The public self-criticism of the Brazilian right wing made by Pedro Cafardo, director of Valor, the magazine representing the Brazilian business world, is surprising: The Brazilian elite, responsible for the country’s misfortunes, had never before taken responsibility for their actions.
Cafardo admits that Brazil’s “dominant class” was instrumental in the election of Jair Bolsonaro; he criticizes “influential” entrepreneurs, politicians and journalists who “have not yet apologized” for this fact and who “are running away from their responsibilities.” He writes that influential politicians have given the impression that they’re trying to “fool the country.”
Cafardo writes that the entrepreneurs “thought only of their own interests, and thought they could accept anyone as long as it wasn’t the Workers’ Party (PT).”
“It is clear that the responsibility for the election of Bolsonaro falls on the Brazilian elites, from the agricultural to the industrial sectors, obviously also including the financial circles. It was the richest and theoretically well-informed people who got him elected and who worked hard for that. Now, they must offer a mea culpa.”
According to Cafardo, the politicians knew that Bolsonaro would adopt a conservative policy, hostile to China, and that—among other things—he would give no importance at all to the issue of the environment: “The current president has many serious flaws, but he also has one quality: he has never lied about his authoritarian intentions. While the elites didn’t know that he would adopt such a disastrous health policy, they could have suspected it.”
What is the meaning of these admissions? First of all, certain facts are simply obvious, even from the point of view of big business. Secondly, the PT is the real bogeyman of the Brazilian right wing. The fear of returning to a government that would give priority to the rights of all and to a fair distribution of income has led entrepreneurs, media figures and politicians to prefer Bolsonaro, even though they knew who he was. This is where they failed the country, throwing Brazil into the worst crisis in its history, after the coup that interrupted the virtuous cycle of the governments led by the PT.
The article fails to include the judiciary among the sectors that should engage in serious self-criticism. Anyway, what does such self-criticism mean? It must not be merely a theoretical exercise. And the only way to make it concrete would be the annulment of the 2018 presidential elections (since, in addition to the issue of Lula’s purposeful exclusion, the Electoral Tribunal’s investigations into the cyber-attacks orchestrated by the Bolsonaro-Mourão tandem are currently underway) and the return of the country to the polls.
At that point, those who are being self-critical now would have to dismantle the appalling mechanism that ensured that anyone could be elected as long as they were not from the PT. And they would have to acknowledge the successes of the PT in government, vilified until now by businessmen, politicians, journalists and judges.
It is necessary to do everything so that Brazil can overcome the damage caused by an ill-considered election.
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