Opinion, by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – “Quanto pior, melhor” has been a catch phrase for PSDB and other opposition parties in recent months, as they attempt to push Dilma out of the Presidency. The first week in March seemed to prove they were right, at least as far as the currency is concerned.
In February, the U.S. dollar stayed at or around R$4.00 for official exchanges, but when March arrived, bringing news of the investigations into the President of the Chamber of Deputies and former President Lula, with the possible involvement of Dilma, the dollar took a nose dive.
Were this Venezuela under Maduro, the government would be ringing alarm bells, saying it’s a conspiracy of the right wing press with capitalist vultures to drum up support for the “coup d’état” that will dump Dilma.
Most analysts feel the dollar boom has been caused as much by Brazilian politics as by Brazilian economics. Wall Street believes that with Dilma as President, there is no hope that the government will take those steps needed to get the economy back on track.
Wall Street may be right—it may be true that the worse it gets for the current administration, the better it will be for Brazil’s future.
But maybe not. If Dilma resigns, VP Temer takes over; however, he’s the head of PMDB, a political party with more divisions than the Republicans in the United States. If new elections are called, Aécio and PSDB think they will win easily after Dilma is discredited, but they’re likely wrong.
Millions of Brazilians are disgruntled and dismayed by PT and PMDB, but also suspect that PSDB is no better. That leaves the door open for a fresh voice—and the freshest one around is Marina Silva, the Bernie Sanders of Brazilian politics.
In 2010, when (successfully) seeking election as a Federal Deputy, Tiririca famously said “It can’t get worse than it is now.” The Curmudgeon is not sure he’d say the same thing today.
The Curmudgeon will emit more dismal Smidgens opportunely—stay tuned.