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Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

quarta-feira, 28 de junho de 2017

Paulo Kramer: "o imoderado poder dos nossos moderadores"

Paulo Kramer, um dos melhores e mais refinados intelectualmente dos nossos cientistas políticos, mostra o comportamento imoderado, arrogante e aristocrático de nossos líderes e representantes políticos, mesmo com a mudança do poder moderador do Imperador para os militares e agora para os membros do poder judiciário e do MPF.

Confesso não saber ao certo se caio na gargalhada ou se enxugo uma furtiva lágrima toda vez que ouço os arautos da sabedoria convencional – fronte alta e voz empostada – proclamarem que, a despeito dos escândalos éticos e das crises políticas da atualidade, “as nossas instituições permanecem sólidas”.

Deveras? Ora, NÃO permanecem sólidas, simplesmente porque nunca o foram! Se não, o que dizer de um sistema político que já experimentou quase TODOS os tipos de regimes políticos catalogados pela história, a saber: monarquia absoluta; monarquia constitucional; república presidencialista; ditadura civil; novamente república presidencialista; parlamentarismo; uma vez mais república presidencialista; ditadura militar; e, pela terceira vez, república presidencialista? Ou do fato de que, anteriormente à passagem da faixa presidencial de Lula para Dilma, em 2011, a última vez em que um antecessor diretamente eleito pelo povo havia transferido o poder a um sucessor idem, sob idênticas regras sucessórias, fora o ano de 1926 – de Arthur Bernardes (1875-1955; governou de 1922 a 1926) para Washington Luiz (1869-1957; derrubado pela Revolução de 30)? (Aqui, vale recordar que tanto FHC quanto Lula foram eleitos diretamente, mas que o governo do primeiro, rompendo com a tradição republicana, emendara a Constituição para instituir a possibilidade de uma reeleição consecutiva.) Ou ainda da inquietante constatação de que, desde o referido Bernardes, os únicos presidentes escolhidos em pleito popular direto que lograram concluir seus mandatos foram apenas quatro: Eurico Gaspar Dutra (1883-1974, de 1946 a 1951); Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira (1902-1976, de 1956 a 1961); Fernando Henrique Cardoso (de 1995 a 2002) e Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (de 2003 a 2010).? Dilma Vana Rousseff foi destituída por impeachment na primeira metade do seu segundo mandato...

A um tempo efeito e causa dessa instabilidade é a recorrente necessidade de um Poder Moderador ser chamado a intervir para preencher os vácuos de legitimidade resultantes de choques entre Executivo, Legislativo e Judiciário. E pouco importa se esse quarto poder esteja oficialmente inscrito no texto constitucional, como rezavam os artigos 98 a 101 da Constituição Política do Império do Brasil, carta outorgada em 1824 por dom Pedro I, após ter dissolvido a nossa primeira assembleia constituinte, ou se é operado informalmente pelos ‘salvadores’ da hora, papel que em passado não muito distante foi desempenhado pelo Exército. Desta feita, o pêndulo parece estar se deslocando rumo ao Judiciário e ao Ministério Público, e, para complicar ainda mais as coisas, os atuais aspirantes ao exercício do Poder Moderador dilaceram-se em disputas internas ao sistema de Justiça: ministros do STF versusProcuradoria-Geral da República; instâncias judiciais superiores contra inferiores; até mesmo rusgas entre esferas e níveis do Ministério Público. O que resultará do presente imbróglio, ninguém pode prever com exatidão, todavia a experiência republicana ensina que aqueles grupos que empalmaram o Poder Moderador acabavam mandando a moderação às favas até mergulharem o país em novos ciclos de conflito e instabilidade.

Se, como alertou Douglass North no seu discurso de recepção do prêmio Nobel de Economia (1993), as instituições são “regras do jogo” modeladas pela cristalização dos costumes e hábitos de uma sociedade, numa palavra, da sua cultura, então as vicissitudes das nossas repúblicas de sempre encontram explicação nas hipóteses de Raymundo Faoro, em Os Donos do Poder (2ª edição, 1975), e de Roberto DaMatta, em “Você sabem com quem está falando?...” (1979). Governantes e burocratas consideram-se mais importantes e ‘maiores’ que os cargos que exercem e abusam de sua autoridade, apropriando-se patrimonialisticamente dos recursos públicos. Para aquilatar esse problema em toda a sua gravidade, basta contrastar esse vezo aristocrático do comportamento dos mandantes em relação aos mandados com o respeito reverencial que os titulares do poder público nos Estados Unidos – noves fora Donald Trump – devotam às instituições que representam. Não se trata apenas da perene engenhosidade dos checks and balances projetados pelos pais da constituição de 1787, como James Madison (1751-1836), co-autor, com Alexander Hamilton e John Jay, dos magistrais Artigos Federalistas, quarto presidente americano (de 1809 a 1817), arguto leitor de Montesquieu (1689-1755), que no clássico O Espírito das Leis(1748), introduziu a teoria de divisão/separação de poderes no debate político moderno como antídoto ao despotismo – por definição, uma modalidade imoderada de governo. Trata-se, isto sim, da disciplina habitual de respeito mútuo entre os poderes, assegurada pela certeza da punição aos agentes políticos que se atrevam a exorbitar das suas prerrogativas.

Aqui e agora, a desmoralização de todas as instituições políticas sob o presidencialismo de coalizão, ou de cooptação, ou de corrupção, tanto faz – levada ao paroxismo nos períodos Lula e Dilma –, perpetua uma vergonhosa dependência em relação a qualquer Poder Moderador. Ela permanecerá entre nós enquanto as autoridades republicanas continuarem a exercer seu poder... imoderadamente.

____________

*Paulo Kramer é analista de riscos e professor de Ciência Política da UnB.

This Day in History: Tratado de Versalhes, em 1919, o que provocou uma nova guerra

On June 28, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed in France, ending World War I.
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Front Page Image

Peace Signed, Ends the Great War; Germans Depart Still Protesting; Prohibition Till Troops Disband



