Glenn Greenwald Interviews Ciro Gomes, Brazil’s Center-Left Presidential Candidate

For those of you who don’t speak Portuguese I found an interview by Glenn Greenwald, founder of The Intercept, who speaks and understands Portuguese very well with a controversial candidate who no one wants to see in power in Brazil and who cannot possibly win the majority vote. But he has spider webs a family throughout the politics of Brazil and even though he may be a minority book collector in the next election he will still have a large influence whether he wins or not! Brazil remains in DEEP SHIT politically, socially, educationally and realistically! I lived there for 3 years and I do speak barely-passable broken Portuguese so I’m slowly keeping track of the situation there through friends, but the situation there is totally upside down, inside out and Topsy Turvy. It’s a sad case of reality in the largest and most populous country in South America.

It’s too bad that while he was a victim of a recent stabbing, he survived!

Published on Aug 31, 2018

Brazil’s October 7 presidential election is rapidly approaching, and perhaps its most remarkable aspect is the utter lack of clarity about the likely outcome. The world’s fifth-most populous country is mired in so many sustained and entrenched crises — economic, political, judicial, cultural, and an endless corruption scandal — that all previous rules for understanding political dynamics seem obsolete. And for that reason, and several others, the dynamic of Brazil’s presidential race has international relevance: it illustrates the chaos and extremism that can ensue when a large sector of the population, for valid reasons, loses all faith in institutions of authority and in the political class.

All of this confusion and uncertainty has created a huge opening for an actually fascist member of Congress, former Army Captain Jair Bolsonaro, whom the western media often refers to as “Brazil’s Trump” but is, in fact, far closer to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte or even Egypt’s Abdel el-Sisi in his fondness for military rule, indiscriminate police violence, torture and summary executions. The conventional wisdom is that Bolsonaro’s 20 percent of the vote will be enough to bring him to the run-off, but that his high disapproval ratings ensure he will lose to anyone who makes it there with him (similar to Marine LePen’s dynamic in France). In the era of Trump and Brexit, such confidence is misplaced, but even if Bolsonaro does not enter the Presidential Palace this year, he will wield significant influence with his 20 percent support and his three equally fascist sons in public office, one of whom is currently in Congress and the other on his way to the Federal Senate this year.

The widespread expectation is that Bolsonaro will make the run-off (the only candidate who can stop him — the center-right, corruption-tainted, establishment-backed, charisma-free Governor Geraldo Alckmin — has stagnated all year despite every institutional advantage). The real race, then, is for second place: everyone is eager to be the alternative to Bolsonaro, behind whom all non-extremists will presumably coalesce. One of the leading contenders for that second spot is the Democratic Labor Party (PDT)’s Ciro Gomes, a mostly left-wing politician who insists, for strategic reasons, on being called “center-left.” Gomes is a remarkable paradox in many ways. For one, he has been at the highest levels of Brazilian politics for decades — as mayor, as governor of Ceará, a large and poor state in the Northeast, a minister in two prior presidential administrations, including Lula’s successful first term — yet has the comportment of, and is widely perceived as being, an outsider and somewhat of a rebel.

He is also extremely erudite and well-educated, a professor of Constitutional Law who has studied at Harvard, yet styles himself as a plain-talking “man of the people” who has become notorious among Brazil’s conservative media for his “unpresidential” behavior and temperament. Glenn Greenwald sat down with Gomes for a wide-ranging interview about Brazil’s political dynamic, its various crises, the situation with Lula and the corruption probe, and other controversial social issues such as drug decriminalization, gender inequality, and teaching children in public schools about homophobia and LGBT equality. We also discussed the similarities between Brazil’s political climate and its rising far-right movement with those in Europe and the U.S.

 

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