I sometimes think of the courageous, though not very affable, Élio Gaspari as something of a Chris Hitchens paulista, but such analogies hardly ever clarify what they are meant to. At any rate, at odds with myself, I resolved to translate a recent viewspaper essay on the current election race, currently mulling over last week’s debates and preparing this week’s.
In her latest debate with Aécio Neves, Dilma Rousseff enumerated a number of scandals involved the rival Toucan party, the PSDB. “The Sivam Affair”, “The pink folder”, “Buying votes to reelect Cardoso,” the “monthly payola of Minas Gerais,” and “The alleged siphoning of funds destined for the São Paulo subway.”
Who is responsible for such cases? Where are they? All enjoying their freedom, every one of them, down to the present day. Elio Gaspari surveyed these corruption cases in his regular column in the Folha de S. Paulo [as follows]:
Dilma did not lock the doors of the prison at Papuda,* and it was not Aécio who liberated his partisan allies**, but this seems like a good place to start the conversation.
In the mediocre debates held at TV Bandeirantes and SBT [last week], In which Dilma Rousseff seemed to be campaigning against FHC (Cardoso) while Aécio Neves seemed to be running for reelection in Minas, there was one very interesting moment: Dilma’s jeremiad on the five Toucans who are “back out on the streets,” “in perfect liberty.”
He pointed to signs of corruption in the PT organization and she responded with five PSDB-related scandals of her own: the Sivam affair, the pink folder, the buying of votes to enable the second mandate of FHC, the “Monthly Payola of Minas Gerais,” and the trains and subways scandals highlighted in last month’s street protests. As Dilma ticked off the question for each name on the list, asking, “and where are they now,” she answered, “[enjoying their freedom.]
It was not Dilma who raised the issue, it was the judiciary that put the “Papuda benches” — [under penal law, some can qualify to work outside the prison, as Zé Dirceu is doing].
Lula and the PT commissariat lent all the support they could to their comrades, but it was Justice that sentenced these miscreants to Papuda Prison, not the President. Lula and the PT commissariat provided all possible solidarity, including those who declared themselves “political prisoners.” But Aécio himself was not involved in the five scandals in Minas Gerais, and the suspects remain at large. They received this benefit because the Public Ministry (state’s attorney) could not place them in handcuffs. The Toucanate favored them with different degrees of solidarity and silence.
According to the line assumed by both candidates, it would betray an ignorance of manners to depict the confrontation in such Manichean terms. The sad fact of it is that both sides have truth on their side in the context of specific cases. The good news is that both promise to change the script.
And so, Dr. Dilma listed the five major Toucan scandals, all of them dating back to the last century and unpunished down to the present date. These are worth remembering.
Despite all the low-brow campaigning that the PT set in motion during this, the second turn of the national elections, it no longer resembles the party capable of reducing its campaigning to the lowest level possible. During a rally on Saturday in Belo Horizonte it was clear that factions within the party have no respect for ethical limits. In an activity organized by the PT in Minas Gerais, the personal attacks on the candidate Neves because extreme at some points. Adjectives used against the Top Toucan were “evil thing,” a “boor,” a “mama’s boy” and a “playboy,” “a brat” and “despicable.”
I have been known to refer to George W. Bush as a “chimp.”
Where do I go to pay my fine?
Awaiting the arrival of former president Lula for a Dilma campaign event, the master of ceremonies of the event read a message by the psychologist, who calls herself a “human rights specialist.” The text is replete with violent attacks on the Toucan man: It insinuates that Aécio has used drugs, is “a habitual abuser of women,” has been detained for driving drunk and has interfered in a number of corruption cases.
The psychologist “diagnoses” Aécio as a megalomaniac, which she once again links to the use of drugs. “Megalomania is a psychological syndrome in which the subject experiences delusions of grandeur, power and superiority. This is very characteristics of bipolar affective disorder. The user of drugs exacerbates and amplifies this scenario.” The gathering of activists greeted the text with an ovation.
Yes, but where is the Selfie showing Neves slaloming down a virgin trail of Medellin’s finest poweder? As my wife noted the other evening, the political climate is reminiscent of the Collor debacle, and a PSDB victory might do more damage than a loss with a candidate like Aécio. His youth-age, innovation-inertia scheme seens incoherent for a number of reasons. A plague of “#playboy” could be the death of his chances.
Filed under: Brazil