Brazil is the richest and largest country of South America. The vast oil reserves of the Santos and Campos basins, off Rio de Janeiro, make it the country where there is more oil in reserve in the world. Pricewaterhouse Coopers estimates that Brazil will become the fourth richest country in the world by 2050. Except that social inequalities, violence and corruption are plaguing society. Brazil in the 21st century is still waiting to enjoy a reliable and deep-rooted democracy.
Modern history of Brazil had well begun. Under the reign of Emperor Peter II, Brazil was a prosperous country. In 1850, its growth was comparable to those of United States and Europe. Peter II was a Catholic, abolitionist and led his country towards democracy and prosperity for all, like Gabriel Garcia Moreno in Ecuador.
But Peter II was expelled by a coup on November 15, 1889, financed by great landowners and inspired by the usual Bolivarian lodges. The army proclaimed the republic but refused to speak of democracy. The country was ruled by rich landowners, the coronels, until the crisis of 1929. When Brazil needed generosity, education and democracy, plutocracy gave away bla-bla but clung to privileges that fueled rebellion.
This Brazilian tragedy has continued untill present day, through the authoritarian regime of Getulio Vargas in 1930, as well as with army rulers. Juscelino Kubitschek built Brasilia, the capital, in the Amazon in 1960, to open the vastness of the territory to the people of the cities. The development of the country was hampered by great landowners private interests.
Between 1964 and 1985, it was military dictatorship. More than 500 people were killed, on the backdrop of the CIA-operated Condor operation and the "revolutionary" attacks of the MR-8 carioca or the National Liberation Action (NLA), based in Sao Paulo; The violence caused an opportunistic disturbance to not start democratic reforms ...
When Fernando Henrique Cardoso was elected in 1994, his government succeeded in controlling inflation. Members of the Landless Workers' Collective occupied his family ranch, demanding an agrarian reform that never came. Cardoso ended his career in a deplorable corruption story.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, better known as "Lula", won the presidential elections in October 2002, giving rise to many democratic hopes. It was the first left-wing government of Brazil in 40 years. The big landowners were worried, because the middle-class supported the president's democratic reforms. In April 2004, however, the activists of the Landless Workers' Collective were demonstrating, awaiting for agrarian reform. In March 2005, a death squad killed another 30 people in a favela on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
In May 2006, dozens of people were killed inside a prison in the state of Sao Paulo. The problem was not new: in 1992, in the Carandiru Penitentiary (Sao Paulo), 111 prisoners had been summarily executed by the military police while they were on their way. This year, in January, gangs were still killed in Manaus prison. There were 56 dead bodies left. "The prison system is still marked by heavy overpopulation, degrading conditions, torture and frequent violence," Amnesty International wrote in its 2015-2016 report. Had Brazil changed ?
In December 2007, President of the Brazilian Senate Renan Calheiros, a key ally of President Lula, resigned to avoid being questioned about a corruption scandal. In June 2011, the chief of staff of President Rousseff resigned, again on the grounds of corruption.
At the same time, the government was launching a social protection program, Brasil Sem Miseria (Brazil without poverty), aiming to lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty. Parliament approved the following year a law that compelled universities to reserve 50% of their places to students of public schools and thus promote social elevation. But inflation was still running and the gap between the wealthy and the poor widening.
In March 2015, the Petrobras state oil company scandal, worth millions of dollars implied more than 80 politicians and prominent members of the business community in massive corruption, including the president Lula Workers' Party and President Dilma Rousseff, who took over in 2011.
Delcídio do Amaral, former leader of the Workers' Party in the Senate, involved in the scandal, admitted that Dilma Rousseff had benefited from bribes from overbilled contracts linked to the construction of the Belo Monte dam and that she " Knew everything "from the Petrobras network. The Workers 'Party used these funds to buy politicians' votes and, according to Otávio Azevedo, former CEO of the second construction company in Brazil, to finance the electoral campaigns of Dilma Rousseff.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former president of the country, was convicted. He had been offered a $ 690,000 seaside apartment by the engineering firm OAS to help get contracts with Petrobras. He was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. On March 17, 2016, Dilma Rousseff appointed Lula, Minister of State and Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic, as the highest office of the government, to prevent him from being detained. A telephone interview between her and Lula, made public by Federal Judge Sérgio Moro, showed that there had been an arrangement between them to stop the criminal proceedings against Lula.
Ms Rousseff had also been caught transferring funds between government budgets, which is illegal, in an attempt to mitigate the shortfalls in her social programs and increase her chances of being re-elected for a second term in office, in October 2014.
Former president of the lower chamber, Eduardo Cunha, member of Michel Temer party, officially worked for the indictment of Mrs. Rousseff, but Michel Temer was behind the scenes. In August 2016, Michel Temer took advantage of constitutional provisions to replace, without being elected, Mrs. Rousseff for the remainder of her term until 1 January 2019.
President Rousseff wanted to create a minimum age for retirement, to increase social programs. The people of the party of Temer now want to reduce compulsory spending on health and education. Economist Laura Carvalho of USP University warns: "There will be a lot of resistance from social movements and trade unions."
Today, it is Temer himself who is directly involved in corruption scandals. Marcelo Odebrecht, CEO of Latin America's largest construction conglomerate, sentenced to 19 years in prison for corruption, admitted that part of the $ 48 million he donated to Rousseff's and Temer's campaigns, during the 2014 Brazilian presidential election, was illegal. Joesley Batista, owner of JBS, the largest meat company in the world, gave to the judicial police records of a meeting in which he had invited Michel Temer to indiscretions; One of his managers gave a bribe of $ 150,000 directly to Mr. Temer assistant.
But Temer and his allies of the establishment now close the door to justice. Deltan Dallagnol, the chief prosecutor of Operation Lava Jato, the anti-corruption campaign, complains in a new book that his small team, already confronted by the country's most powerful law firms , is constantly under surveillance.
The federal police announced that the officers assigned to the working group to investigate the facts related to Operação Lava Jato will devote part of their time to other investigations. "Politicians want to hinder our investigations, and if we are not vigilant, it will happen as in Italy, where it is now more difficult to investigate than before Operation Mani Pulite (Clean Hands operation in 90's), "said Prosecutor Carlos Fernando dos Santos Lima.
Temer, an experienced parliamentarian, pays large amounts of government funds to congressmen who vote against his indictment. On July 13, 2017, a committee of the House has already refused the proposal of the representative Sergio Zveiter to sue Temer to the Supreme Court for corruption. Despite the Committee's decision, the charges against President Temer will be brought before the Chamber of Deputies to be voted in early August.
This is a turning point for Brazil. The shadow of Peter II hovers over this mess. Perhaps the country will keep all its promises, or it will be chaos.