Enemy Envoys in Truculent Spirit
Say Afterward They Would Not Have Signed Had They Known They Were to Leave First by Different Way
China Refuses to Sign, Smuts Makes Protest
These Events Somewhat Cloud the Great Occasion at Versailles--Wilson, Clemenceau, and Lloyd George Receive a Tremendous Ovation
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President Sends A Prohibition Message; Says He Will Act When Demobilization Ends
League Opponents Uniting: Republican Senators Now Seem Agreed on Policy of Reservations: McCumber Is Won Over: But North Dakota Senator Opposes Any Action Nullifying the Covenant: Shantung Action Assailed: Borah Calls It Indefensible--Norris Demands a Reservation Regarding It
Wilson Says Treaty Will Furnish the Charter for a New Order of Affairs in the World
Violence Grows in Berlin Ferment: Bomb Hurled at Building in Which Officials Were Conferring on Strike: Shots Fired at Ministers: Railway Strikers Ignore Orders from Noske and Union Chiefs to Resume Work
Dutch Unwilling To Give Up Kaiser: Majority of the People Firmly Opposed to Yielding to Allies' Demand: Hopeful at Amerongen: Troelstra Says Chamber Would Surrender Ex-Ruler to Germany Only
Deport Thirty 'Red' Agitators: Fifteen Have Been Shipped Away in a Week--18 More Waiting at Ellis Island: Most of Them Anarchists: Number Includes Some Suspected of Having a Hand in Plot Against Officials
America Greeted By King George: "Brothers in Arms Will Continue Forever to be Brothers in Peace": Sends Message to Wilson: "We Lay Down Our Arms in Proud Consciousness of Valiant Deeds Nobly Done"
Versailles, June 28, (Associated Press.)--Germany and the allied and associated powers signed the peace terms here today in the same imperial hall where the Germans humbled the French so ignominiously forty-eight years ago.
This formally ended the world war, which lasted just thirty-seven days less than five years. Today, the day of peace, was the fifth anniversary of the murder of Archduke Francis Ferdinand by a Serbian student at Serajevo.
The peace was signed under circumstances which somewhat dimmed the expectations of those who had worked and fought during long years of war and months of negotiations for its achievement.
Absence of the Chinese delegates, who at the last moment were unable to reconcile themselves to the Shantung settlement, struck the first discordant note. A written protest which General Smuts lodged with his signature was another disappointment.
But bulking larger than these was the attitude of Germany and the German plenipotentiaries, which left them, as evident from the expression of M. Clemenceau, still outside of formal reconciliation and made the actual restoration to regular relations and intercourse with the allied nations dependent, not upon the signature of the "preliminaries of peace" today, but upon ratification by the National Assembly.
To M. Clemenceau's warning in his opening remarks that they would be expected, and held, to observe the treaty provisions loyally and completely the German delegates, through Dr. Haniel von Halmhausen, replied after returning to the hotel that had they known that they would be treated on a different status after signing than the allied representatives, as shown by their separate exit before the general body of the conference, they never would have signed.
Under the circumstances the general tone of sentiment in the historic sitting was one rather of relief at the uncontrovertible end of hostilities than of complete satisfaction.
The ceremony had been planned deliberately to be austere, befitting the sufferings of almost five years, and the lack of impressiveness and picturesque color, of which many spectators, who had expected a magnificent State pageant, complained, was a matter of design, not merely omission.
The actual ceremony was far shorter than had been expected, in view of the number of signatures which were to be appended to the treaty and the two accompanying conventions, ending a bare forty-nine minutes after the hour set for the opening. Premier Clemenceau called the session to order in the Hall of Mirrors at 3:10 P.M.
The signing began when Dr. Hermann M & uuml;ller and Johannes Bell, the German signatories, affixed their names. Herr M & uuml;ller signed at 3:12 o'clock and Herr Bell 3:13 o'clock.
President Wilson, the first of the allied delegates, signed a minute later. At 3:49 o'clock the momentous session was over.
The most dramatic moment connected with the signing came unexpectedly and spontaneously at the conclusion of the ceremony, when Premier Clemenceau, President Wilson and Premier Lloyd George descended from the Hall of Mirrors to the terrace at the rear of the palace, where thousands of spectators were massed.
Great Demonstration for Allied Leaders
With the appearance of the three who had dominated the councils of the Allies there began a most remarkable demonstration. With cries of "Vive Clemenceau!" "Vive Wilson!" "Vive Lloyd George!" dense crowds swept forward from all parts of the spacious terrace. In an instant the three were surrounded by struggling, cheering masses of people, fighting among themselves for a chance to get near the statesmen.
It had been planned that all the allied delegates would walk across the terrace after signing, to see the great fountains play, but none of the other plenipotentiaries got further than the door.
President Wilson, M. Clemenceau and Mr. Lloyd George were caught in the living stream which flowed across the great space and became part of the crowd themselves. Soldiers and bodyguards struggled vainly to clear the way. The people jostled and struggled for a chance to touch the hands of the leaders of the Allies, all the while cheering madly.
Probably the least concerned for their personal safety were the three themselves. They went forward smilingly, as the crowd willed, bowing in response to the ovation, and here and there reaching out to shake an insistent hand as they passed on their way through the ch & acirc;teau grounds to watch the playing of the fountains--a part of the program which had been planned as a dignified State processional of all the plenipotentiaries.
Every available point of vantage in the palace and about the grounds was filled with thousands of people, who, less hardy than their comrades, had not been able to join the procession. No more picturesque setting could have been selected for this drama.
The return of President Wilson, M. Clemenceau, and Lloyd George toward the palace was a repetition of their outward journey of triumph. As they reached the ch & acirc;teau, however, they turned to the left instead of entering. The crowd was in doubt as to what was intended, but followed, cheering tumultuously.
Nearby a closed car was waiting and the three entered this and they drove from the grounds together amid a profusion of flowers which had been thrust through the open window.
All the diplomats and members of their parties who attended the ceremony of treaty signing wore conventional civilian clothes. Outside of this also there was a marked lack of gold lace and pageantry, with few of the fanciful uniforms of the Middle Ages, whose traditions and practices are so sternly condemned in the great, seal-covered document signed today.
One spot of color was made against the sombre background by the French Guards. A few selected members of the Guard were there, resplendent in red-plumed silver helmets and red, white and blue uniforms.
A group of allied Generals, including General Pershing, wore the scarlet sash of the Legion of Honor.
As a contrast with the Franco-German peace session of 1871, held in the same hall, there were present today grizzled French veterans of the Franco-Prussian war. They took the place of the Prussian guardsmen of the previous ceremony, and the Frenchmen today watched the ceremony with grim satisfaction.
The conditions of 1871 were exactly reversed. Today the disciples of Bismarck sat in the seats of the lowly, while the white marble statue of Minerva, Goddess of War, looked on. Overhead, on the frescoed ceiling, were scenes from France's ancient wars.
German Protest at the Last Minute
Three incidents were emphasized by the smoothness with which the ceremony was conducted. The first of these was the failure of the Chinese delegation to sign. The second was the protest submitted by General Jan Christian Smuts, who declared the peace unsatisfactory.
The third, which was unknown to the general public, came from the Germans. When the program for the ceremony was shown to the German delegation, Herr von Haimhausen of the German delegation went to Colonel Henri, French liaison officer, and protested. He said:
"We cannot admit that the German delegates should enter the hall by a different door than the Entente delegates; nor that military honors should be withheld. Had we known there would be such arrangements before, the delegates would not have come."
After a conference with the French Foreign Ministry it was decided, as a compromise, to render military honors as the Germans left. Otherwise the program as originally arranged was not changed.
Secretary Lansing was the first of the American delegation to arrive at the palace, entering the building at 1:45 o'clock.
The Peace Treaty was deposited on the table at 2:10 o'clock by William Martin of the French Foreign Office. It was inclosed in a stamped leather case.
Premier Clemenceau entered the palace at 2:20 o'clock.
Detachments of fifteen soldiers each from the American, British and French forces entered just before 3 o'clock and took their places in embrasures of the windows, overlooking the ch & acirc;teau park, a few feet from Marshal Foch, seated with the French delegation at the peace table.
The American soldiers who saw the signing of the treaty were all attached to President Wilson's residence. They were: George W. Bender, Baltimore; Stanley Cohek, Chicopee, Mass.; George Bridgewater, Palestine, Texas; Harlan Hayes, Green City, Wis.; J.S. Horton, Lexington, Miss.; William R. Knox, Temple, Okla.; Albert E. Landreth, Portsmouth, Va.; Sergeant Sam Lane, Prosper, Texas; George Laudance, Philadelphia; M.D. Mary, Havre, Mon.; Fred Quantz, Cleveland; Hubert Ridgeway, Mo.; Raymond Riley, Baltimore, and Frank Wilgus, Allentown, Penn.
With the thirty poilus and Tommies they were present as the real "artisans of peace" and stood within the enclosure reserved for plenipotentiaries and high officials of the conference as a visible sign of their role in bringing into being a new Europe.
Premier Clemenceau promptly stepped up to the French detachment and shook the hand of each man. The men had been selected from those who bore honorable wounds, and the Premier expressed his pleasure at seeing them there and his regret for the sufferings they had endured for their country.
Delegates of the minor powers made their way with difficulty through the crowd to their places at the table. Officers and civilians lined the walls and filled the aisles.
President Wilson entered the Hall of Mirrors at 2:50 o'clock. All the allied delegates were then seated except the Chinese, who did not attend.
The difficulty of seeing well from many parts of the hall militated against demonstrations on the arrival of the chief personages. Only a few persons saw President Wilson when he came in, and there was but a faint sound of applause for him.
An hour before the signing of the treaty those assembled in the hall had been urged to take their seats, but their eagerness to see the historic ceremony was so keen that they refused to remain seated, and crowded toward the centre of the hall, which is so long that a good view was impossible from a distance. Even with opera glasses, correspondents and others were unable to observe satisfactorily, as the seats were not elevated; consequently there was a general scramble for standing room.
German correspondents were ushered into the hall just before 3 o'clock and took standing room in a window at the rear of the correspondents' section.
When Premier Lloyd George arrived many delegates sought autographs from the members of the Council of Four, and they busied themselves for the next few minutes signing copies of the official program.
At 3 o'clock a hush fell over the hall, and the crowds shouted for the officials, who were standing, to sit down, so as not to block the view. The delegates showed some surprise at the disorder, which did not cease until all the spectators had seated themselves or found places against the walls.
Muller and Bell Show Great Composure
At seven minutes past 3 Dr. M & uuml;ller, German Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and Dr. Bell, Colonial Secretary, were shown into the hall, and quietly took their seats, the other delegates not rising.
They showed composure, and manifested none of the uneasiness which Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau, head of the German peace delegation, displayed when handed the treaty at Versailles.
