topp8564 at topp8564 at
Sat Dec 14 16:42:25 PST 2002

On 15/12/2002 8:07 AM, "lbo-talk-digest" <owner-lbo-talk- digest at> wrote:

> So the guest I interviewed on the radio Thursday - Geisa Maria Rocha,
> who wrote a piece on the recent political economy of Brazil for NLR's
> July/August issue <> -
> says that Brazilians are "mild" and "not radical" and therefore not
> likely to rebel against Lula's betrayal. What do you think?
> Doug

This is hard to gauge. My sense is that people just don't believe they have been betrayed... yet. If this government manages to scrape by, it would be unlikely that people would get very upset in large numbers, but if, as is increasingly likely, the country melts down in a heap of financial slag then all bets are off. My guess is that a turn for the worse could tilt the balance of power within the PT; but given the recent appointments that may very well be a sweet illusion. The slim chances of that happening will probably diminish if opposition members start defecting to the PT; given that Lula seems to be positioning the party as a big umbrella party, a smiley face on the collection of pustules, it won't be long before the pustules seek shelter.

Besides appointing business leaders and centre-right politicians, Lula has been busy with a carefully pitched PR strategy. Earlier today in Brasilia he went to a restaurant that used to be frequented by Ulysses Guimarães - if you ask me, a decrepid S.O.B. who used to be in the official opposition during the dictatorship - and made sure to drink the same aperitiff as Guimarães. The symbolism is obvious: we are the big inclusive party. Lula then received the confirmation of his presidency from the TSE (the electoral tribunal) and cried and cried saying it was the first diploma he ever received. I am sure that plenty of honorifics are to follow. Then this:

"Gil confirms invite to take up Ministry of Culture brief

"Singer songwriter Gilberto Gil confirmed Saturday that he had been invited by the president elect... to head the Ministry of Culture. Gil, who is a member of the PV said that he would consider the invitation and would reply next Wednesday. (...)"

There is a tradition of populist Brazilian governments appointing popular singers (or sportsmen, as in Pele to the Sports Ministry); the PMDB appointed Caetano Veloso in Bahia some years ago. (I personally think Veloso is by far the better singer...)

The Gil appointment - and also Amorim, the Foreign Affairs Minister - are interesting in that they were both involved in minor anti-dictatorship activities. In Amorim's case, his anti-establishment credentials amount to having been forced to quit Embrafilme after he funded a film "Para Frente Brasil" which showed torture. Unbelievably, given he was appointed by the junta to head Embrafilme in the first place, some of my PT friends think this is an important credential. Gil wrote songs taunting the generals eg "You don't like me but your daughter does" and had albums which contained messages when played backwards. That plays like a dream with the hippy set...


------------------------------------------------- This mail sent through IMP:

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list