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Friday, October 13, 2017

And The Disintegrating State of Brazil

Split as the US looks like these days, I still immerse myself into American news as a getaway from my own reality. When the nation of Trump still looks like a model of peace and union, you get some idea of what we've been through down here.

As I tried to point out in previous posts, my country is being run by a mafia whose members, like our own President - accused of multiple types of corruption schemes numbering hundreds of millions - are step by step 'evading' (notice I am being generous with the choice of words) the Justice system. After successfully delivering a few big shot (leftist) politicians to jail, the 'Lava Jato' operation hit the rocks, and it is by now clear it won't go much further.

A good deal of the actors behind the initial thrust against corruption are by now in retreat, either due to cold calculation (they already have someone in power aligned with their interests) or due to the stones getting too close to their glasshouses.

The results the 'Lava Jato' delivered are a double-edged sword. If it took a few big corrupt pols out, it also made the checks and balances system of the Republic even more unhinged than before. In a place where almost every player is compromised, the Judiciary may end up being not a filter to clean out the system, but a King Maker.

A recent anecdote illustrates the system we end up with. One of the key Federal Police (our 'FBI') deputies of the 'Lava Jato' operation was reassigned to another state, for reasons I can only guess. Lacking now the power to go after the big shots of yore, and the spotlights it rendered, she decided to go big against a Dean of the Federal University in the new state she was placed in.

A low level scheme, related to the misuse of a few federal scholarships in that University, was being investigated. The new Dean, having barely a year in the post (and no relation to the investigated misused funds), was accused (behind doors with talks to the feds) by a university clerk of trying to hinder the investigations. That Federal Police Deputy, losing no time, got the Dean in 'preventive prison', subjecting him to things like an 'anal search'- well, just because she could. She also convinced a judge to deliver an order keeping the Dean away from the University. He couldn't get back there even to talk to his graduate students.

As it turned out a few days later, the accusation that he hindered internal investigations was baseless, there were extensive records of him assigning probes to ascertain the facts. The clerk who accused him, who believed he was targeted because he lost a salary supplement, was among a hundred other workers who also lost it due to budgetary reasons.

The Dean, who was a lawyer from the Law Department no less, was freed from prison a day after his detention, but the headlines all over the country took a hit on his morale. Two weeks later he committed suicide, with a note on his pockets protesting the injustice.

Before the 'Lava Jato' operation, and the witch hunt atmosphere that came with it, a Fed Police Deputy would hardly be able to destroy a reputation so easily. But right now, we live in a place where the Justice system won't touch a President (and his aides) involved in millionaire scandals, but will easily trash the little people out there, and even the not so little people, if it renders newsworthy headlines.

Bad as it is, the election of someone like the man mentioned in my link above will only make this farcical police state worse. That's why I will keep posting about Trump, and the easy life my American friends have with politics.


erp said...

Looks like you need a Trump down there. You know, someone above the fray, who has nothing to gain personally and actually wants to make Brazil as great as the nuns told us in grade school it would be because it has everything we have here, except the will of the people.

BTW - nice piece of writing. Your English has made giant leaps.

Bom trabalho!

Clovis e Adri said...

Thanks Erp. I don't see much difference in my English now compared to a few years ago, but that's probably because the 'out-circuit' (speaking and writing) in our brain is different from the 'in-circuit' (reading and listening).

As for a Trump-like candidate, what do you think of the guy in my link (in the first paragraph of the post)? He is far more anti-PC than Trump.

As it happens, I guess Trump is another aspect of your 'American privilege'. You have institutions strong enough to support a bull-in-a-China-shop president. It is pretty clear we don't - give us a Trump, and most rights a classical liberal (such you declare yourself to be) cherish go to dust down here.

And as our history has proven again and again, it won't even stop corruption. It will only makes the friends of the King untouchable.

erp said...

Yes, and that's why the nuns were right about the will of people. What they didn't realize it that it was sapped by Jesuits preaching their doctrine of socialism.

Clovis e Adri said...


I told you before, but you won't believe me: you far exagerate the influence of Jesuits in our culture.

