27 Oct 2014

Brazil: After elections, a divided country

Despite against the wishes of almost half of Brazil’s voters, President Dilma Rousseff won reelection yesterday and will lead the country for more four years. The Workers' Party (PT), her leftist party, is already leading the country for 12 years and after this coming 4 years, ex-President Lula and her sponsor, has the chance to go back to power for more 4 years.

Dilma Rousseff, 67, who was a Marxist guerrilla in the 1970’s, overcame growing dissatisfaction with the economy, poor public services and mainly, accusations of corruption committed by partners of her Party. The last scandal of corruption involves Brazil's state-owned oil giant Petrobras where close persons of her party have been incessantly accused of embezzlement.

With this result where she had 51,64% of valid votes, against her opponent Aecio Neves who had 48,36%, we see a country divided. Almost half of the country would like to see changes ahead and the other half thinks this government may continue for more four years. Rousseff will have to work hard to bring the country together and, it means, to revive growth in economy that has gone stagnant.

Investors have received this outcome with pessimism as the as stock market has been slumping today more than 7%. In the last years, inflation has been rising faster and a recession is on the spot, so her election is seen as something very bad to the market. Dilma will need to take emergencies measures to secure this tumbling economy. 

Despite all this, she shrugs off market pessimism saying that it is nothing but tantrums made by speculators. Talking about it, her foreign policy advisor Marco Aurelio Garcia said that investors should relax and "take tranquilizers", as the Economy will grow stronger than ever from the next year on.

She also pledges to deepen social benefits, which is the main reason she has gotten so many votes in the poorest states of the country. The flagship of his campaign is the “Bolsa Família programme, a sort of food stamp where people get money from the government, monthly, without needing of work. It is also one of the reasons for the “division” of the country. Half of the country believes that instead of giving money to the poor, the government should give them work, and the other half, of course, prefers to receive money without work.

However, with a country divided in two parts, she cannot radicalise in her measures to contain the drop of economy as well as to take money out from the middle class to help the ones in need. She also must rethink her help to Cuba, Venezuela and some African countries with “top secret” projects that we, Brazilians, pay and cannot know in advance why our money are being invested in these countries. Talking about it, as soon as the result came about, an excited greeting came from the Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who said in his Twitter account: “Congratulations, Dilma, for your courage before such a devil (referring to the disputes on TV, against Aecio Neves). The Brazilian people did not fail with history. A thousand hugs from the brotherhood”.

Now, we have to wait and see what future reserve for us. The President must reunite the country urgently and it means to bring poor and riches working together for a better Brazil. The result of her work will define the next President in four years, and it’s well known that PT wants to remain in power in the next election by bringing back ex-President Lula to the presidency.

For the time being, we have two Brazil. One tired of scandals of corruption and concerned about economy and so many other problems and one Brazil that thinks corruption is less important than receiving a food stamp.

8 Oct 2014

Brazilian Election 2014: Who's the next President?

After a historical misleading by the Brazilian polling Institutes, two candidates will run for the most important job title in the country – the Presidency; they are the incumbent Dilma Rousseff (PT – Worker’s Party) and Mr. Aécio Neves (PSDB – Party of Brazilian Social Democracy). Only two days before the election, Aécio Neves was polling third and the candidate of the centrist Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), Marina Silva, a popular former environment minister, was in second, in the first round. The final result arouse suspicion about the real intention of the polling Institutes towards the candidates.

Mr. Neves duly carried São Paulo state Brazil’s biggest, by 20 percent. This state is the richest in Brazil and ‘Paulistas’ – people who were born in the city – usually cast their votes to the candidates taking into consideration the economic situation of the country as well as corruption scandals, as a whole. The same occurs to the South and Southeast region in general. On the contrary, Ms. Rousseff got more votes in the Norht and Northeast regions where the level of education is below the standards and where the social programme “Bolsa Família”, a sort of food stamp help, is widely distributed to the poor.

As for Ms. Marina Silva, which during the political debates on TVs were fiercely attacked by Dilma Rousseff, has shown some endorsement towards Aecio Neves. Hailing from a humble background, she has   credibility among some Brazilians poor - something that the PSDB, regarded as the party of the riches, has lacked. The state she has had an expressive victory is Pernambuco, coincidently the state where ex-President Lula deemed as the “Brazilian Robin Hood” was born.

Now the battle front for the Presidency is widely open. Despite having more than eight million votes more, the President Dilma Rousseff will have to face a tough run off. With Marina’s support, Aécio Neves will feel more confident in getting votes from the ‘poor’, although he will have to work thrice more in the North and Northeast of the country.

For the economy and for the country as a whole, it would be better if Aécio won this election. The current government invested too many Brazilian money in Cuba and Venezuela, leaving aside the country’s main problems as education, health, transportation and security, for example. The candidate of PSDB is promising to invest in Brazil – something that ought to be deemed as normal in other instances – and it is what Brazilians need.

As for Dilma, her government has so many scandals of corruption, that it would be far better if she left the presidency for any other candidate but her.

On 26th October is the day that Brazilians will finally go to the polls to choose their future. There are only two options: a populist government who uses food stamp to remain in power or a government that promises change in the economy to bring the country back to growth.

We must wait and see.

3 Oct 2014

Brazil's Elections 2014

Next Sunday, 3rd October, we Brazilians, are going to the ballots to cast our votes to choose our next President, Congressmen and Senators - and I’m not excited about it.
The actual President Dilma Rousseff is the leading candidate to be the head of the country for more four years under her socialist rules. Due to this, the Brazilian financial market has been registering growing concerns about her and her party (PT) causing stocks and the Real currency to tumble.
In my viewpoint, the winner of PT administration, so far, is Cuba.
 
This country has been receiving billions of dollars of financial help from Brazil, even with the international embargo against Cuba. The money that could have being used internally is going away to help Castro’s family and their minions to continue their fight against the “great oppressor”. 
Marina Silva, who also comes from PT and currently is the Socialist Party's candidate, took over the top spot after the party's original candidate, Eduardo Campos died in a plane crash two months ago. She also has deep socialist ideology and is appointed as the candidate to defeat Dilma in the second round of voting. However, she has already said in case doesn’t run to the second round, she will support Dilma Rousseff and her allies in the runoff.
Dilma Rousseff, Marina Silva and Aécio Neves
The other candidate, who also has some chance to go to the second round against Dilma, is the ex-Governor of the State of Minas Gerais, Mr. Aécio Neves (PSDB). His force behind the scenes is the ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the “father” of the current Brazilian currency – “Real”. The polls have been showing him in 3rd place but he slowly is getting the numbers in his favour, as he has about 32 percent of the vote’s intention so far.

Ideologies apart, the next President will have lots of works to cope with. Violence is higher than ever, the economy is falling into recession. For ages, there’s no investment in Education, so it must be part of next President’s agenda as well. To sum up, there are so many problems to deal with, that the President will have to work hard to at least try to reduce part of them.
Unfortunately, so far, the main concern to the Brazilian media in general is if the next President is against or for the same-sex marriage, leaving aside real problems such as Education, Economy, Corruption and Health.
My hope is to see a country without corruption being part of the News on a daily basis... but I’m not sure if it is a dream or it’s something really reachable.
Whoever wins this election I would like to see a serious government, governing to the Brazilians only – and not to Cuba, Venezuela and so far.
Let’s see what is coming next.