This blog has always had the sole purpose of providing news and economic data on Brazil, and in some cases even an interpretative analysis, to help readers make better investment decisions.
Facts and events related to politics (elections and legislative processes, mainly) have always been presented and interpreted for their influence on the Brazilian economy, in the most impartial way possible.
However, what has been happening in Brazil since the election of Bolsonaro poses a serious threat to democracy and freedom of expression, fundamental values that transcend any strictly economic consideration.
I therefore believe necessary to use this blog to denounce the serious threats to democracy that are taking place in Brazil, often not sufficiently disclosed, especially abroad.
The last episode, of exceptional gravity, was the disclosure of a video by the Secretary of Culture, Roberto Alvim (a sort of minister, given that Bolsonaro took culture status out of ministry, relegating it under the control of the Ministry of Tourism).
It is difficult to find the words to describe this video, so much so that at first glance it is thought to be a joke (of bad taste). The video is clearly inspired, in words and aesthetics, by Goebbels, Hitler’s right-hand man and responsible for Third Reich propaganda.
In the video, Alvim, seated at a table and imitating Goebbels’ chilling facial expression, delivers a delusional speech on culture, many passages of which are literally copied from a speech given by Goebbels in 1933. As background music, a fragment of the work Wagner’s Lohengrin, one of Hitler’s favorites.
Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lycKFW6ZHQ
Here is the comparison of the passage of the two speeches:
Goebbels: “The German art of the next decade will be heroic, it will be fiercely romantic, it will be objective and devoid of sentimentality, it will be national with great pathos and equally imperative and binding, otherwise it will be nothing”.
Alvim: “The Brazilian art of the next decade will be heroic and national, it will have a great capacity for emotional involvement and equally imperative, since it is deeply linked to the urgent aspirations of our people, otherwise it will be nothing”.
All this in the context of the launch of an Award to promote the “new national art”, which, in Alvim’s thought, must be “rooted in the nobility of our founding myths. The homeland, the family, the courage of the people and their profound connection with God support our actions in the creation of public policies. The virtues of faith, loyalty, self-sacrifice and the fight against evil will be brought to the sacred territory of works of art“.
This is the guiding idea to try to submit culture to the will of Power. Precisely that Brazilian culture that in its richness and diversity has produced many great masterpieces, not only in the musical field.
But this video, however delirious, cannot be interpreted as Alvim’s madness: it is the fruit and expression of the Bolsonarist thought, for which the fight against “degenerate culture” (another Nazi quote) and the promotion of a culture aligned with ideals conservatives (God, homeland and family) must be one of the government’s guidelines.
The day before the video was published, Bolsonaro had publicly praised Alvim, at his side in the weekly live on Facebook, for his battle for the defense of conservative art, citing the Award that had been presented in its general lines.
Even after the first repercussions from institutions and public opinion, Bolsonaro had reassured Alvim, simply stating that the video had been misunderstood and confirming his support for the secretary of culture. Only after the outrageous position of the influential Jewish community, of which Bolsonaro has always been an ally and supporter, was the decision made to exempt Roberto Alvim. Bolsonaro had to bend over, make a concession, but he certainly did not change his nefarious ideas on the role of culture.
I take the words of the journalist Vera Magalhães (excerpt from the article published in the O Estado de São Paulo, 19 January 2020):
“Racist, authoritarian and frankly persecutory demonstrations against different sectors of society will continue to arrive daily from the president and the ideological wing of the government … Society will no longer tolerate these fantasies or even the temptations to control and protect national life with a project that is anything but liberal and democratic. How many and which sectors will still be willing to close their eyes to the evidence in the name of economic policy is what will define the course of the coming years “.
How long will we still be willing to close our eyes and pretend that everything is going well in the name of possible (and desired) economic growth?