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The progress of polarization in Latin America worries Portuguese politicians

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published on 06.08.2022 06:00


(credit: FRANCISCO LEONG)

The journalist and lawyer Paulo Portas is one of the most influential politicians in Portugal. Portas, a former deputy prime minister and former foreign minister of his country, is a strong supporter of representative democracy and diplomacy as a tool to overcome crises. But he is concerned about the political radicalization that is taking place not only in Europe, but throughout the world and, in particular, in Latin America. And he points to social media as a factor in this crisis. During a recent visit to Brazil, Portas spoke with Mail about geopolitics and the “weakness of multilateralism” and criticizes what he calls social media democracy.


Has multilateralism collapsed?

I think it went to weakness. Multilateral organizations are unable to respond to the severity of the challenges. In any case, if we think about what international organizations were relevant during the pandemic, regionally, the European Union was relevant because it learned to make joint purchases and manage vaccination schedules in the field of health, which is a common policy. And internationally, despite its limitations, I think the World Health Organization (WHO) was relevant. But basically, many organizations were not relevant.

For example?

There is a crisis in this Ukraine, for example, the UN. I quoted as a metaphor: is it possible that on the day the UN Secretary General arrives in Kyiv, Russia, which is a member of the Security Council, decides to bomb Kyiv? It’s somewhere between disrespect and humiliation. And there is very little room for diplomacy.

Because?

One reason is that both sides are convinced they can win. And this does not contribute to the start of negotiations, contrary to what is considered. And at the moment there are several organizations that can mediate. Many countries in the European Union asked China to mediate, but China did not want to do it. He probably thought that he would have a problem on his hands, and he would not be able to solve it.

Was it the fear of being blamed for failure, if any?

What. For example, this small big deal that would free up grain exports that come from Ukraine and Russia does not allow exports – although there is liability for mines placed in the sea on both sides – but, objectively, Russia has seized some of the Ukrainian wheat, and he does not get out of Odessa. 85 boats stop in Odessa. And 22.5 million tons, which are sorely lacking in food, mainly from North and East Africa. We needed more effective international organizations, more mediators and more power to avoid situations like this.

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What role do you see for the UN in the future?

The UN has two entities in the two things we’re talking about: the World Health Organization and the FAO. The work they do is undeniable, but, in a conflict situation, apparently not enough to restore the channels. Globalization has brought many benefits, especially for the Southern Hemisphere. I see criticism of the Northern Hemisphere.

What are the benefits of globalization?

He brought many people out of extreme poverty. My question is: have we learned from the pandemic or this war in Ukraine, and will we be better prepared for the next global crisis? This is the decisive question. Perhaps the next crisis is climate-related. This is indicated by many indicators. And if it comes – when it comes – we have learned from the failures of the pandemic and the failures of this situation in the 21st century, is there still a possibility of war between peoples on the edge of Europe? This is my point of view. We need a serious strengthening and modernization of multilateralism.

Do you see great leaders who can bring about these changes?

No. I will talk about the democratic world, about those who choose their leaders. We choose more and more extreme people. It’s hard for moderates to live in this “social media” democracy. And this is not very good for the future, frankly. People should have understood by now what happened in the United States. On January 6, 2021, a coup d’état took place in the United States.

Invasion of the Capitol…

…in the strongest democracy in the world. All of this was circulated on social media. Use of social networks. Internet is fantastic. It changed our lives, it was the most important revolution in our lives. But be careful: the political vanguards that have taken over the stands, I think they are constantly a factor of radicalization, insults, a serene discussion is impossible. As a result, people insult each other. They don’t want to be right, they want to offend the opponent. As a result, there is little room for compromise, for agreement. And we see this in many countries of the democratic world. In addition, more and more people live under authoritarian regimes.

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Is there such a danger in Brazil?

It would be very impolite of me to speak on such a sensitive subject.

But now we are experiencing polarization.