Actually, chances are that 2 in 3 persons out there in the streets won't even recognize what a Jesuit is if asked out of the blue about it.

Before you tell me they molded the culture and we do not realize it anymore, stop. Soap operas and reality shows far outpasses religion on what molds our culture these days. The catholic church is a spent force for decades now, and the Jesuits has been a spent one for more than 2 centuries.

erp said...

Yep, but they set it all in motion. The docility of the lower classes obeying not rebelling against the Catholic culture of clergy/aristocracy rule -- few, if any, pioneers forging into the wilderness as in the model of the U.S. and British Canada. The Jesuits failed to gain a foothold here although they had some luck with the Iroquois.

Peter said...

Clovis, I have a question you may find a bit bizarre. I'm intrigued by the role ubiquitous social media is playing in the current American political distemper and its destabilizing influences on political dialogue. I suspect it's much more than we realize, but it's just a theory. How "wired" is Brazil? Are the worrisome events you described being played out under the gaze of millions of opiniated citizens on Facebook and Twitter? Do Brazilian politicians and public figures tweet more and more?

Clovis e Adri said...


Brazil is completely wired - even the most poor teeangers in favelas have a smartphone and spend the day on facebook and doing selfies.

And I share your theory about social media exacerbating the political dialogues. Almost all public controversies of the last couple of years started there, then played out in the old media.

One of the up and coming candidates for the next presidential election, a millionaire that some people compare to Trump (because he was not a politician before, is anti-PC and follow right-wing policies), got elected to be mayor of Sao Paulo last year, and his main platform has been the social media (FB and twitter). His detractors say he is governing from Whatsapp, which is true to a good extent.

Clovis e Adri said...


Our 'pioneers' were very different from yours, as Portugal was also very different from Britain. Have you ever been to Portugal? They did not need to force us into docility, for we mostly inherited the trait.

And I don't get what you mean by 'forging into the wilderness', but if you imagine our initial settlers were idly waiting the forest to take over them, you are very far from the truth. We sure had a lot more wilderness than North America, and conquered (and destroyed) far more of it than you guys had to up there. You know, there is a readon our economy was classified as "extractivist" for so long.

erp said...

Clovis, you are again making my point for me. The Jesuits didn't materialize in South America, they came with the artistos and made wimps out of the indigenous people as well as re-enforcing docility on the lower classes they brought with them.

Geography isn't the deciding factor. Had the Brit pioneers settled the southern hemisphere and Brazil in particular, it would be like the U.S. and had Latins settled what is now the U.S., it would be like L.A. It's also why those countries colonized by the Brits are so much better off than those that had Catholic culture inflicted on them, with the French being particularly rapacious, to wit, the horrible example of Hispaniola.

Clovis e Adri said...

Sure Erp, after all, every English colony in Africa is now a very prosperous place.

And it is a shame indeed that Jesuits did not empower the Southern indigenous population in the way the English did with the North American ones...

erp said...

You're right. It is a shame.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "That's why I will keep posting about Trump, and the easy life my American friends have with politics."

Yes, we make our own american lives much harder than they need to be.

I just got back from upstate New York and was treated to a morning rant against Trump each morning by my mother's boyfriend. Not that it's very hard to come up with a daily rant about Trump, but it just doesn't seem like it's worth the energy to me, and first thing in the morning it was decidedly unpleasant. And your point that however annoying we find our politics, it's nothing compared against much of the rest of world is a very good one.

Clovis e Adri said...


Though if Justice is the topic here, I would say the USA may be not all that good either.

erp said...

The New Yorker isn't a credible source.

Bret said...

Perhaps the New Yorker isn't the most credible source on some topics, but the stashing away witnesses is definitely real. That was pretty much the only way you could get witnesses to show up for a mafia trial.

Hey Skipper said...

I don't see much difference in my English now compared to a few years ago, but that's probably because the 'out-circuit' (speaking and writing) in our brain is different from the 'in-circuit' (reading and listening).

Oh, I do.

At first, your English was clear enough, but came with mistakes typical to a decent non-native writer.

Now it is indistinguishable from even skilled native English writers.