This year marks 30 years of professional life. When I started working as an intern at the extinct Jornal da Tarde, in 1992, at age 16, the world was different. The ghost of the dictatorship, which had ended just 7 years earlier, was already dissipating and despite the erratic government of Fernando Collor, it was clear that there were efforts to recover the country after 20 years in the hands of ignorant soldiers and troglodytes. The world was bad, but there was great hope that after sweeping back into ostracism those people who had done so much harm to the country, no one would hold back Brazil, until then known and celebrated as the “country of the future”.
The future of that time is today, as I read yesterday in O Globo, a report by Cássia Almeida that shows that Brazil has gone back up to three decades in the last two years (the period of the pandemic), in indicators of areas such as economy, education and the environment. The journalist shows through numbers and expert testimony that hunger, school dropout, poverty, deforestation and inflation have taken us back to the past and that an eventual recovery will be very slow and difficult.
Bolsonaro has already overcome the famous slogan of former president Juscelino Kubitschek, “50 years in 5”, only in reverse. He made Brazil go back 30 years in just 2. As he was never good at anything, Bolsonaro chose to be the best of the worst and it seems he is being very successful in the mission.
Everything that I saw being built with great effort in this country seems to have been lost since Bolsonaro took over the presidency. FHC’s years of economic tidiness, the explosion of consumption and the social inclusion of the Lula government, the World Cup, the Olympics, that cover of “The Economist” with Brazil taking off and the feeling that, although we are still very far from ideal, we were on a path that finally felt right. There was a sense of relief, as if we had reached a level of democracy from which there would be no further backsliding. It just wasn’t like that.
In 1992, the year I started working, Brazil had 33 million hungry people and Jardim ngela, in the south of São Paulo, had been considered by the UN the most violent place on earth, with a scandalous rate of 116 homicides. per 100 thousand inhabitants. In the halls of ECO92, the murder of Chico Mendes four years earlier was on the agenda while in supermarkets inflation continued to eat up the wages of workers, who were still recovering from the trauma of the confiscation of savings carried out by then President Fernando Collor, now an ally of Bolsonaro, clear.
It took us 12 years to finally get off the Hunger Map, in 2014, and today we have the same 33 million people going hungry that existed in 1992. In four years, Bolsonaro encouraged police violence, the formation of militias and filled the streets with guns. of all calibers, putting the population at risk. Instead of Chico Mendes, today we are discussing the death of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira in the Amazon, which with the president’s blessings reached record levels of deforestation, violence and disrespect for indigenous peoples. It seems that for every step forward, we take another 5 steps back. Bolsonaro’s re-election this year would be an unprecedented tragedy for the country.
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