All of Latin America is like that. I think the Portuguese should refrain from commenting on Brazil’s foreign policy, but I can understand the context. All of Latin America is going through a cycle, it was the case in Bolivia, at the very least in Peru, so it will be in Colombia, and of course with the influence of social networks and the takeover of these political social networks. Agenda aside, Latin America is going through a moment of extreme polarization, with neither centre-left nor centre-right. There is an extreme left and an extreme right. Aren’t there smart people among them? I think that the progress of societies is not achieved through extremes. This is done through agreement, step by step, compromise, negotiation, reform. It is very difficult. I think that Latin America would have the opportunity to emerge from this global crisis: Latin America is a natural producer of energy and food for the whole world. The world is going through a period of food shortages due to the factors I have already mentioned and the uncontrolled rise in energy prices.

Are we also experiencing this polarization with respect to Europe?

There were elections in France. The French are perhaps the most political people in Europe. 52% did not go to vote. I think this should open our eyes. What is happening in European democracies? This is another sign that something is wrong. This should make us think about some disease that has afflicted democracy.

Is democracy really sick?

I think that there is fatigue from the idea that there is room for maneuver to change something, there is fatigue from corruption. Europeans have become peoples who do not want to give up anything. They have achieved a very high level of comfort. They want the best of all worlds at the same time. Sometimes this is not possible. Brexit (withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union) in Europe’s oldest democracy, with a huge manipulation of arguments, is a matter for reflection. It should be emphasized that in the so-called digital democracy there is neither a past nor a long-term perspective. The past was last night, and the long term is tomorrow morning at best.

And you do not delve into the topics?

Anything. I said there: Almost no problem that the world has to solve would be simple, it would not fit in 142 characters. So, this digital democracy leads to the simplification of the complex. Simplification requires manipulation. A significant part of accounts and profiles are fake. We get to the point where we argue with people who don’t exist and accept it. And here’s what I find significant: we accept it. I’m a bit concerned about the dominance of radicalization and the short term, and the idea that there are magic solutions for things that don’t have magic solutions.

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For example?

Inflation has no magic solution, it is a very complex problem. Inflation has a large energy component, and there is no magic in it. Raising interest rates hurts the economy, but it’s the only way to control inflation. You in Brazil know very well what the inflation dragon is. I have a lot of admiration for the man who helped bring economic rationality to Brazil, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who I really like.

What can be done in this preparation, for example, in relation to the international order?

There are several possible stability pillars to reduce unpredictability. For example, the relationship between China and the United States. Obviously the US is the world’s largest economy and of course China is more ambitious, but it would be important that there be a minimum of management of this competitiveness between the two countries. And we should pay attention to Asia. Look what happened to women in Afghanistan, they can no longer go to school, walk in the same garden as men. They can no longer travel abroad. And now, dramatically, they have to put on the veil again. This happened in nine months. There is a Taiwanese problem, a very sensitive one. But it is true that we need more stable relations between the two superpowers, we also need the economic management of globalization. It is undeniable that globalization has lifted many people out of poverty. But it is also true that the gap (distance) between those who have and those who do not have widened. And in this it was necessary to find a balance. My concept of equality is equality of opportunity. God did not create two identical people. If it were egalitarian, it would make us equal. Now I have equal opportunity to be able to put on a great talent, as I saw in the Castro Alves theater in El Salvador.

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The guest list for Moraes’ TSE inauguration has political resonance.

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published on 18.08.2022 06:00


(Credit: Antonio Augusto/Secom/TSE)

The guest list for the inauguration of Minister Alexandre de Moraes as President of the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) still resonates in the political arena. More than 2,000 people attended the court ceremony, cheering the magistrate’s speech in defense of the Brazilian electoral process and democracy.

For political scientists, the presence of the political, legal and diplomatic elite at the ceremony was a sign of support for electoral justice, in contrast to the attacks of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) and his supporters. In his speech, Moraes stressed the credibility of electronic voting machines and said that the result of the election on the same day as the election is “a cause for pride”.

The TSE President also stated that the interference of justice in the elections will be minimal, but will not allow abuse of the right to freedom of speech. However, Bolsonaro, who was present at the ceremony, did not approve of the chorus and remained motionless during the moments of applause.

