I was thinking to myself on my way back from Brazil: I have to try my best and write a post that is not 100% negative about my last trip.
I could talk about the personal reasons that took me there in the first place, but that is not my style. So I need to try to find something political or economical that seemed positive to me.
The sense I get when I visit there is that progress occurs in little spurts, something almost random. Look, a new pretty office building there. Oh, that avenue is not flooding as it used to be. But there is never a big change happening… Something like ‘we have completely eliminated problem X’ or ‘the government plan for Y has changed completely’.
This happens again and again. Even though I see many positive signs here and there (I visited a beautiful new Shopping Mall in Vila Olympia, a neighborhood that is now a fancy spot and it used to be low/middle-class when I lived there 20 years ago), the impression is that the country as a whole is pretty much the same. Old wounds with prettier band-aids.
I find it funny (and scary) that when I called Dilma by her well deserved nickname (‘the terrorist’) some people thought I was joking.
I wonder what all the pseudo-lefties would say now that the PSDB’s president claimed that his party is the ‘true left-wing’ in Brazilian politics. It’s not even the case of trying to redefine labels… What surprises me is that everyone is fine with this. Being left-wing in Brazil became a given.
Maybe this happens in part because the Brazilian people in general have no big frame of reference. What comes to my mind is that what Brazil really lacks is some kind of mythology. You know, some sort of founding fathers (would people even recognize Dom João’s face?), heroic past wars, hard fought economic principles, anything that would some sense of unity and direction to the country. Besides soccer and samba, of course.
Oh well, I tried.