Dr. M & uuml;ller and Dr. Bell had driven early to Versailles by automobile from St. Cyr instead of taking the belt line railroad, as did the German delegates who came to receive the terms of peace on May 7. Their credentials had been approved in the morning.
In the allotment of seats in the ceremonial chamber places for the German delegates were on the side of the horseshoe table, where they touched elbows with Japanese plenipotentiaries on their right and the Brazilians on their left. Delegates from Ecuador, Peru, and Liberia faced the Germans across the narrow table.
M. Clemenceau, as President of the Conference, made this address:
"The session is open. The allied and associated powers on one side and the German reich on the other side have come to an agreement on the conditions of peace. The text has been completed, drafted, and the President of the Conference has stated in writing that the text that is about to be signed now is identical with the 200 copies that have been delivered to the German delegation.
"The signatures will be given now and they amount to a solemn undertaking faithfully and loyally to execute the conditions embodied by this treaty of peace. I now invite the delegates of the German reich to sign the treaty."
There was a tense pause for a moment. Then in response to M. Clemenceau's bidding, the German delegates rose without a word and, escorted by William Martin, master of ceremonies, moved to the signatory table, where they placed upon the treaty the sign manuals which German Government leaders declared until recently would never be appended to this treaty.
They also signed a protocol covering changes in the document and the Polish undertaking.
It was too distant to see, even with glasses, the expression on the faces on the German plenipotentiaries during the ceremony, but observers among the officials say that the Germans fulfilled their roles without apparent indications of emotions such as marked Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau's dramatic declarations at the first meeting.
President First Leader to Sign
When they regained their seats after signing, President Wilson immediately arose and, followed by the other American plenipotentiaries, moved around the sides of the horseshoe to the signature tables.
President Wilson, and not M. Clemenceau, thus had the honor of signing as first of the leaders of the world alliance, but the honor was due to the alphabet, not other considerations as the signatures occur in the same French alphabetical order as the enumeration of the allied and associated powers in the prologue of the treaty--the same order which determined the seating of the delegations at the plenary sessions of the interallied conference.
Premier Lloyd George came next, after the American envoys, with the English delegation. The British dominions followed.
The representatives of the dominions signed in the following order: For Canada--Charles J. Doherty, Minister of Justice; Sir George Foster, Minister of Trade and Commerce, and Arthur L. Sifton, Minister of Customs. For Australia--Premier William M. Hughes and Sir Gilbert Cook, Minister for the Navy. For New Zealand--W.F. Massey, Prime Minister and Minister of Labor. For the Union of South Africa--Premier Louis Botha and Jan Christian Smuts, Minister of Defense. For India--Edwin S. Montagu, Secretary for India, and the Maharaja of Bikanir.
Surprise Over Smuts's Protest
A murmur of surprise passed around the hall when it became known that General Smuts, representing South Africa, signed under protest and filed a document declaring that the peace was unsatisfactory.
He held that the indemnities stipulated could not be accepted without grave injury to the industrial revival of Europe. He declared that it would be to the interests of the allied powers to render the stipulations more tolerable and moderate.
General Smuts asserted that there were territorial settlements which he believed would need revision, and that guarantees were provided which he hoped would soon be found out of harmony with the new peaceful temper and unarmed state of the Central Powers. Punishments were also foreshadowed, he said, over which a calmer mood might yet prefer to pass the sponge of oblivion.
M. Clemenceau with the French delegates, were the next in line for the signing, then came Baron Salonji and the other Japanese delegates. The Italians came after the Japanese, and they, in turn, were followed by the representatives of the smaller powers.
During the attaching of the signatures of the great powers and the Germans a battery of moving picture machines and cameras clicked away so audibly that they could be heard above the general disorder.
At 3:45 the booming of cannon in celebration of the peace broke the monotony in the Hall of Mirrors, where the crowd had already tired of watching the signing.
China's failure to send her delegates to the ceremony created much comment. The vacant seats of the Chinese were noted early in the proceedings, but it was expected that the delegates would arrive later. Then the report was circulated officially that the Chinese would not sign without reservation on Shantung, and would issue a statement this evening on their position.
Some Confusion About Arrangements
While formal proceedings moved with system and complete adherence to program, the same cannot be said for other arrangements, which detracted markedly from the impressiveness of the event. So many spectators had, in one manner or another, gained access to the hall that the struggle for points of vantage at times approached the stage of a brawl, and the few officials intrusted with keeping order had the greatest difficulty in obtaining a semblance of it.
Cries of "Down in front!" which were probably never before heard at a gathering of similar importance, were addressed quite as often to officials of the Conference as to unofficial spectators. The stage for the ceremony was as crowded as the spectators' inclosures, giving a picture of crush and confusion. The plenipotentiaries and attach & eacute;s, instead of arriving in delegations, formally introduced by ushers, as had been planned, drifted in individually as at the earlier sessions.
Among the American witnesses of the signing were Mrs. Wilson, accompanied by Miss Wilson and Mrs. Lansing, Mrs. House, Mrs. Wallace, Mrs. Scott, and several other wives of delegates and officials; Herbert Hoover, Bernard M. Baruch; Vance McCormick, John W. Davis, Ambassador to Great Britain; Hugh C. Wallace, Ambassador to France; Henry Morgenthau, and about seventy of the more important attaches of the Peace Commission.
The close of the ceremony came so quickly and quietly that it was scarcely noticed until it was all over. M. Clemenceau arose almost unremarked, and in a voice almost lost amid the confusion and the hum of conversation, which had sprung up while the minor delegates were signing, declared the conference closed and asked the allied and associated delegates to remain in their places for a few minutes--this to permit the German plenipotentiaries to leave the hall and the building before the general exodus.
None arose as they filed out, accompanied by their suite of secretaries and interpreters, just as all the plenipotentiaries had kept their seats when Dr. M & uuml;ller and Dr. Bell entered. This was regarded as an answer to the action of Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau in reading his speech seated at the first meeting, but even more as an expression of sentiment at the German attitude toward the acceptance of peace.
Germans White-Faced as They Left
Beyond the demonstration for the allied leaders the main interest of the people about the palace was centred in the arrival and departure of the Germans. Few people witnessed the arrival of the Germans, but, despite the precautions of the soldiers, great crowds gathered about the rear of the palace when the envoys from Berlin left after signing the treaty.
There was no audible demonstration against the Germans, but there was a distinct current of hostility evident among the crowd which jammed close to the cars. The Germans were white-faced and quite apparently suffering strong emotion, but whether it was fear, anger, or chagrin one could only surmise.
The scene around the palace had been an animated one from an early hour. All day yesterday workmen and officials were busy in the chateau putting final touches on the arrangements, but the Hall of Mirrors was not yet ready. Much remained to be done at the last moment.
The peace table--a huge hollow rectangle with its open side facing the windows in the hall--was, however, in place, its tawny yellow coverings blending with the rich browns, blues, and yellows of the antique hangings of the room and the rugs covering the dais. The mellow tints of the historical paintings in the arched roof of the long hall completed the picture.
Last minute changes were made today in the program to expedite the signing of the treaty. Two additional tables were placed beside the large one within the Hall of Mirrors. One of the new tables held the Rhine Convention and the other the protocol, containing changes in and interpretations of the treaty. The arrangement of the tables thus enabled three persons to be engaged simultaneously in affixing their signatures.
Most of the seventy-two plenipotentiaries had to write their names only twice, once on the treaty and once on the protocol. The convention covering the left bank of the Rhine and the treaties regarding the protection of minorities in Poland was signed only by delegates of the great powers.
Because of the size of the treaty and the fragile seals it bore, the plan to present it for signing to Premier Clemenceau, President Wilson, and Premier Lloyd George was given up.
A box of old fashioned goose quills, sharpened by the expert pen pointer of the French Foreign Office, was placed on each of the three tables for the use of plenipotentiaries who desired to observe the traditional formalities.
Tables for the secretaries were placed inside the table for the plenipotentiaries.
Chairs for the plenipotentiaries were drawn up around three sides of the table, which formed an open rectangle fully eighty feet long on its longer side. A chair for M. Clemenceau, President of the Peace Conference, was placed in the centre of the table facing the windows, with those for President Wilson and Premier Lloyd George on the right and left hand, respectively. The German delegates' seats were at the side of the table nearest the entrance which they could take after all the others had been seated.
This arrangement was made to permit the Germans to leave after the signature of the treaty before the allied delegations, not waiting for the procession of allied delegates to the terrace to witness the playing of the fountains.
Crowds Gathered Early
This morning was cloudy, but just before midday the clouds began to break.
People began to gather early in the neighborhood of the palace. As the morning wore on the crowds kept increasing in size, but the vast spaces around the ch & acirc;teau swallowed them up at first.
By noon eleven regiments of French cavalry and infantry under command of General Brecard had taken positions along the approaches to the palace, while within the court on either side solid lines of infantry in horizon blue were drawn up at attention.
Hours before the time set for the ceremony an endless stream of automobiles began moving out of Paris up the cannon-lined hill of the Champs Elys & eacute;es, past the Arc de Triomphe, and out through the shady Bois de Boulogne, carrying plenipotentiaries, officials, and guests to the ceremony. The thoroughfare was kept clear by pickets, dragoons, and mounted gendarmes.
In the meantime thousands of Parisians were packing regular and special trains upon the lines leading to Versailles and contending with residents of the town itself for places in the park where the famous fountains would mark the end of the ceremony.
Long before the ceremony began a line of gendarmes was thrown across the approaches. While theoretically only persons bearing passes could get through this line, the crowds gradually filtered into and finally filled the square.
Within this square hundreds of fortunate persons had taken up positions at the windows of every wing of the palace.
The automobiles, bearing delegates and secretaries, had reserved for their use the Avenue du Paris, the broad boulevard leading direct to the ch & acirc;teau's court of honor, French soldiers being ranged along the highway on both sides.
At the end of the court a guard of honor was drawn up to present arms as the leading plenipotentiaries passed, this guard comprising a company of Republican Guards in brilliant uniform. The entrance for the delegates was by the marble stairway to the "Queen's Apartments" and the Hall of Peace, giving access thence to the Hall of Mirrors.
This formality was not prescribed for the Germans, who had a separate route of entry; coming through the park and gaining the marble stairway through the ground floor.