Through social media yesterday afternoon, the minister once again defended Brazilian democracy. “The TSE ceremony symbolized respect for institutions as the only way to grow and strengthen the Republic and the strength of democracy, as the only political regime where all power comes from the people and which should be exercised for the good of the people,” Moraes wrote.

The inauguration was accompanied by STF ministers, former presidents, politicians, 13 ministers from the Bolsonaro government and 40 ambassadors, as well as 22 governors, the Attorney General of the Republic, Augusto Aras, and other government officials. At the same ceremony, Minister Ricardo Lewandowski was sworn in as Deputy.

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Political scientist André Rosa emphasizes that the presence of government officials is commonplace, but this event brought symbolism. “Obviously, the inauguration will be attended by the president and former presidents of the republic. But, in fact, if Bolsonaro was not present at this meeting, it would be very bad and an insult to democracy. It is also important to note that when Alexandre de Moraes speaks in support of the elections, everyone applauds except Bolsonaro,” he said.

For Nahue constitutional lawyer and political scientist Bernardo de Azevedo, the ceremony had several meanings. “Firstly, it shows the firm support of the figure of the minister himself, which may be decisive for his imposition of himself on the TS. At the same time, it supports the strong statements of the minister in defense of the electoral system. , which took on a strong tone and which, in other contexts, would be little more than a footnote in any news story about the event,” he noted.


first meeting

During his first appointment as President of the TSE, Alexandre de Moraes met yesterday with the Presidents of the 27 Regional Electoral Courts (TRE). The judge stressed that he would be open to dialogue. “We are absolutely open to everyone. Alone, TSE does nothing. The TSE works together with the regional electoral courts and with all election judges,” he said.

Moraes has already said he will not let his guard down during the election period. The TSE already has a plan ready to hold the October elections with the least possible disturbance and prevent justice in case of extreme scenarios.

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In a meeting with TRE, he said it was extremely important that preventive action be taken together on Election Day. Discussions also included fighting disinformation, working with security forces, training poll workers, and changes to ballot box distribution.

The minister will command selective justice during the most troubling elections since the country’s redemocratization. He will be tasked with ensuring the fairness of the voting system, as well as dealing with the untimely behavior of Jair Bolsonaro, who claims without evidence that the previous elections were rigged.

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Evangelists are at a political peak and single out Michelle and Janya – 17.08.2022 – Poder

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Evangelists are at a political peak and single out Michelle and Janya - 17.08.2022 - Poder

With a thumbs up, the pastor of the Assembly of God in Botukatu (SP) warns that anyone who votes for Lulu (PT) is “not worthy of the Lord’s Supper.” The best thing such a believer can do is to refrain from eating bread and drinking from a cup (usually grape juice), which is a symbolic recognition of Christ’s sacrifice, he says.

“He said there in the Sarawah circle when he got popcorn on his head that ‘the demons are bothering me now’. Do you have the courage to say that you will vote for such a person?” The religious leader refers to a video from 2021 showing PT participating in a candomblé ritual. Lula never claimed to have been possessed, but walks around evangelical churches with a quote taken out of context. He said, in fact, that “Bolsonarists on social media” spread “that the devil cares about me.”

Opponents conjure up a narrative of Lula’s collusion with darkness after the first elections in newly democratized Brazil, when evangelicals began to gain prominence in the elections. The segment now reaches, in this year 2022, polarized between PT and Jair Bolsonaro (PL), the pinnacle of its political activity, in a confrontation in which the first lady Michelle Bolsonaro and the sociologist Rosangela da Silva, Giagna, Squid’s wife.

The emergence of this Christian bloc in politics began in the Constituent Assembly, which formulated the Constitution of 1988. The first evangelical pew was formed there, which, in his own words, gave a “biblical ablution” to the chairman of the Constituent Assembly, Ulisse Guimarães.

“Brother, vote for brother” Josue Silvestre, a parliamentary councilor associated with another Assembly, God’s, dates back to that time. The book summarizes the new evangelical Zeitgeist: “The believer votes for the believer, because otherwise he cannot claim to be a believer,” wrote Sylvester.

