amazon. She used as well to be President Lula’s Environment Minister. She left PT (Worker’s Party) to join the Green Party as she strongly disapproved Lula’s environmental and agrarian reform policies. A child of the Amazon, born in poverty and victim childhood labor, Marina learned to read only when she was 18 years old, and was persistent enough with studying to get a college degree in History and post-graduation. She’s a winner, a hard working exemplary Brazilian citizen.
Marina Silva has conservative opinions about gay marriage and abortion (which is illegal in Brazil). She is a religious person, nearly became a nun. Her statements about creationism and teaching religion in schools have been a recurrent cause of embarrassment, as reporters and TV anchors love to misquote her by making out of context citations. It’s an irony that her vice-president is the owner of the biggest cosmetics company in Latin America: Marina Silva wears zero make-up. “I’m too allergic”, she says. Religion again was the cause of a recent Twitter polemic involving her followers, when Marina’s tweets about José Saramago‘s death were largely misinterpreted.
Make no mistakes though: her religiousness doesen’t get in the way of her politics. She’s no zealot. In Brazil religion and politics don’t mix. The easiest way to lose an election in Brazil is if you appeal strongly to religion. The latest polls indicate her popularity is growing, and she went from 8% to 10% of vote intentions. Two percent means a lot for the underdog with a low budget and virtually zero space in the media, when compared to the main opponents. Dilma Rousseff (PT) and José Serra (PMDB), the topdogs, lead the polls technically tied, with percentages that vary from 34% to 40% of votes (for both of them). Debates have yet to take place, but it’s likely that Marina will be present since her candidacy has been gaining popularity.
Official website: http://www.minhamarina.org.br/blog/
Last year the Brazilian House of Senate went through a careful financial inspection, which concluded there was an excessive expenditure with third party sanitation contractors – suggesting demissions should be made. That was the first of a torrent of denounces about the Senate’s excessive expenses with unnecessary employees, crass irregularities in the biddings, undue extra-pays for overtime that never happened, ghost employees*, deliberate misuse of public money and nepotism. It culminated with the #ForaSarney campaign on Twitter*, headed by a brazilian media-man and TV anchor (@marcelotas). The scandal had such broad proportions that the Brazilian Senate got the prowess of being called “The House of Horrors” in an article published by The Economist last year. (link to original text)
Well… now, after the dust settled, everything seems to be going back to what it was. The Senate is signing up for 1.600 sanitation jobs with salaries from $1.200,00 to $6.000,00 Brazilian Reais (a lot for the Brazilian pattern) – with
*facepalm* the same contractor that triggered last year’s scandal! The contractor happens to be a firm that doesn’t pay their employees when it’s due, and for that reason it has been already fined by the Senate itself in 4 million Brazilian Reais — fine which the firm hasn’t payed yet, I must add. All that will cost the brazilian tax-payers 72 million Brazilian Reais a year. I understand the Senate is very filthy place, but 72 mi is a lot even for the dirtiest politician.
Also, the Senate is renewing the contract with “Plansul Planejamento e Consultoria”, a firm in the communication and media sector, for 327 jobs that will cost 17 million Brazilian Reais to tax-payers. Those are jobs like ‘spokesperson’, ‘substitute-spokesperson’, ‘spokesperson-assessor’, ‘spokesperson secretary’, ‘spokesperson manicurist‘ and so on.
I feel embarrassed as a Brazilian citizen for the shamelessness of my corrupt politicians.
*Ghost Employee is a corruption phenomena in Brazilian politics: it’s a bogus public employee that only exists in the payroll, while someone else deliberately and illegaly (a politician or another public employee) receives his salary.
*The #ForaSarney campaign on Twitter was a movement that aimed to bring down the president of the Senate and former-President of Brazil, José Sarney. It wasn’t restricted to Twitter, people also protested in the streets. By now I think you could have guessed it didn’t work.