A chamada de Praga para a renovacao da democracia (26/05/2017)

The Prague Appeal for Democratic Renewal

Adopted in Prague on May 26, 2017
Liberal democracy is under threat, and all who cherish it must come to its defense.
Democracy is threatened from without by despotic regimes in Russia, China, and other countries that are tightening repression internally and expanding their power globally, filling vacuums left by the fading power, influence, and self-confidence of the long-established democracies. The authoritarians are using old weapons of hard power as well as new social media and a growing arsenal of soft power to create a post-democratic world order in which norms of human rights and the rule of law are replaced by the principle of absolute state sovereignty.
Democracy is also being threatened from within. Illiberalism is on the rise in Turkey, Hungary, the Philippines, Venezuela, and other backsliding democracies. In other countries - even long-established democracies - support for liberal democracy has eroded in recent years, especially among younger people who have no memory of the struggles against totalitarianism. Faith in democratic institutions has been declining for some time, as governments seem unable to cope with the complex new challenges of globalization, political processes appear increasingly sclerotic and dysfunctional, and the bureaucracies managing both national and global institutions seem remote and overbearing. Compounding the difficulties, terrorist violence has created a climate of fear that is used by despots and demagogues to justify authoritarian power and restrictions on freedoms.
Such problems have caused widespread anxiety, hostility to political elites and cynicism about democracy – feelings that have fueled the rise of anti-system political movements and parties. These sentiments, in turn, have been stoked and inflamed by authoritarian disinformation, which increasingly penetrates the media space of the democracies. The latest Freedom House survey shows that political rights and civil liberties have been on the decline for eleven consecutive years, and this year established democracies dominate the list of countries suffering setbacks in freedom.
Collectively, these factors – the geopolitical retreat of the West, the resurgence of authoritarian political forces, the erosion of belief in democratic values, and the loss of faith in the efficacy of democratic institutions – have brought a historic halt to democratic progress and threaten a possible “reverse wave” of democratic breakdowns. Democracy’s supporters must unite to halt the retreat and to organize a new coalition for its moral, intellectual, and political renewal.
The starting point of a new campaign for democracy is a reaffirmation of the fundamental principles that have inspired the expansion of modern democracy since its birth more than two centuries ago. These principles are rooted in a belief in the dignity of the human person and in the conviction that liberal democracy is the political system that can best safeguard this dignity and allow it to flourish. Among these principles are fundamental human rights including the basic freedoms of expression, association, and religion; political and social pluralism; the existence of a vibrant civil society that empowers citizens at the grass roots; the regular election of government officials through a truly free, fair, open, and competitive process; ample opportunities beyond elections for citizens to participate and voice their concerns; government transparency and accountability, secured both through strong checks and balances in the constitutional system and through civil society oversight; a vigorous rule of law, ensured by an independent judiciary; a market economy that is free of corruption and provides opportunity for all; and a democratic culture of tolerance, civility, and non-violence.
These principles are being challenged today not only by apologists for illiberalism and xenophobia, but also by relativist intellectuals who deny that any form of government can be defended as superior. Although democracy is often considered a Western idea, its most fervent defenders today are people in non-Western societies who continue to fight for democratic freedoms against daunting odds. Their struggles affirm the universality of the democratic idea, and their example can help bring about a new birth of democratic conviction in the world’s advanced democracies.
Despite its intrinsic value, democracy’s survival cannot be assured unless it can demonstrate its ability to help societies meet the challenges of a changing and unstable world. We acknowledge the deep anxiety and insecurity of large segments of democratic societies and believe that democracy will be strong only if no group is left behind.
While democracy embodies universal values, it exists in a particular national context, what Vaclav Havel called the “intellectual, spiritual, and cultural traditions that breathe substance into it and give it meaning.” Democratic citizenship, rooted in such traditions, needs to be strengthened, not allowed to atrophy in an era of globalization. National identity is too important to be left to the manipulation of despots and demagogic populists.
The defense of democratic values is not a luxury or a purely idealistic undertaking. It is a precondition for decent, inclusive societies; the framework for social and economic progress for people throughout the world; and the foundation for the preservation of international peace and security.
A new Coalition for Democratic Renewal will serve as a moral and intellectual catalyst for the revitalization of the democratic idea. The goal is to change the intellectual and cultural climate by waging a principled, informed, and impassioned battle of ideas; defending democracy against its critics; working to strengthen mediating institutions and civil associations; and fashioning persuasive arguments for liberal democracy that can shape the course of public discussion. It will also be necessary to go on the offensive against the authoritarian opponents of democracy by demonstrating solidarity with the brave people who are fighting for democratic freedoms, and by exposing the crimes of kleptocrats who rob and oppress their own people, falsify the political and historical record, and seek to divide and defame established democracies.
The Coalition will also be a broad and interactive forum for the exchange of ideas about the best ways to address complex new challenges facing democracy such as static or declining living standards for many citizens, the backlash against increased immigration, the rise of “post-truth politics” in an age of social media, and the erosion of support for liberal democracy. Such a global hub would also advocate and promote effective forms of action to revive faith in the efficacy of democratic institutions.
There is no excuse for silence or inaction. We dare not cling to the illusion of security at a time when democracy is imperiled. The present crisis provides an opportunity for committed democrats to mobilize, and we must seize it.

List of Signatories

Mike Abramowitz, USA
Svetlana Alexievich, Belarus
Manal Al-Sharif, Saudi Arabia
Anne Applebaum, USA
Oscar Arias Sánchez, Costa Rica
Shlomo Avineri, Israel
Sergio Bitar, Chile
Igor Blaževič, Czech Republic
Ladan Boroumand, Iran /France
Martin Bútora, Slovakia
Juan Pablo Cardenal, Spain
Scott Carpenter, USA
David Clark, UK
Irwin Cotler, Canada
Manuel Cuesta Morúa, Cuba
Frederik Willem de Klerk, South Africa
Neelam Deo, India
Larry Diamond, USA
João Carlos Espada, Portugal
Francis Fukuyama, USA
William Galston, USA
Chito Gascon, Philippines
Carl Gershman, USA
Leonid Gozman, Russia
Vartan Gregorian, USA
Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Ghana
Barbara Haig, USA
Amr Hamzawy, Egypt
Ivan Havel, Czech Republic
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Estonia
Ramin Jahanbegloo, Iran/Canada
Vladimir Kara-Murza, Russia
Garry Kasparov, USA/Russia
Mikhail Kasyanov, Russia
Zoltán Kész, Hungary
Maina Kiai, Kenya
Jakub Klepal, Czech Republic
Ivan Krastev, Bulgaria
Enrique Krauze, Mexico
Péter Krekó, Hungary
Walter Laqueur, USA
Nathan Law, Hong Kong
Bernard-Henri Lévy, France
Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru
Rafael Marques de Morais, Angola
Penda Mbow, Senegal
Adam Michnik, Poland
Emin Milli, Azerbaijan
Yascha Mounk, USA
Surendra Munshi, India
Ghia Nodia, Georgia
Andrej Nosov, Serbia
Šimon Pánek, Czech Republic
Rosa Maria Payá, Cuba
Andrei Piontkovski, Russia/USA
Marc Plattner, USA
Jerzy Pomianowski, Poland
Rodger Potocki, USA
Arch Puddington, USA
Xiao Qiang, China/USA
Jacques Rupnik, France
Karel Schwarzenberg, Czech Republic
Lilia Shevtsova, Russia
Uffe Riis Sørensen, Denmark
Daniel Stid, USA
Tamara Sujú, Venezuela
Rostislav Valvoda, Czech Republic
Alexandr Vondra, Czech Republic
Christopher Walker, USA
George Weigel, USA
Leon Wieseltier, USA
Jianli Yang, China/USA
Richard Youngs, United Kingdom
Michael Žantovský, Czech Republic

terça-feira, 27 de junho de 2017

Adivinhe de que partido são os maiores ladrões do Brasil?

Brasil perdeu R$ 123 bilhões com esquemas de corrupção, diz PF

Organizações criminosas deixam rombo de R$ 123 bi 

Desvios. Dados da PF revelam prejuízo causado em 4 anos por grupos investigados em 2.056 operações; quase metade do valor está ligado a fraudes nos fundos de pensão

Alexa Salomão, Daniel Bramatti e Marcelo Godoy

O Estado de S.Paulo, 18 de junho de 2017


Em quatro anos, a Polícia Federal deflagrou 2.056 operações contra organizações criminosas que provocaram prejuízos estimados em R$ 123 bilhões ao País. Os números revelam que o maior rombo não é o apurado pela Lava Jato, mas o causado pelas fraudes nos fundos de pensão investigadas na Operação Greenfield, que alcançam R$ 53,8 bilhões ou quatro vezes o valor de R$ 13,8 bilhões desviados pelo esquema que agiu na Petrobrás.

Esse quadro é o resultado da conta feita pelos investigadores federais com base em valores de contratos fraudulentos, impostos sonegados, crimes financeiros e cibernéticos, verbas públicas desviadas e até mesmo danos ambientais causados por empresas, madeireiras e garimpos. Tudo misturado ao pagamento de propina a agentes públicos e políticos.

Os dados são da Diretoria de Investigação e Combate ao Crime Organizado (Dicor), da PF, e foram obtidos pelo Estado por meio da Lei de Acesso à Informação (LAI). 

Segundo especialistas em máfias e grupos criminosos, a análise dos números mostra a mudança do perfil do trabalho da PF, priorizando a investigação patrimonial das organizações. “Há uma tendência das investigações em se preocupar mais com os aspectos patrimoniais do que acontecia há 5 anos, quando se pensava só em autoria e materialidade”, afirmou o procurador da República Andrey Borges de Mendonça.

De fato, nos últimos três anos, esse montante cresceu ano a ano, partindo de R$ 6,8 bilhões em 2014 até atingir R$ 80 bilhões em 2016, um aumento de 1.068%. Os valores sequestrados ou recuperados com as operações também aumentaram ano a ano. Em 2013, a Dicor listou R$ 6 milhões. Já no seguinte – início da Lava Jato – esse número subiu para R$ 2,6 bilhões e, em 2016, atingiu R$ 12,4 bilhões. 

“Isso também mostra as prioridades adotadas pela Polícia Federal”, disse o juiz aposentado e ex-secretário nacional antidrogas Wálter Maierovitch, que participou como perito convidado da Convenção de Palermo. Organizada pelas Nações Unidas em 2000, a convenção, da qual o Brasil é signatário, definiu as regras de combate ao crime organizado.

Escalada semelhante de valores pode ainda ser observada naquilo que os agentes federais chamam de “prejuízos evitados”, quando a operação interrompe a prática de crimes, antes que eles se consumem. Nesse caso, os valores subiram de R$ 2,8 bilhões em 2014 para chegar a R$ 59,1 bilhões em 2016 – e já teriam atingido R$ 12,4 bilhões no primeiro trimestre deste ano. “O objetivo é asfixiar essas organizações, pois não adianta nada investigar autoria e materialidade se não se consegue recuperar o patrimônio”, disse Mendonça.

Além do enfoque na descoberta e no sequestro dos bens das organizações criminosas, os números também mostrariam o efeito da disseminação do estilo de investigação adotado pela Lava Jato, em Curitiba, com a criação de forças-tarefa envolvendo diversos órgãos.