“Evangelical leaders, especially Pentecostals, took advantage of the context of democratic openness to invest in political activism,” says Ricardo Mariano, a USP sociology professor who coined the term “neo-Pentecostals” in his master’s thesis in the 1990s. “Since the 1970s, pastors have been harassed by candidates who, when elected, often broke their promises. This, they said, encouraged them to nominate their own candidates.”

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Churches began, in Mariano’s words, to “strategically resort to the victimized fate of a persecuted religious minority, declaring the urgent need to protect religious freedom, Christian morality, and their own interests from attacks by perceived enemies through the election of church representatives.”

An example of a leap year when a pastor backed Lulu against Fernando Collor in 1989, Silas Malafaia says that as a child he heard pastors preach “that politics and television are the work of the devil.” He quotes the biblical passage “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” to explain why “I could not, thinking with my buttons, understand the reason for this.”

As a televangelist he worked “to give political consciousness to evangelists”. The old pastoral guard, in the words of today’s Bolsonarist Malafay, “only preached heaven and eternal life, as if we were not in an earthly context.”

Fake old news, re-released in 2022, is the idea that PT will close churches. Already in the 1989 elections, there was talk that Lula would do this if she won in collusion with the Catholic Church to eradicate the religious freedom of the evangelicals.

On the eve of the first round, the faithful of the Catholic Church sang “devil on a tightrope, let’s collorir, let’s collorir” at a vigil led by Bishop Edir Macedo, who wore a shirt with the name Collor.

The one wearing the shirt in 2010 was MP Marco Feliciano (PL-SP). It read: “I am a Christian and I vote for Dilma.” In the service, he made a mea culpa: “Like a parrot, I repeated: PT is going to close the churches in Brazil. […] Eight years ago, Lula was a demon. But Lula was chosen and not a single church was closed.”

Feliciano and Macedo were with Dilma Rousseff in an argument that was won by PT. Today, the Episcopal Church is campaigning that the Christian Left is an anomaly, and the MP reiterated that the PT is a threat to churches. Closing temples during the pandemic for health reasons helped inflate this “Lula risk.”

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Feliciano justifies his change of position as follows: PT is “committed to the principles of identity” and one way to silence churches is to shut them up. He says he thinks in the PT government, “laws that prevent pastors from saying that homosexuality is a sin, or that force believers into same-sex ‘marriages’ will swarm.” Lula’s campaign shows no signs of this happening.

Playing with moral pride is a resource that paid off for Bolsonaro in 2018,” recalls Ricardo Mariano. The pastors accused Fernando Haddad, the PT presidential candidate “participating in the anti-PT wave”, of being “an agent of cultural Marxism, a culture of death.” [aborto] and gender ideology,” he says.

In this election, the Catholic Bolsonaro has put an evangelical woman at the forefront of his campaign, whom he married in 2013 with Malafaia’s blessing. Michelle is seen as a more sugary antithesis to the president’s rugged image, which would be well liked by women, 58% of evangelical voters and her husband’s electoral wing. And it turned out better than the order, according to the allies.

The first lady can speak the language of the evangelists, said Apostle Cesar Augusto, leader of the Fonte da Vida church. “She does not pretend during the campaign, as we see with many politicians. We know the difference between authenticity and pretense.”

Malafaya repeats the good impression. “Michelle is known for being a woman, an evangelist who knows how to position herself, looks good,” she says. “And after seeing her husband being killed, like a macho who can’t stand a woman, my friend, a woman has panache, she began to open her mouth.”

Janja, on the other hand, is PT’s bet to lure female voters into a duel between two men who have entered the popular imagination as “macho goats.” However, pastors from the Bolonarist orbit believe that the sociologist has a religious responsibility.

Not only does she exude an image of an independent woman that brings her closer to the feminism rejected by many evangelicals, but she also posted a photo of herself posing next to images of orishas from Afro-Brazilian religions. Here’s how he signed it: “I miss white and twists, turns, turns…”.

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Michelle herself played a recording of the Candomblé leaders showering Lulu with popcorn. But not because of religious tolerance: the video associates this religion with darkness.

