Brazil: Lula’s Empty Promises

    Brazil: Lula's 
Empty Promises

    The Brazilian
    people does not need Lula, nor wants him
    anymore. The Brazilian President didn’t keep his promises and
    business with China, will only enrich friends. The headlines in
    Brazil talk about advances. They forgot the existence of 53 million

    indigent, 12 million unemployed and 10 million famished.
    by: Carlos
    Chagas

    The story is old, but timely. Alexander the Great, had conquered
    the Greek, entered Athens as a conqueror, and was preparing
    the invasion of Asia, from which he, in fact, would not return,
    in spite of having made himself the conqueror of the known world.

    He learned, in the Greek
    capital, of the existence of the wisest man alive, ex-lawyer, ex-millionaire,
    who had renounced everything and was living in a barrel, on the dock in Piraeus,
    enchanting the young people with his teaching.

    The potentate approached,
    locating himself in front of the opening of what might, charitably, have been
    thought to be the door of the wise man’s strange residence. Seeing him
    seated, Alexander burst out:

    “Ask of me what
    you will, for I will give it to you. Palaces, lands, slaves, treasures and
    riches never before seen!”

    Diogenes raised his eyes
    to the master of the world, and answered: “Majesty, takest not from
    me that which thou mayest not give.” Alexander suddenly realized that
    he was between the sun and Diogenes, who was warming himself on that cold
    winter day. He turned his back and left, never to return, conscious of his
    pettiness before the profundity of what he had heard.

    People Anxious
    for Better Days

    This episode from the
    chronicles of human thought speaks of the reality of Brazil. In full possession
    of power, master of Brazil, brilliant guide of the peoples, one of these days
    President Lula will seek to know where the people may be found, so that he
    can pay homage, as Alexander wanted to pay homage to Diogenes.

    And the people, not living
    in one, but perhaps a thousand barrels, from Rocinha to Alemão, from
    the palafitas of Amazônia to the shacks of the Northeast, from
    the periphery of São Paulo to the nooks and crannies of the cerrado
    (scrub forest), the people will simply ask Lula not to take from them
    that he which he was unable to give.

    What is that? The yearning
    for better days. The importance of a fair distribution of income. A minimum
    salary able to meet necessities. Jobs, so that every one can give his best
    for the common work of building a more just society.

    In a world, hope, promised
    but never made concrete since the beginning of the government. Palaces, lands,
    slaves, treasures and riches which the people do not need, nor ask for, continue
    to be presented to the courtiers, toadies, to the scoundrels and a whole fauna
    of exploiters.

    But the warmth of a happy
    existence, capable of coming naturally, sufficient for all in its simplicity,
    don’t even think about it. Lula interposed himself between the sun and
    the barrel. He managed to deny Diogenes his natural desire to warm himself.

    The people
    does not need Lula, nor wants him anymore. The candidate, infected
    by unkept promises, acted only to reward the elites with the
    gleam of the swords, lances, and armor used in the conquest
    of power. Business with China, billion-dollar investments, partnerships
    for the creation of steel plants, ports, and railways, all this
    will only serve to enrich friends.

    The people
    only wants them not to take away the warmth of the sun, that
    is, the hope that one day we will be able to warm ourselves
    without the arrival of the prince’s shadow, with its promises.
    Let Lula go and conquer. Even go to China. But leaving us the
    certainty that we will only receive the light of the sun along
    with the conquerors of our hopes that they abandon us. That
    they no longer take from us that which they cannot give us…

    A
    Happy Campaign

    The government is preparing
    to try and turn the tide. On the sly, enormous grants are ready to try to
    convince the electorate that in October it ought to vote for its candidates.
    The plot begins at the beginning, that is to say, the media campaign is already
    under way. Just look at the news reporting on the most important TV networks,
    in the magazines and newspapers. They are all fulsome in praise of nothing.

    They run
    headlines hawking advances and expectations that development
    will begin once more. They forgot the existence of 53 million
    indigent, 12 million unemployed and 10 million famished.

    The press
    would rather talk about industrial production, the rise in the
    stock market, the praises by the International Monetary Fund
    for Brazilian economic policy, about the social programs announced
    by the Palácio do Planalto.

    They give
    the impression that we are living in another world, where all
    this is already reality. Money will not be lacking for the candidates
    of the PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores—Workers’ Party) and
    its allied parties in the campaigns for mayor and representative.
    In the state capitals, then, they will be playing the symphony
    of the victory they anticipate. They could be mistaken…

    Carlos Chagas writes for the Rio’s daily Tribuna da Imprensa and is a representative
    of the Brazilian Press Association, in Brasília. He welcomes your
    comments at carloschagas@hotmail.com
    Translated from the
    Portuguese by Tom Moore. Moore has been fascinated by the language and culture
    of Brazil since 1994. He translates from Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian
    and German, and is also active as a musician. Comments welcome at querflote@hotmail.com.

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