“O que a força-tarefa de Curitiba trouxe é essa forma nova de investigar”, disse Mendonça, que participa da forças-tarefa da Lava Jato e hoje atua nas Operações Greenfield e Custo Brasil, que investiga fraudes e corrupção no Ministério do Planejamento no governo Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Para o presidente da Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil (OAB), Claudio Lamachia, a PF tem de cumprir seu papel e sua missão em todos os aspectos e espectros onde tem criminalidade dentro de sua competência. “É isso o que a sociedade espera da corporação.”

E são muito os afetados. Quase 2 milhão de beneficiários de fundos de pensão investigados na Greenfield tiveram de arcar com parte dos prejuízos gerados. “A gente se sente impotente diante de tudo o que aconteceu e é preciso botar a boca no trombone para não ocorrer outra vez”, disse Suzy Cristiny Costa, da Fentect, federação do servidores dos Correios.

Ranking. Entre os dez maiores prejuízos investigados pela PF, além dos apurados pela Greenfield e Lava Jato, estão os causados pelas organizações criminosas que são alvo das Operações Acrônimo, que apura o desvio de verbas e financiamento ilícito de campanhas eleitorais, e Zelotes, que averigua crimes tributários e corrupção no Conselho de Administração de Recursos Fiscais (Carf), órgão do Ministério da Fazenda.

Há ainda os casos envolvendo as Operações Enredados – R$ 5,1 bilhões de prejuízo – em que os agentes federais apuraram crimes ambientais e pagamento de propinas no extinto Ministério da Pesca, e esquemas de fraudes tributárias, contrabando e evasão de divisas apurados nas Operações Celeno, Valeta e Huno. A lista é completada pela Janus, que verifica supostas fraudes no financiamento do BNDES para obras da Odebrecht em Angola.

Corrupção: nunca houve nada parecido ao PT - Carlos Andreazza

Como eu sempre disse: o PT não tem predecessores e não terá sucessores, ele é único na corrupção em grande escala. Só o PT fez da corrupção um método de poder.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida 

TERÇA-FEIRA, 27 DE JUNHO DE 2017

Princípios e valores (aquilo que o PT não tem)

Em "Princípios", texto publicado no Globo, o editor Carlos Andreazza faz uma confissão dos princípios que cultiva e fulmina o partido de Lula: "todo mundo pode ser criminoso, mas só o PT teve — tem — na corrupção um programa para permanecer no poder":

Um leitor me pergunta sobre os fundamentos do que escrevo. É reflexão oportuna — gatilho para tratar dos dias correntes. Tenho horror ao Estado, no que identifico a opressão, e quero distância do governo, que considero ter fim em si mesmo, e em que distingo, pois, um espoliador de riquezas para tão somente alimentar a máquina — leitura que me faz um liberal em termos econômicos.

Creio no indivíduo; na capacidade do homem para resolver problemas e empreender. Não admito valor maior que o da liberdade individual. Sou um conservador em matéria política. Gosto da tradição. Fascina-me a experiência dos séculos — o peso do conhecimento a sedimentar o edifício da civilização ocidental. Oriento-me pela consciência de que as coisas admiráveis são facilmente destruídas, mas raramente criadas. Tenho fé na obra dos que me antecederam, e não a desguarnecerei para que grupos de pressão avancem agendas que não estão entre as preocupações das gentes que vivem a vida real.

Foi um longo caminho até que alcançássemos, por exemplo, o estado de direito, a segurança da propriedade privada e a ideia de família. É breve e mascarado, porém, o tempo necessário para se implodir tudo — breve e festivo. Essa visão de mundo é a que norteia o que escrevo, e dela decorre a análise política que faço, por meio da qual pretendo reconhecer e desconstruir projetos de poder — em cuja massa se encuba, sempre, o autoritarismo.

Segundo compreendo o estudo do tabuleiro político, dedicar-se exclusivamente a acusar a corrupção generalizada — sem lhe entender e explicitar origens, nuances e propósitos diversos — é jogar para a galera tanto quanto enxugar gelo. Em suma: histeria e esterilidade. Ocorre que o mundo não é feito apenas de inocentes e estúpidos. Há também aqueles a quem esses são úteis.

O jacobinismo em curso, que ceifa cabeças justiceira e indistintamente, engrossa com sangue a lama do interesse daqueles cuja sobrevivência depende de chafurdar a atividade política, igualando crimes como se da mesma extensão e intensidade. Eu prefiro o mundo real. Nesse, é provável que o PMDB de Temer seja uma organização criminosa, como afirma o açougueiro da delação seletiva. Nesse, contudo, jamais o presidente e seu partido, sócios minoritários na empresa de ascensão petista, terão sido protagonistas da apoderação do Estado — como nos querem fazer crer Janot e seu cavalo Batista.

É a própria história do PMDB que resenha negativamente essa ficção escrita para o PT. A variar em grau de engajamento, o partido compôs todos os governos desde a redemocratização. Não de graça, sempre esteve a serviço do governante de turno, acomodado ao segundo plano, fiel da balança da tal governabilidade. O fato de só raramente haver disputado a Presidência é autoexplicativo. O plano do PMDB é de ordem pecuniária e consistiu em se federalizar, em se fazer presente em todo o país, mão de obra nacionalmente organizada para ocupar cargos e lucrar de maneira descentralizada, em benefício da caciquia regional.

Aplicado há 20 anos, o golpe da reeleição, arte de Fernando Henrique Cardoso, representou o marco fundador da corrupção conforme praticada hoje, modelo desenvolvido e difundido, desde então, pelo PMDB, que inventou a figura do político com valor de mercado, esse que faz negócio com tudo quanto seja ofício do homem público, mas que — diferença importantíssima — beneficia-se da alternância de poder, na medida em que essa, por sua natureza democrática, dá legitimidade ao sistema e protege o establishment.

Jamais puros, a terem de responder pelos crimes cometidos, os senhores de PMDB, PSDB, DEM etc. nunca tiveram senão objetivos de ordem pessoal na corrupção.

O próprio advento — gravíssimo — da reeleição, em benefício imediato de FHC, consistiu nisso, num voo solo da vaidade. Solo e cego. Solo, cego e irresponsável. Porque então veio 2002 — e o PT elegeu Lula presidente. Mais cedo naquele ano, morrera — assassinado — Celso Daniel. Já então escolhido para coordenar a campanha presidencial a que não chegaria (substituído, não à toa, por Palocci), o prefeito de Santo André era o responsável pelo principal projeto piloto de gestão petista, em cuja corrupção, conforme a cartilha esquerdista, havia virtude: não se roubava (ao menos majoritariamente) para bolsos privados, mas para o caixa do partido — aquele que daria musculatura financeira ao projeto centralizado de poder petista.

Nisso, no exercício desse plano, está o cerne da distinção — o assalto ao Estado como meio para tomar progressivamente o Estado, e alargar o Estado, rendido a serviço do partido — e o motivo pelo qual não é aceitável tratar a organização em que se estrutura o PT como pareada a qualquer outra.

O projeto de poder petista não tem precedentes na história deste país porque desdobra o autoritarismo moderno, que subjuga o capitalismo em campeões nacionais e dilapida as instituições desde dentro da República, valendo-se dos instrumentos da democracia representativa, em que não acredita, para miná-la. Ou o leitor não se lembrará de Lula jactando-se de uma eleição em que não havia concorrentes à direita? Ou de quando se comprometeu — com sucesso — em extirpar o PFL do cenário político?

Todo mundo pode ser criminoso, mas só o PT teve — tem — na corrupção um programa para permanecer no poder. E dessa certeza nunca me distraio. Sugiro ao leitor que a considere antes de qualquer embarque.

2 comentários:

  1. PCC, CV, FARC, PT, FDN e mais ndranghetas da vida são uma só coisa!
    Diferencia-se que o mafioso PT se moldou como aparencias de partido político, enquanto os outros preferem ficar na marginalidade do poder, como nas bocas-de-fumo, tráfico etc., e esse não, quer ser o proprio poder governando a nação!
    Volte pro inferno, de onde veio!

    Responder
  2. Não afirmo sempre que o "omi" entende de palco e novela, achando que alguns ainda duvidam?
    Lula diz em entrevista que se for condenado "não vale a pena ser honesto"!
    De fato, honestidade não é para qualquer um que integre uma quadrilha e, lá dentro se comportar corretamente, será Toninho2 do PT ou Celso Daniel2, levados na marra prá terra dos pés-juntos!
    Não sei diagnosticar entre os dois, se Lula ou o diabo, qual deles é o mais cínico e dissimulado!

    Responder

Brazil as a Failing State (or, is it already a Failed State?) - Paulo Roberto de Almeida


Brazil as a Failing State
(or, is it already a Failed State?)


Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Political sociologist, university professor (Uniceub)
 [Estoril Political Forum; Panel Brazil, June 27, 2017]


1. Brazil: the democracy that failed
I started this draft text, for the purpose of delivering an oral statement, some three months ago, around March, just after having accepted the invitation by the organizers to take part in the Brazil panel of the Estoril Political Forum. At that moment, the second title was not the question of Brazil being already a Failed State, but just a doubt, expressed with this almost affirmative interrogation: “will it become a Failed State?” It may be the case, judging by recent developments in the last few weeks, in the political, judicial, and police spheres, all of them very busy with too many cases of corruption, protests, and institutional impasses. So, in less than three months, I had to rephrase and strengthen my title, just to emphasize the true state of political affairs in my country: the scenario is deteriorating rapidly, to say the least.
With this new introduction, in the form of the above paragraph, I will have to be direct, sharp and may be unduly severe: Brazil is, if not already a Failed State, at least a Failing State, in many dimensions of this concept. In fact, its political system, under whatever criteria we may choose, has already failed. This is the result not only of the kleptocratic behavior exhibited by some of its members, but also because of the very well known rent-seeking attitude of many, if not all, representatives of the Brazilian elites, entrepreneurs, politicians, trade-unionists and the rest. The present scenario is on the verge of anomie, not only because of episodic factors, such as the current political crisis or economic recession, but because of a structural deterioration of Brazilian institutions, despite an apparent resiliency of its formally democratic architecture. The true Brazilian crisis nowadays is of a moral order, the very glue that maintains a nation united behind its values and principles: Brazilian citizenship today does not trust anymore any of the three branches of government, the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary.
Brazil is a deteriorating polity that, in view of the lack of any real consensus around the necessary reforms in its ailing institutions, promises to continue to be weakening gradually for the next few years, towards its first two hundred years of existence as an independent nation, and irrespective of the general elections in 2018. Indeed, in 2022, income per head of the average Brazilian will be the same, perhaps even less, than its level attained ten years before; the state of its public debt will be on the verge of bankruptcy, if not already insolvent; and the ominous fragmentation of its political system will be worsening to the point of a governance disaster.
Those are threatening features that pale when confronted with the moral dereliction of our so-called political elites, together with the promiscuous capitalists and bankers that have been funding the former, in a rare neglect of duty (perhaps it was intentional) for a country formally modern, proud of its democratic institutions, and possessing one truly sophisticated State among developing countries of the Western Hemisphere, if not in the global South. Has Brazil become a toxic State?
The question is this: is it true that we are a consolidated democracy, possessing a functional State, and exhibiting strong institutions, capable of cleaning the rotten apples that sometimes embeds and plagues the governing and representative bodies of this State?  I am not sure of that, in view of last two years of troubling developments in the sphere of governance. Taking into account the whole set of evidences raised by the Federal Police, the Public Prosecutors and the Judiciary, not only limited to the very well known “Car Wash operation”, my preliminary conclusion can be only one: if Brazil is not yet in a condition of a Failed State, it is already showing various evidences to be a Failing State. How did we arrive at this horrible state of affairs, of not having a stable government and a performing representative institution, even after applying the second impeachment procedure since the early nineties, or perhaps precisely for that?
In one dimension, that of public accounts and macroeconomic management, Brazil has had a perfect storm, a self-inflicted crash course on how to destroy an entire country in half of a presidential mandate, and on how to implode a whole economy in less than four years, even if the process took a little longer to be built. In another dimension, that of its polity, Brazil showed itself as a well prepared country in terms of erosion of normal rules of governance, a perfectly fitted country for a schizophrenic process of dereliction (especially in the moral sense of that word).
In terms of the social impact of this political decay, there was an improvised combination of corrupt representatives and a greedy class of high State technocrats that lead the game towards the 2016 impeachment, which did not inhibited the continuing political crisis afterwards. Just to mention the State bureaucracy, almost privileged as the French enarchie, it is easily recognized that we do have many mandarins who are perfectly able and capable to conduct a very crude process of deepening of the already very unequal income distribution in Brazil, through very high wages and an infinite number of benefits that take a large part of the current expenditures in the budget. And, last, but not the least, during the entire Lula years and the disastrous one and half mandate of his successor, we assisted a truly “scientifically planned” scheme of high corruption in every sphere of the public administration, going each time more high and deeper in the scale of an organized gang robbery during the last decade and half.
How we could arrive at that? How we became so recklessly delinquent in terms of political governance and economic corrosion? Why our Weberian State was so rapidly and irresponsibly destroyed by a gang of political maffiosi that took the country by assault from 2003 up to 2016 (at least)? How could Brazil take a leading role in the unhappy championship of world corruption? How a bunch of confirmed kleptocrats stole the State and the Brazilian society during so many years? What all that means for technocrats like me, for academic people like you, for all of us? What we, Brazilians and our foreign friends, can do in face of it?
The reasons for that dire state of affairs are multiple and variable, along the last two or three decades, but can be summarized in two or three explanations: one is the very backward Weltanschauung – if the concept applies – of our political elites, which does not merit this qualification, as they are mediocre, ill-prepared, totally rent-seeking and opportunistic; the other is the schizophrenic character of our Constitution, a true monument to political demagoguery and economic populism, constantly refurbished and expanded by a bizarre coalition of professional politicians and Gramscian literati, both acting on the premises of politically correctness; and, the third reason, is certainly the conquest of the State by a truly criminal organization acting under the disguise of a political party. This third factor acted as the decisive trigger for the first two to be pushed forward, and exert a portentous influence on the whole process of deterioration.
Let’s examine each one of those features, and try to devise a realistic picture of the Brazilian political decay over the last two decades, the irresistible descent into economic anomy and political chaos that characterizes the current state of affairs in the country. I will be perhaps a little bit impressionistic, more than crudely objective, but I will try to support my arguments with empirical data and statements of fact. A brief exposé of the moral, political and economic situation is necessary to present a real picture about the awful situation we are enduring right now.
To be true, it is impossible to understand the political history of Brazil since the beginning of the millennium if we do not admit that Brazil and the Brazilians where governed, since 2003 and up to May 2016, by a criminal organization, one mafia-like association that implemented a carefully plan to rob the State, private and public companies and the entire population during its entire stay at the head of the Executive.

2. The scenario built by the new Barbarians
Brazil became, without any intended or declared purpose to do so, one of the most corrupt political systems in the world, a distinct characteristic that I’m not proud at proclaiming it openly. Ours is certainly the most corrupt political system in our own Hemisphere, and one of the most active protagonist of large scale corruption in other continents, most notably in Africa. This was done after that one of the most corrupt companies in the world, the construction company Odebrecht, established an almost complete network of corrupted practices in Africa and in many countries in Latin America. This was done in some countries in particular, that is, African Portuguese-speaking dictatorships, for one side, and the so-called Bolivarian States in our continent, for the other, besides of course the most ancient dictatorship in the region, the tyrannical regime of the Castros in that unhappy island of Cuba. Those who doubt the extension of the money laundering, traffic of influence and recurrent bribery involved in all kinds of Brazilian undertakings abroad, during the Lula era, have better to read the book by the journalist Fabio Zanini, Euforia e Fracasso do Brasil Grande: política externa e multinacionais brasileiras na era Lula (São Paulo: Contexto, 2017), where some of the biggest operations lead by BNDES – US$ 14 billion, for more than 500 projects in 11 countries from Africa and Latin America – are carefully documented.
It is not a novelty nor a surprise to verify the extraordinary coincidence of this large web of corruption with the activist foreign policy that we have had over more than a decade, more precisely between 2003 and 2016, when the so-called “active and proud diplomacy” – ativa e altiva – was in place, largely conducted by Mister Lula, by the foreign minister Celso Amorim and other Worker’s Party apparatchiks. They have done that with the total cooperation of the company King of Corruption in Brazil and elsewhere, Odebrecht.
No, I’m not blaming Odebrecht for our entrenched, pervasive and extended corruption, a feature with which this company is more than familiar since three generations at least. I’m blaming for that the very heart of the matter, the mafia-like political party that was in charge of the State from 2003 and 2016, and which profoundly transformed the nature and the functioning of the political corruption in Brazil, making it an all-encompassing, an incredibly vast, a widespread undertaking, a scientifically calculated and implemented enterprise, enforced without exceptions in every sector of our public life for the whole duration of that period.
That was not the sole product of this criminal organization. It was also responsible for the worst, longest and more profound recession of our economic history, this one which provoked two successive falls in the GDP growth rate, making them present minus 3,8% in 2015, and minus 3,6% in 2016, provoking a decline of 10% in our average income per head, in the whole producing what I have called The Great Destruction, after other experiments known as Great Depression or the Great Recession (see Paulo Roberto de Almeida, The Great Destruction in Brazil: How to Downgrade an Entire Country in Less Than Four Years”, Mundorama, n. 102, 1/02/2016, link: http://www.mundorama.net/2016/02/01/the-great-destruction-in-brazil-how-to-downgrade-an-entire-country-in-less-than-four-years-by-paulo-roberto-de-almeida/).
The particular feature of our current economic crisis is that it didn’t emerge out of an international crisis, a world economic shock or anything of this kind. It was entirely created in Brazil, 100% home made, by the incredible incompetence and corruption of the PT’s apparatchiks and their allies in the economic private and public sectors. According to one of our best economists, Alexandre Schwartsman, Brazil is going through a retrocession of seven years in only three years, counting with the virtually no growth this year of 2017. He denounces the argument of PT’s economists that blame the current state of economic affairs on the “austerity measures” being taken by the acting government. That is utterly false, as the public expenditure was maintained at their high levels of recent years, including a raise in social security payments and similar disbursements. Investment of course was cut down to minimal level, if any today, but in fact it was collapsing since 2013, thanks to the complete mismanagement of the national economy since the impeached president started to have a say in public policies (and I put that since the very beginning, middle of 2000s).
The fact is that Brazil was thrown in unsustainable fiscal policies since that moment, which combined with a spectacular rise in State intervention to produce what we have today: the worst recession in our history, which risk being with us well beyond 2020, probably receding only after we commemorate our first two centuries of an independent nation, in 2022. How we came at that? Some of the blame comes from the endless love that Brazilians have for the State, any State, at any point of our history. But much more came out from the exceedingly great obsession that lulopetistas and their allies have shown in connection with a undisguised desire for control of the society and its economy, which can be explained by the truly Stalinist nature of this party, or at least, of many of its leaders (who could be said to be a kind of neo-Bolsheviks, eager to become the bourgeoisie of third persons capital).

