Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Curmudgeon has been off line for a month now, but he’s back. Sad to say, nothing seems to have changed much in the past month. Or at least, change for the better is nowhere to be seen.

Michael Royster, aka The Curmudgeon, Brazil, Opinion
Michael Royster, aka The Curmudgeon.

The economy continues to shrink, inflation and unemployment continue to rise, Dilma dithers and the opposition sits smugly on the sidelines applauding the worsening state of the union. The only good news is that the police and public ministry continue to investigate Petrobras and other scandals.

The entire country seems engulfed in the latest efforts of the President of the country and the President of the Chamber of Deputies to maintain their current positions and avoid impeachment. Government has stopped governing, Congress has stopped legislating, every possible decision is analyzed as to how it may affect the “fora Dilma!” and the “fora Cunha!” movements proliferating around Brazil.

TCU (the Congressional Audit Court) has received the administration’s defense of the “pedalada” mechanism used to mask the true state of Brazil’s finances during the 2014 election campaign, but has not taken any decision yet. No one knows when it will do anything at all, it seems paralyzed.

TSE (the electoral tribunal) has just begun work on the suit that seeks to overturn the 2014 elections. The Presiding Judge has appointed as “rapporteur” one of his colleagues who voted against the TSE even hearing the case, so we can expect no action there either.

No legislation, no proposals, no adjudication. The government isn’t governing and the legislature isn’t legislating and the judiciary isn’t judging.

That’s a recipe for an economic disaster, and there are too many cooks in Brasília slavishly following that recipe.

The Curmudgeon will emit more “Presidential” Smidgens opportunely.


  1. Dear Curmudgeon,

    I must state again that I really enjoy reading your pieces, mainly because they contain generous dollops of the magic ingredient known as gallows humour.

    May I ask you a philosophical question?

    After the all too many to mention scandals, which have affected contemporary Brazil since say the election in 1990 of the first democratically elected President – Mr Fernando Collor de Mello – who resigned under a cloud of corruption before he was formally impeached, and fast forwarding then to the mensalao scandal and trial of two years ago, and now most recently to the Petrobras scandal, what chance does the average citizen have in such a kleptocracy?

    I mean it is clear that Brazil is just one huge honeypot for the political elite, the upper classes and the business elite.

    Why even waste one’s time trying to organise, mobilise and protest as an average citizen? It’s all pointless.

    And let’s be even more honest – the urban poor have absolutely zero chance at all.

    The scale of the Petrobras scandal is mind boggling. And while the politicians and businessmen involved should suffer the consequences of their criminal acts, we all know that in such a dysfunctional society there just is no criminal justice system that applies to the rich and consequently no real sentence which fits crime will ever happen.

    The average citizen will lose money, security and his/her life will become more difficult through inflation, unemployment, increases in crime and general falling standards of living.

    So my question is – does the Brazilian society need to fall like ancient Rome did in order for some proper rebuilding to take place? Because the current evidence shows that modern Brazil is nothing more than a failed state.

    Best regards

    Barry Varkel

  2. Michael, Happy to see your return. I, for one, checked the site daily for a new smidgen!


    Where does the country go from here? What shock will it take to wake up the governing class?

  3. Editor:
    Is there a reason my post was edited? Is this site censored as the Brazilian press seems to be?

  4. Hello ‘AiR’, yes the reason your comment was edited it because we do not publish comments that link to other web sites. Especially other news (or news aggregator) sites, we hope you understand. Thank you for your readership and comments. All the best,


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