Opinion, by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – It is difficult these days to read the newspapers and not have a sense that everything in Brazilian politics is topsy-turvy. Dilma and PT, the quintessential leftist party, ran on a blatantly populist platform (“I gave you handouts, so you vote for me”) and “won” the election.
How did PT win? Losing candidate Aécio Neves, in a moment of hyperbole, said he lost the election to a band of criminal racketeers, meaning PT and its fellow travelers. PT of course denounces this as rabble rousing and an attempt by losing party PSDB to have a third election for President.
Both are right.
PT, in order to gain power in 2002 with Lula, abandoned most of its traditional leftist political principles. Once in power, it has succeeded in transforming itself into PMDB. PMDB has one overriding principle: remain in power, whatever it costs… taxpayers. PMDB, led for years by Literate High Crook José Sarney, has always governed through corruption. Under Lula, PT acquired most of PMDB’s trade secrets.
PSDB, true to its origins, is still dreaming of a third election round, which will take the form of Dilma’s impeachment. President Collor was impeached, resigned and was succeeded by Itamar Franco who eventually invited PSDB founder Fernando Henrique Cardoso to solve the inflation problem—which he did.
The Joker in this deck is the Ministério Público, the public defenders/prosecutors historically populated by PT true believers. Unlike Lula, they never sold out to the political center. The Ministério Público has been true to its origins as an independent institution that fights crime, even if it knows the crimes were committed by politicians whose ideals they once shared.
The Curmudgeon believes the Ministério Público prosecutors have ample proof that both Dilma and Lula knew about the corruption, and that they (the prosecutors) are not willing to hide that knowledge from the Brazilian populace, much as it pains them.
What happens then?
Not even the Curmudgeon knows.
The Curmudgeon will emit more Smidgens opportunely. That’s a threat, not a promise.