3. A schizophrenic Constitution, deepening our failures
Much, if not most, of the problems that afflict an already completely failed political system, and a business environment that is a kind of Dante’s inferno for the entrepreneurs, derive and arise from our Constitution. The 1988 Chart, described by one of its distinguished makers, as a “citizen Constitution”, is in fact the strongest enemy of the common citizen. Many features give the rationale for this harsh judgment. First, its prolixity, absolutely exclusive in the annals of the world constitutional history: hundreds of articles, hundreds of caputs and paragraphs, dozens of items and sub-items, and plenty of transitional dispositions, that regulate, probably abusively, each and all aspects of the Brazilian life, of the life of its citizens. The citizenship has strong enemies, first of these a powerful bureaucracy, besides the corporatism, the nepotism, the patrimonialism, and every other disease of our political and electoral system. Second, the intrusive character of the economic dispositions of the Constitutions, perpetuating the old Portuguese centralism and dirigisme, according to which no undertaking, no private initiative, no economic entrepreneurship can be performed without an official permission, a royal edit, a State decree or any other form of government rule. Third, by its delusional benefits given to every one of the Brazilian citizens – a generous social security system, especially towards public officers, a kind of health and educational free lunch (everything is open to all citizens, irrespective of its costs), and many other features, of course utopian by nature – the Brazilian Constitution constitutes a perfect recipe for a permanent rise and expansion of public expenditures, a circumstance that responds for the current recession and the almost certainty that with this kind of constitutional arrangement a sustained economic growth is an almost impossibility in Brazil.
The fact that the Constitution was discussed and enacted before the fall of the Berlin Wall, that is, the complete failure of socialism and State guidance in general, explains some of the lasting negative effects of its most important political and economic dispositions. But that was not enough: even with the demonstrated schizophrenic character of many of those economic and political dispositions approved in 1988, in the quarter of century afterwards, the institutional scenario in Brazil was compounded by a hundred new constitutional amendments, modifications, additions and substantive changes in the original text, giving new rights, innovative benefits, another set of entitlements, all consolidating a web of privileges and favors, politically, economically, if not morally questionable, making of the Constitution a perfect device to obstruct a sustained effort for the development of Brazil.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, immediately after inaugurating its first mandate, started to change, and eliminate, the most evident discriminatory dispositions of the Constitutions towards business activities and foreign investments. Unhappily, he could not privatize the giant dinosaurs of the public system, the gigantic Petrobras, and the whole set of State banks (do Brasil, Caixa and BNDES) that were at the center of the monstrous corruption developed in the following years, revealed by the Car Wash investigations. Lula and Dilma administrations were totally comfortable with the gigantic superstructure of the Brazilian State, and with the “detailed rights” given by the Constitution to “all citizens” (but reserving some of its best benefits to the mandarins of the Republic, and the Nomenklatura associated with the governing party, political allies, and apparatchiks in general. Brazilian Constitution offers ample chances for corruption, influence peddling and all kinds of traffics inside and outside of.
Recently, three personalities from the civil society (Modesto Carvalhosa, Flávio Bierrenbach, and José Carlos Dias) proposed, in a newspaper article (“Manifesto à Nação”, O Estado de S. Paulo, April 9, 2017), the elaboration of a new Constitution, based on those simple facts:
Deriving from an agreement among the forces that disputed power after the dictatorship, the 1988 Chart was filled with ad-hoc arrangements (casuísmos) and corporative interests. It has established an absurd political system that feeds itself from a pseudo party system, excessively fragmented and captured by the interests of corporations and politico-criminal factions. This makes excessively costly the governance, creating a toxic relationship between the branches of government, which reinforces corruption, influence peddling and the devastating shortfalls in the public accounts.
(…) The incurable vices of the 1988 Chart were compounded by anomalous 95 amendments since its promulgation, whereas there are more than one thousand new proposals of constitutional amendments [waiting discussion].

They pledge then for an original, independent, exclusive and autonomous Constituent Assembly, because the normal Congress and the representatives elected under the current rules would not be able to properly change the existing Chart in every inconsistent disposition it exhibits in its present form. They propose, also, a complete set of political reforms in order to eliminate the incongruences of the political system, including the Party Fund and the public financing of campaigns.

4. The conquest of the State by the political mafia of PT
Brazilian political decline is not exclusive in historical record. Before us – and certainly after our sad experience – many other countries meet similar trajectories full of failures, breakdowns of institutions, economic catastrophes, diplomatic fiascos and were put on the verge of bankruptcy, if not national disasters. Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany, Peron’s Argentine, Imperial China, African dictatorships, Latin American caudillo states, Oriental despotisms, we can identify many other disappointments on the path of normal processes of political and economic development. What characterizes all and each one of those breakdowns in normal statecraft is the absence of the rule of Law. And that is what distinguished the successive governments of PT, between 2003 and 2016, and perhaps still exercising protracted effects in the current political system.
When I started to work with the Presidency, in 2003, not as a diplomat, because I was considered a persona non grata in Itamaraty – having signed some too realistic articles on the ordinary leftism of the PT, and its anachronistic diplomacy – but as a simple technocrat, in the Strategic Affairs Unit, leaded by one of the governing troika (all three left the government after a few years), I was surprised, first of all, by the monumental incompetence of the apparatchiks engaged in Lula’s government. In the first two or three years – before I left the Presidency myself – the most plausible explanation for the complete ineptitude of the first measures taken by his governments that I could found was that the apparatchiks were equally clumsy, incompetent, totally unprepared for the normal work in the State bureaucracy. I was completely naïve, but after the first large-scale scandal, the Mensalão crisis, in 2005, I took a more realistic picture of what was happening: the ineptly devised measures, decrees, provisional acts, and other regulations by Lula government were not the result of the stupidity of those freshly arrived in the government. No! They were the intended purpose of their peculiar expertise in just one thing (or many of the sort): theft, robbery, fraud, pilfering, etc.
Current and future historians of Brazil have a large and difficult task ahead: revise and rewrite our political history between 2003 and 2016 (and probably also before and after of those dates). This revisionist endeavor is imperative for one single reason: it is impossible to explain many of the undertakings, initiatives, and other high-ranking measures taken by the three and half lulopetistas governments if we not take for granted the fact that Brazil and Brazilians were governed during those years by a mafia-like gang of criminals, a group of political crooks who took the country as hostage of their felonies and totally delinquent governance. I made very quickly the complete circle of my explanation for those apparently unexplainable inept measures adopted since the first days of their administration: the “economic crimes” committed in almost every sector of the State action – energy, labor, industry, social affairs, communications, including foreign policy – were not the side-effect of inconsequent and unprepared apparatchiks, but they were the direct result of purposeful activities pushing towards the assault of the State, its state companies, not forgetting the very nation, private companies and citizens.
What was the result of the lulopetista dominance over the State? Public organizations and associated businesses under this scheme suffered the plunder by the neo-Bolshevik party in order to consolidate the intended monopoly of power they were planning since the beginning. Those actions were not something improvised, but common crimes, directed to the logical consequence of those acts: amass a vast treasury of financial resources, with which to keep the State, its institutions, and the nation, under their control. And the treasury is vast in Brazil.
There are 154 federal state companies in Brazil and hundreds of subsidiaries: Petrobras, for instance, has 43 subsidiaries (some being sold now, after the most awful plundering ever seen in its 60 year history). Eletrobras, the energy holding, has almost 40 dependent companies, Banco do Brasil almost 20, and so on. Each one served as platforms for a combined assault by a bunch of rascals, party nominated administrators, trade-union maffiosi put at their Counsels or governing boards, and many apparatchiks lacking any managing competence. Their function was just one: sack funding for the party and themselves. The total debt of those 154 State companies grew from 142 billion reals in 2009 to more that 540 billion in 2015, and the personnel expanded from 430 thousand in 2006 to more than 550 thousand in 2015; their combined negative assets grew by more 153% in the period, from -9,7 billion reals to -24,6 billion. Many of those companies are now totally dependent of the National Treasury, and State banks will have to be capitalized, replenished by the additional taxation for the foreseeable future. Brazil will not recover before five to ten years, and even after that, per head income will be the same as that of ten years before.
This was not the result of any foreign financial crisis, but a totally home made disaster, what I call the Great Destruction. But that is only part of the whole picture of the Great Robbery in Brazil during Lula years. The active participation of promiscuous capitalists in the criminal endeavor is of course an important element of the horrible story Brazil has endured under the mafia-like gang of PT apparatchiks, commanded by the big bosses of this pro-totalitarian party. Another new feature, that has no precedents in the economic history of the public administration in Brazil is that the two – Antonio Palocci and Guido Mantega – PT financial ministers were actively devising new “legal” methods – decrees, provisional measures, even laws – for a continuous flow of State money and private “contributions” in favor of the party.
By doing so, by practicing what could be called a higher stage in the scale of corruption in Brazil and elsewhere, Lula and PT’s governments can be said to be at the origin of a new pattern of organized crime in the political sphere: the institutionalized crime, a kind of combination of mafia-like practices – that is, a mixture of charismatic and patrimonial established methods – with some Weberian procedures – that is, rational-legal – that represent a superior step in the sordid art of collective robbery. In Marxist terms, one could even advance a sort of Engelsian qualitative transformation of the political corruption in Brazil, according to a new evolutionary scheme: from the former, traditional artisanal mode of production of corruption – made individually by “normal” politicians – to the new, scientific, industrial mode of production of corruption, in large scale, at every level of the State, its public companies, and also the private sector, plundered or voluntarily engaged in the Great Brazil Robbery.

