Former Federal MP Manuela d’Avila (PC do B) says that whether she is a candidate or not, the attacks on her and her family do not stop, and that her decision not to run this year is the result of a combination: threats and disunity leftists in Rio Grande do Sul.
Mentioned to try for a seat in the Senate, she, who was Vice President Fernando Haddad (PT) in the 2018 presidential race and made it to the second round of the 2020 Porto Alegre mayoral election, says dividing the progressive field into state election is harmful doubly.
“Unity is important to be competitive and defeat the forces that make my life unsustainable personally and politically,” says Luiz Inácio supporter Lula da Silva (PT) and opponent of Jair Bolsonaro (PL).
Manuela participates in São Paulo on Monday (20) at the opening of the 7th Salão do Livro Político, organized by five publishers, of which Sheet is a partner. She will be at a table on the topic of saving democracy in Latin America, along with Dilma Rousseff (PT), Guilherme Boulos (PSOL) and others.
The conference, which will take place at 19:00 in Tucarena (Rua Monte Alegre, 1024, Perdizes), will be broadcast on the event’s YouTube channel. The salon is open until Saturday (25).
What impact did the attacks have on your decision not to run?
The set of threats that my family and I have suffered for at least seven years affects all my daily decisions, from going to the supermarket to my political influence.
The first reason for my decision not to run is that we have not been able to create reasonable unity in the progressive camp in a state with three competing forces. [Edegar Pretto, do PT, Beto Albuquerque, do PSB, e Pedro Ruas, do PSOL].
Unity is essential to being competitive and defeating the forces that make my life personally and politically unfeasible. In addition, in the face of violence, the unit is able to protect the victim. Disputes without this cohesion make us more vulnerable.
What has changed in terms of attacks between running for office before and after Bolsonaris?
It’s completely different. I have always been on the left and there have always been conservatives, but there was no scale. Today, these are threats associated with the encouragement of violence based on hate speech. This is the logic not of opposing ideas, but of exterminating those who think differently.
The first threat I faced was in 2005 when I was just elected as a councilor, and this affected the city council, which came to my defense. Now, for example, members of the Black Bench in Porto Alegre are attacked every other day, and this does not change the order of Parliament.
But, on the other hand, we have never had a women’s movement so attentive and able to protect themselves, which are the preferred targets.
Did the fact that one of the virtual opponents in the Senate race was Bolsonarist, Vice President Hamilton Murao (Republican) influence your retreat?
I never thought about it. What I can say is that I take the threats I face seriously, although they have never stopped me from fighting.
Behind these constant violations, whether I run or not, are organizations that produce and spread lies, create virtual militias, and encourage physical and face-to-face assaults.
But I chose to stay. I will campaign the same [pela esquerda]against them and denouncing what they are doing against me. It shows a lot of who they are, not me. But it also opens me up a bit because I endure it and meet it with my head held high.
Mrs. Have you ever considered expulsion, as ex-MP Jean Willis did?
This is a hypothesis that my family and I have evaluated at different times. It’s not easy to wake up in the morning like it was a year ago and see your five year old daughter being threatened with rape. Anyone in my condition would have thought of that.
Do you think you’ve lost your freedom?
There is a phrase of the intellectual Angela Davis that freedom is a constant struggle. Threats are a reflection of the ideas I represent and their purpose is to destroy. They never wanted to defeat me politically, but they destroyed my existence.
How do harassment, machismo and political violence intersect?
Anthropologist Rosana Pinheiro-Machado has a formulation that says it is impossible to separate Bolsonarism and the extreme right from violent masculinity. It is no coincidence that in the attacks that I endure, my image, the image of my daughter, is used, my body is mentioned. It is no coincidence that they permanently desecrate the memory of Mariel Franco.[As deputadas federais do PSOL] Taliria Petrone and Samia Bomfim are also the targets of attacks that expose their young children. We are attacked not only for being women, but also for being women who doubt what they do.
How do you think the left should respond to fake news?
First, it must be understood that disinformation is not possible without a discourse of hatred and prejudice, potentially promoting real violence, before it is introjected.
I think we should never refute with the same weapons. What we need to talk about is the technology behind this and energize the platforms that distribute and provide access to this content, the tools to control and spread the truth.
We also need to invest in digital citizenship. We will never win the war on fake news. What we can win is the war for the influence they cause by encouraging people to tell lies from truth, distrust and verify information.
What do you expect from this election campaign?
We need to learn from this last period that we are living in, when talk of shooting someone [como fez Bolsonaro em 2018 ao atacar petistas] has no practical implications.
We [da oposição] we have to go outside. I think the less [bolsonaristas] they exist, the more radical they will be, which means we must protect our leaders and activists.
In what context is Brazil included in the debate about saving democracy in Latin America, the subject of your table at the Political Book Salon?
We must think about how to strengthen democratic institutions on the continent by discussing issues such as freedom of expression, exemplified by cases such as the execution of Bruno Araujo and Dom Phillips.
The latest cycle we are experiencing in Latin America is a period of weakened democracy, which in Brazil included the impeachment of President Dilma without prosecution and the question of the rule of law in prison of President Lula.
Manuela D’Avila, 40
Associated with PC do B, she was Councilor in Porto Alegre (2005-2006), Federal MP (2007-2014) and State MP (2015-2018). He has reached the second round in the last two elections he has contested: presidential in 2018 as vice-president on the list of Fernando Haddad (PT) and in the 2020 mayoral election of Porto Alegre. In 2018, he created the Instituto E. Se Fosse Você?, to combat fake news and online hate.