Lula’s headquarters is trying to run after Bolsonaro to prevent Bolsonaro from further distancing himself from the former president in an evangelical field that represents 1 in 4 voters.

Lula tested vaccines against a minefield that had been prepared for him to avoid regaining the evangelical voices that once belonged to him, like when he said at the start of his campaign that Bolsonaro was “demons-possessed.” He also brought Pastor Paulo Marcelo to his team, who allied with PT and was a member of the Gideões Missionários da Última Hora, a Pentecostal congress that put forward names like Feliciano, with whom he is friends to this day.

Paulo Marcelo defends a tactic now resurfacing in PT members’ speeches: reminding evangelists that Lula did a lot of good for the group, such as when he approved the law that established the March for Jesus National Day. The former president, he said, also deserves credit for better times. “The question is very simple: what has improved in your life? How much income did your church have at the time of Lula and Dilma, and how much do you have today?”

Something was already recommended in 2013 by Marcello Crivella, nephew of Edir Macedo, who at the time was Dilma’s Minister of Fisheries. At an event with pastors, today’s Bolsonarian Crivella stated: “The President said: We are no longer going to exploit the people. And when there is more money, the evangelical people are not the people who go to the boutique to buy branded clothes. people do? He goes to church more because he can afford the subway and train. He gives more offerings, more tithes, more charity.”

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Where are blacks and women in Rio de Janeiro candidates?

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Where are blacks and women in Rio de Janeiro candidates?

A poll conducted with Electoral Court candidate registration data found that since the start of self-declaration of race in 2014, this is the year with the most black candidates (black and brown) participating in the electoral process.

In 2022, 49.49% of people applying for political office declared themselves black, up 2.95% from 2018. However, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, the national scenario is not repeated.

Read more: Brazil’s main arms group has four tentative candidates in Rio de Janeiro

According to the website of the Higher Electoral Court (TSE), Rio de Janeiro has registered a total of 2,726 candidates for the general election to be held in October. There are a total of 1,268 blacks, representing 46.52% of the candidates, and 1,381 whites, representing 50.66%.

For the President of the Board of Trustees of the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analysis (Ibase) and member of the Black Coalition for the Rights of Vania Sant’Anna, Rio de Janeiro is developing, albeit at a slower pace.

“It is important to say that the state of Rio de Janeiro has always nominated and elected black men and women who are also competitive in the polls – for positions on the council, in the allergen. [Assembleia Legislativa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro] and the Chamber of Deputies. Benedita da Silva, Jurema Batista, Carlos Alberto Cao Oliveira, Edmilson Valentim, Edson Santos, Marcelo Diaz. And many others who were not elected, but showed a strong response in the elections, as, for example, in the case of Lelia Gonzalez, ”comments the historian.

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More: SC and SP are the only states where only whites will run for state governments.

According to Vaniya, the memories of the path traveled by all these political leaders inspire black youth to become more active in the electoral process, running for public office. However, according to the activist, it is important that political parties also take responsibility when presenting a structure of representative candidates for the Brazilian society.

“Political parties must do their part to strengthen black activists who are focused on fighting racism, discrimination and eradicating racial inequality in Brazil. The figure is surprising to many, but blacks make up the majority in the country, don’t they? So it makes sense that this percentage is at that level. The question arises, given this profile, what will be the results of the polls, ”he reflects.

women in politics

In terms of women’s participation in politics, the figures for the state of Rio de Janeiro are very close to the national figures, which show 67% of male candidates and 33% of female candidates.

In Rio, according to the TSE, 68%, i.e. 1856 of the names registered for participation in the general elections, are men and 32%, i.e. 870, are women.

Read more: Among the 70 richest candidates for governor, there is only one woman, in 30th place

Compared to 2018, the participation of women increased by 1%. This year, as in 2018, there are more black women in the state of Rio than whites. In total, 449 black candidates submitted registrations to the electoral court, and 392 registered women who declared themselves white.

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However, the number of white women and 24.8% of black women registered as candidates is down 28.47% from four years ago.

Source: BdF Rio de Janeiro

Editing: Mariana Pitass

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