Brazil History – Cardoso, Lula and Rousseff

After the resignation of Collor de Mello (1992), accused of corruption, the I. Franco government took over. His Finance Minister FH Cardoso in 1994 succeeded in introducing a series of economic measures which included, among other things, the vigorous resumption of privatizations and the introduction of the new currency, the real. Cardoso, supported by prominent figures in the world of the economy, seen with some favor also by military circles and also with the strong support of a part of the working class thanks to a program of structural reforms, ran for the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira(PSDB) and won the 1994 presidential elections in the first round. The composite nature of the ruling coalition and the fact that one third of the Congress was made up of representatives of large landowners allowed Cardoso to only partially implement the program: it was continued the anti-inflationary policy and privatizations (already in force for telecommunications and transport) were extended to the oil sector, which for over forty years had been reserved for the state monopoly, but the agrarian reform was not launched, despite the creation of a special Ministry, urged by the more bloody clashes between the members of the Movimento dos trabalhadores rurais Sem Terra (MST), founded in 1985, which used the occupation of large fazendas as an instrument of political struggleand uncultivated land, and the private militias of the landowners, often flanked by the police. The lack of reform was matched by the massive urbanization of landless peasants and the increase in urban crime. The entry into force of MERCOSUR (1995) between Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, in order to guarantee the free movement of goods and services, a common commercial policy towards third countries and the coordination of the macroeconomic policies of the member countries, led to a very significant increase in the volume of trade, but the scarce competitiveness of Brazilian products compared to Argentine ones and the overvaluation of the realcaused a consistent trade deficit of Brazil towards Argentina, while the structural adjustments of Brazilian industries made necessary by the liberalization of the economic system led, in 1996, to a considerable increase in unemployment. Faced with these difficulties, the Brazilian trade union organizations reacted with protests and general strikes. Between undoubted successes in the fight against inflation and impediments to the launch of profound social reforms, Cardoso won the 1998 elections, prevailing over the candidate of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), Luiz Inácio da Silva (Lula). For Brazil history, please check

Lula became president at the end of Cardoso’s second term in October 2002, the first member of a left-wing party to hold that office. Its policy was marked by great pragmatism, guaranteeing the Brazilian solvency markets and the country’s role as a great power and global player, and launching a social redemption plan (Zero Hunger) which involved 60 million citizens. The tensions caused by the slowness of the processes of change and by repeated serious episodes of corruption committed by various members of the government and the PT did not prevent Lula from being reconfirmed for a second term in 2006. The success of the left was reconfirmed in the 2010 presidential elections. , which saw the victory with 56% of the preferences of Dilma Rousseff (b. 1947), reaffirming an alternative development path to that of neoliberalism.

In the following period, economic growth slowed down, settling at around 0.9% in 2012, and Rousseff’s attempts to stimulate consumption by lowering interest rates caused an increase in inflation in 2013. The discontent of the population, which complains of a lack of investment in the education and health sectors, has grown as a result of economic policies aimed at raising funds for the construction and renovation of sports facilities for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics ; in June, street protests against an unjustified increase in the price of public transport spread from Sao Paulo to many other cities in the country,

In the first round of the presidential consultations held in October 2014, outgoing President Rousseff obtained 42% of the votes, surpassing the conservative candidate A. Neves of the Social Democracy Party (about 33% of the votes), who he defeated in the ballot held in the same month, receiving 51.7% of the votes and being confirmed for a second term. The difficult economic situation made Rousseff’s second presidential term bumpy right from the start, against which the square returned to protest in 2015. The president’s popularity was further weakened by the corruption scandal linked to the national oil giant Petrobras, which has overwhelmed Brazilian politics and in which politicians who support the government are also involved; in December 2015,

The reactionary drift: Bolsonaro

In a country torn apart by poverty and unmotivated to public participation by the numerous political scandals of its recent history, the populist and reactionary drift of common thought – that dissent, organized through social networks in a protest movement that gave voice above all to women and homosexuals, failed to stem – resulted in the election to the presidency of the far-right candidate J. Bolsonaro. The politician, supported by the Partido social liberal (PSL), obtained 55.1% of the votes against the 44.9% of the challenger of the Partido dos trabalhadores F. Haddad, after an electoral campaign modulated following the model of political communication traced by D. Trump in which he defended the military dictatorship and legitimized the use of torture, flaunting homophobic, misogynistic and racist prejudices.

Brazil History - Cardoso, Lula and Rousseff

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