What happened to Brazil?
Close to celebrate the World Federation of Trade Unions’ 70th birthday, in a huge activity in São Paulo, a matter has been made very often by the international delegation coming to the event: “What happened to Brazil?”
This question has every sense, because in the past years Brazil used to be retreated by international media as “the next big thing”, the country with no crises, the nation who lifted millions of habitants from poverty, the host of the biggest sportive events in the entire planet (Soccer World Cup in 2014 and Olympic Games in 2016).
However, since the end of last year this prosperous image has replaced without any explanations to the international audience. Instead, the economic and political crises emerged as a big catastrophe. Suddenly, in the international media (as in the Brazilian press) all government advances from the last decade has disappeared. “What has changed during the last months?”, asked Chinese, Cubans, Portuguese, Egyptians, Chileans, Indians and another comrades that will be in Brazilian soil between October 1st and October 3rd.
At this moment, it is fair that those international delegations receive an analysis with a different point of view about Brazilian conjuncture. Let is talk below about five fundamental facts:
- Dilma’s reelection
Dilma Rousseff’s new election was not well accept by Brazilian economic elite. Since the day after the election, it emerged a movement turned into a kind of “third round”, with no conclusive results yet. Media, big companies, part of unions and extreme-right politics have come together, organizing millions of people in demonstrations against Dilma and the Workers Party (PT). The government, with difficulties and next to the popular forces, remains as a democracy defender.
- Government’s mistakes
There is an attack to democracy in Brazil, but it is necessary to recognize that the government leaded by Dilma Rousseff made some mistakes, such bad choices in economy politics, with terrible consequences to the workers class (the interest rate, for example, increased seven times between 2014 and 2015). If in the beginning of the international crisis, in 2008, Brazil was able to dribble its effects, this time it became impossible to keep the country apart to the bad results from United States, European Union and even China.
- Political crisis
Despite the economic problems, the size of Brazilian crisis needs to be understood by the political point of view. After Dilma reelection, Brazilian right forces decided to change its strategy. Their leaders adopted an irresponsible posture, very close to antidemocratic acts. Besides, the conservatives looked to themselves as the powerful group at the National Congress. Rousseff’s resignation became an obsession, but not the final target. They want to hurt all popular, left base in the country, closing the new project started by Lula in 2003.
- Importance of pre-salt layer
The geopolitics context cannot be disposed in this debate. After pre-salt layer discovery, Lula and Dilma Rousseff reinforced the Petrobras’ strategic position in Brazilian economy. Nowadays, the company extracts 492.000 barrels/day in this huge layer, certainly in opposition to the imperialism plans to Latin America. The conservative forces in Brazil have a completely different point of view about that.
- Brazil: new position in the world
Since Lula’s election, Brazil has left behind its traditional, submissive political under the imperialism objectives. In the last 12 years, the nation has commanded the Latin American integration process and created a new relationship with China and Africa. Besides, Brazil has articulated the “South-South Cooperation” and stimulated a new political and economic block: the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The conservatives in Brazil, close to the United States concerns, acts in a singular way: destroy those goals and restart Brazilian agreements, in a typical neoliberalism effort.
After this small list, it is time to roll a big red carpet to receive all international delegations for the Symposium to celebrate the WFTU’ 70 years. Long life to our Federation! Welcome to Brazil!
Francisco Sousa e Silva is the Trade Union International of Metal and Mining (TUI MM)’ General Secretary.