5. What’s the way out of this?
Argentinians, when confronted with a similar (perhaps worse) dereliction of their political class, in the burning succession of crisis in 2000 and 2001 – five presidents in a month or so –, adopted, out of the free and spontaneous mass demonstrations, this apt recommendation: “Sack them all!” (Que se vayan todos!). There is no such thing in Brazil, yet, but perhaps we are not very far from this kind of reaction. The informed public opinion, the middle class citizenship, and even common citizens, have already manifested their dismay with the political class. In São Paulo, a “manager” was elected mayor, instead of one from the old traditional politicians. Perhaps the same will occur in the 2018 general (presidential, governors, Congress) elections: candidates with current mandates will probably be rejected in favor of a “new” kind of political elite, the “managerial class”, that is, real administrators with some political feeling. This is a possibility, not a prediction…
Brazil is a sui generis case among Latin American countries, having none, or few, of the caudillo traditions of many of its neighbors, though exhibiting the same patrimonialistic deformation of many countries in the region and elsewhere. This very old sin on Portuguese origins, patrimonialism is at the core, and at the very heart of the institutional deterioration in Brazil. But not the traditional form of patrimonialism, which was somewhat modernized during the modernization of the Brazilian State, between the Vargas era (1930-54) and the military regime (1964-1985). Under the lulopetista regime (2003-2016), patrimonialism assumed a gangster-like character, not very far from the “República Sindical” model of the Peronist regime in Argentina. In the case of Brazil, it was a kind of Peronism without doctrine – the “justicialismo”—and a vulgar version of the Syndical Republic. Worse still: in the case of PT regime in Brazil, there is large evidence of the clandestine influence of Communist Cuba in the governments of Lula and Dilma, of course in a disguised form.
Recent events in the political process presented a combination of legal and institutional developments arising from the 2013-2014 crises – street manifestations and a very controversial election campaign – and the intervention of illegal, criminal, covert operations of political financing in an already very corrupted environment. The succeeding process of impeachment against Dilma – because of responsibility crimes linked to irregular use of state banks and the budget iself – was conducted according to the institutional rules, albeit the Supreme Court has, itself, violated de Constitution at least twice, followed by a botched decision by the electoral court in the case of the notorious botched elections of 2014. Notwithstanding the formal compliance with some legal rules, the 2014 presidential election was a demonstration of how corrupt, and corruptive, can be the party politics, and how submissive to this dirty system can be the superior tribunals in Brazil.

6. Reforms: what is possible and what is impossible?
But, the crucial question, in face of the current crisis, is: what could be the structural reforms that Brazil needs, in order to overcome the current state of paralysis, anomie, dissatisfaction? This situation of disarray is, in fact, a reflection of a double process: the worst economic recession ever in our economic history, and a completely failed, prone to corruption, political system. There are plenty of needed reforms, but one surpasses every other: the reduction of a monster, the Brazilian State. Indeed, Brazil has endured, since the 1985 democratization, a regular, constant, progressive encroachment of the State over the lives and work of millions of citizens, or better, everyone and each one. Technocrats of the public agencies, political representatives, social engineers of the Executive, labor and or environmental prosecutors are permanently engaged in all kinds of regulation, supposedly to protect society from itself.
Let’s record just a few examples of the schizophrenic character of some State regulation in Brazil, either federal or local, that afflicts normal economic activity or renders impossible the life of micro or small entrepreneurs. Many years ago, in the spirit of the ultra-regulatory 1988 Constitution, a Congressman from the PCdoB (the small “Maoist” Communist Party of Brazil), later a minister in the PT’s government, succeed in approving a law that prohibits in the whole Brazilian territory the introduction of self-serving pumps in gas stations, with the declared intention of preserving thousands of low-pay jobs. The same political figure also achieved to approve the maintenance of other low-pay jobs in the urban Brazilian transportation system: the collectors of fares in every buses of the Brazilian cities. With this, only now, in 2017, the Justice in São Paulo city, acting under demand from the new “manager-mayor” of the capital, João Doria (a prospective president in 2018), declared unconstitutional a law from the City Assembly that kept in “employment” thousands of fare collectors in the city buses, irrespective of the dissemination of pre-paid chip cards and electronic registers at the vehicles; almost every city in Brazil carry heavily subsidies to the transportation companies, another source of corruption and political trafficking in Brazil.
Last innovation, in Brasilia, was a new law, from the local assembly, destined to introduce a compulsory registration of every Uber private driver in the federal district: with that, they will probably obliged to pay some sort of tax allowance or stipend to continue to exert their job. One driver, animated by this fascist mind, sued Uber in the local justice in order to receive all the benefits provided by the truly fascist Brazilian Code of Labor (enacted by the New State dictatorship in 1943, and inspired in the Mussolini’s Carta del Lavoro): vacations with 1/3 added pay, the usual 13rd wage, subsides for lunch, gas and other benefits. The same applies to the many “feudal” corporations still active in Brazil: lawyers, architects, engineers, economists, doctors, all of them functioning as an “Order”, allowed to collect annual fees from their “protected” professional category. A “trade-union contribution” (imposto sindical) is still in force, and an annual payment equivalent to one-day labor of every worker is collected to be distributed by the Ministry of Labor to trade unions at the various levels (category, federal states, confederations and national trade unions (centrais sindicais, at least seven), every one living on this paying roll, without any control from the Accounting Tribunal. “Corporative” is the other true adjective of the Brazilian Republic.
We can now pursue this analysis by exploring the kind of restructuring which is needed to improve, even minimally, the current state of (non) affairs in Brazil, one of the very difficult places in the world to conduct business, according to the reports related to this domain; a quick look at the World Bank’s Doing Business, or at the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World can corroborate this evaluation. Either Brazil undertakes an entire set of reform, or it will be condemned to endure a very long period of low growth, not to mention severe crises Greek-style or decay as durable as Argentina’s. I will divide my suggestions into two classes of reforms: those possible, or at least “doable”, and those impossible, or utopic. Let’s go:

Possible reforms:  
1) A radical shrinking of the weight of the State over the productive life of the nation, starting by the reduction to half in the number of ministries, with a proportional elimination of a wide range of public entities. Decrease in the Kafka-like bureaucracy of the Federal Revenue Service. End of any type of privileges linked to public functions.
2) Reduction and simplification of the fiscal charge, which is very difficult because of various levels of taxation in the federation and regional differences in fiscal repartition of the receipts; therefore, the reform could start by a linear decrease in the various rates, for instance 0.5% annually during a ten-year period, while a discussion on the quality and amount of each type of taxation, and its appropriation by states and municipalities, can take place in a orderly manner.
3) A new fiscal deal: suppression of the unconstitutional figure of conditional budget allocation by the Executive, as well as pork barrel individual additions to the budget, which has to applied and implemented exactly as approved by the Parliament;
4) Elimination of the complete machine for governmental self-propaganda, only allowed information campaigns with a true finality of public order (vaccination, and natural catastrophes, for instance); communication is well served by private channels.
5) Resumption of a general reform in the social security systems, unification of the common and public sector schemes, elimination of all residual privileges, and the establishment of a sustainable intergeneration mechanism, compatible with the moving demography and the sectorial financing of the new system.
6) A complete revision in the National Health Service, nowadays working under a fictional non-paid, universal access system, towards a market-based, multiple system of insurance companies, with subsidies only for the confirmed low income strata.

Impossible reforms: 
1) A political reform aimed at the complete elimination of the Party Fund, a State sponsored stipend to every party recognized as such by the Electoral Tribunal, which is an inducement to the creation of new legends, and the fragmentation of the existing parties, giving financial support to “for-rent-parties” (or, an electoral business of the worst sort); current system allows a total segregation between the party machine and the electorate, which is, in sum, a rent-seeking approach to politics. No public financing of campaigns of any kind: parties are private law undertakings.
2) Immediate extinction of 50% of all commissioned jobs in the public sector, in all levels and spheres of governmental activities, with a concomitant establishment of a parliamentary and executive commission designed to reduce and align the remaining jobs, to be filled by open meritocratic recruitment, without the current stability at entrance; complete interdiction of reciprocal nepotism and other forms of preference.
3) Education: creation of a new class of teachers and professors, paid according to merit and benchmark results, without stability, but with a constant program for training and capacitation, proportionate to remuneration.
4) Privatization of every public or state company not linked to an essential and exclusive public service (defense and justice, for instance).
5) Elimination of all tax and fiscal exemptions, and other privileges, linked to the so-called “religious entities”, now turned into a thriving “industry”. The same applies to trade unions, another “big industry”: elimination of the “syndical taxation”, complete freedom of association, no public resources whatsoever for the “centrals”.

This is my personal list for reform in Brazil, that could be integrated to an agenda for reform during the next few years, if – and that’s a Big If – there could be any chance of real consensus among political elites and entrepreneurs in that direction. We all know that reforms, in general, are always difficult, as Tocqueville recognized in relation to the transition from the Ancien Régime to a constitutional system in his own country, France. If not implemented as a result of a consensual governance outlook among the governing or dominant elites, reforms become disruptive, and are usually initiated after a deep societal crisis, which is perhaps not yet the case in Brazil, at least not in the same extension that those that occurred in recently in Greece, in Argentina, and currently in Venezuela.
Could Brazil descend into the chaos that those countries were, or are today? Not of this kind, at least in the foreseeable future, although disruptive events cannot be at all excluded. What instead could happen in Brazil would be a protracted crisis made of low growth, partial or imperfect sectorial reforms, and a clear loss of legitimacy of the three branches of government. Worse, the current political mess in Brazil offers plenty of raw materials for all types of dark humor, that is political jokes of a derogatory nature against government and State institutions. In fact, political humorists in Brazil do not need to invent or create anything, do not have to have any inspiration for their jokes: all they need is offered on total freedom and gratuity by the official institutions and their representatives. To be true, those public figures constitute an unfair competition and an informal concurrence to professional humorists. That’s not a joke, it’s a political tragedy!


Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Brasília, June 12, 2017