It’s Time Brazil Leave Its Pothole-Filling Policy and Strive for Greatness

    Street kids in Brazil

    Street kids in Brazil

    Recently I visited the Cariri region, in the interior of Ceará State, to take
    part in marches for the “Educação Já” Campaign. While visiting the region, I
    listened to and conversed with the people and participated in demonstrations
    calling for a revolution in Brazilian education. At one event, State Deputy
    Ferreira Aragão, a great speaker, said, “We do not merely want to grow; we want
    to be great.”

    In honor of the “Semana da Pátria,” we should reflect upon the difference between growth and greatness and try to understand how Brazil settled for wanting to grow and stopped wanting to be a great country.


    To grow, for example, is to increase the national revenue; to become great is to distribute it. To grow is to increase the number of jails; to become great is to have no need of them.


    To grow is to see the population increase, to have more children born each year; to become great is to have them in school, not in the streets, and to have all the schools – whether for the rich or for the poor, in large or in small cities – of the same quality.


    To grow is to have more automobiles in the streets; to become great is to have transit that flows comfortably and without traffic jams. To grow is to uproot trees to use the wood; to become great is to produce while protecting nature.


    Paradoxically, Brazil is growing while remaining small.


    Our cities have grown, but, due to the growth in violence, pollution, and family breakdown, they have not become great. Our political parties are also growing but they are not becoming great since they lack a cause to mobilize their militants, a banner of struggle to carry forward.


    And that banner of struggle should be to make Brazil a great country and not a country that is growing. To grow is to increase the number of families who receive the Bolsa-Família; to become great is to reduce the number of families who need the Bolsa-Família until there are none.


    What is worse, we do not perceive the difference between growth and becoming great. We want growth but we are not seeking greatness.


    There is no greatness when a good school is not guaranteed to 82% of our children. There is no greatness in commemorating the school enrollment of 97% of the children as long as we do not concern ourselves with the remainder, who, at the very beginning of their life, are not attending school.


    There is no better demonstration of poverty than the fact that only a third of our young people finish secondary school, only half of these with an education of reasonable quality. We may have even had some growth but there was no greatness.


    Although no one can be blamed, it is necessary to assume the responsibility. And all of us must act to combat the mediocrity of our project for growth. I have called upon the Federal Senate to reassume our historical obligation: that we be the house of Congress where the greatness of Brazil is constructed.


    That we leave aside the everyday mediocrity, the agenda of growth and of filling potholes, and that we begin to reflect upon our culture, our history, our future, our greatness.


    The National Congress needs to stimulate this discussion because our greatness is a federal question. We need to leave aside the plans and measures to make us grow; we should discuss structural reforms so that we will become a great country by revolutionizing education, by eliminating the waiting lines in the hospitals, by building sustainable development, by designing a project for a great nation.


    Growth is not a synonym of greatness. The time has come for us, the leaders of this country, to go beyond that mediocre vision of growth, to stop believing that growth is a synonym of being great, when, in fact, it is not. The Seventh of September, Brazilian Independence Day, is a good moment to reflect upon this.


    Cristovam Buarque has a Ph.D. in economics. He is a PDT senator for the Federal District and was Governor of the Federal District (1995-98) and Minister of Education (2003-04). He is the current president of the Senate Education Commission. Last year he was a presidential candidate. You can visit his homepage – www.cristovam.com.br – and write to him at mensagem-cristovam@senado.gov.br


    Translated from the Portuguese by Linda Jerome – LinJerome@cs.com.

    Tags:

    • Show Comments (0)

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    comment *

    • name *

    • email *

    • website *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Ads

    You May Also Like

    Brazil's Volkswagen

    Brazil Sells a Quarter of a Million Light Vehicles in April, a Record

    The auto market in Brazil has posted growth of 29.33% in sales of light ...

    Brazilian Investors Rejoice with Lower than Anticipated Inflation

    Latin American stocks advanced, with Brazilian stocks getting a boost from better-than-expected inflation data, ...

    Brazil’s Economy Shrinks, So Does Consumer Confidence

    Brazil’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) went down in the third quarter of this year ...

    Japanese Brazilian, Stay Off Japan!

    A Japanese Brazilian living in Japan must have a strong heart, and stomach, and ...

    Brazilian Women Are Main Victims of Sex Slavery in Europe

    Data from the International Labor Organization (ILO) show that, last year, 2.4 million people ...

    Stones Hope to Make History Rocking Free in Brazil for 2 Million

    Screams and cheers greeted the Rolling Stones as they pulled up to their beach-front ...

    Brazil's new stock exchange

    Brazil Creates World’s Third Largest Bourse, the US$ 20 Billion BM&F Bovespa

    Cade (Administrative Council for Economic Defense), the Brazilian antitrust authority, approved the merger between ...

    Malaria and Tuberculosis Are Killing Indian Kids in Brazil

    Two children from the Pirahã people died during the first days of January and ...

    Korean Air

    Los Angeles-Brazil Nonstop Flight Back Thanks to Korean Air

    Starting this Monday, June 2, at 7:30 pm, Korean Air will be offering what ...