Opinion, by The Curmudgeon

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Marina wants to support Aécio’s candidacy in the second round but she wants some things in return. Commendably, she’s not asking for her cronies to be appointed Ministers or Vice Presidents of Banco do Brasil, perks routinely offered by Lula and Dilma to their allies. Rather, Marina wants Aécio (and his party PSDB) to agree to certain “principled” demands, i.e. planks in her political platform—and she’s got a little list.

The Curmudgeon, aka Michael Royster
The Curmudgeon, aka Michael Royster.

Heading this list is a commitment to revoke the possibility of re-electing presidents, which was not possible until 1995. Many still oppose it, believing that incumbents will always use their office to foster their own re-election. Perhaps true, but Marina’s position does sound self-serving: if Aécio can’t run again, guess who becomes a front-runner in 2018?

Marina’s next proposal is that Aécio and PSDB should indicate their support for (a) agrarian reform; (b) indigenous peoples; and (c) MST, the “landless” lobby. Her reasoning is that supporters of these causes were the backbone of her voting support and she doesn’t want to desert them.

Parts (a) and (b) should be relatively easy to accept—Brazilian political parties have been paying lip service to agrarian reform and indigenous rights for decades. Proposal (c), though, is going to be tricky.

MST’s avowed purpose is to invade land belonging to others and settle it. MST claims it only invades unproductive land, but that claim has often been proven untrue. Much of Aécio’s support comes from rural states where agrobusiness (“farm lobby”) is strong, and MST is anathema to agrobusiness. Aécio can’t cave on that without losing votes to Dilma, who has successfully subverted MST by surrepticiously financing it.

The Curmudgeon plans to emit short(ish) Smidgens opportunely. Stay tuned.


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