THE BLOG
05/20/2016 08:55 am ET Updated May 21, 2017

Brazil Opens Pandora's Box

The most recent events in Brazilian politics, which seem to come out of a movie script, represent a big step back in the field of democracy. Several internationally renowned newspapers condemned this week the deposition of Dilma Rousseff and many analysts began to find differences and similitudes between the years 2016 and 1964, both coup d'état years, each in its own way.

If there is any chance to believe this is a matter of real democracy, we'd better look towards a "Ponte para o Futuro" ("A Bridge Towards the Future") - the name given to the PMDB's and interim president Michel Temer's governmental plan - and then admit this is actually a tunnel directed towards the past - one that goes even further back than 1964. A tunnel that reaches back to the Greece of the 5th century B.C. where the newly born Democracy legitimately belonged to an elite of just a bunch of male landowners, banishing from public life more than 80% of the entire population which included women and slaves.

One of the crucial points that has been neglected now in Brazil is precisely Democracy's foundational essence as a way of moving past oligarchical models. In its ethical root resided the mission of breaking up inequality as an immanent element, of injustice as a contingent process. And, in its practical purpose, to positively manage inequality in a way it ensures stability and promotes citizenship.

In this process where Brazil elected and deposed the first female President in its history, it also ended up opening Pandora's Box. Twenty-four hours of interim government sufficed to confirm the worst suspicions. For instance, this was sufficient time to prove that the investigations, which before had been threatening to all the protagonists from all the political parties, turned to PT's leading figures and allies in order to quench the thirst for justice enhanced by the country's mass media - thus preventing PT's election in 2018 - and safeguard the core of corruption in the country (of which PT also became a partner) as people such as Renan Calheiros, Eduardo Cunha, Michel Temer and Aécio Neves will remain at large. Indeed, considering the current legislative and executive representatives in Brasilia, Dilma Rousseff, the politically deposed President, is probably one of the few figures that will escape any sort of legal charges since she has committed no crime.

The most immediate and serious problem is the difficulty to promote conciliation among a large majority of the population who, split into 'yellow shirts' of a garbled patriotism and the 'red shirts' of incondite leftism, will together pay the incalculable price of the step taken by the oligarchical foot that follows the order of transnational plutocracy.

A new ministerial body made up of just white men leaves little room to the suspicions that firmly arose before the nomination, right when the new first lady was praised by the media as "bela, recatada e do lar" ("beautiful, discreet and a housewife"). This is not at all about postmodern, multiculturalist cosmetics! In a country where there are more women than men and more black people than white people, it is shocking to find the imposition of this representative and ideological homogeneity.

We are facing here a dangerous paradox that shows how far Brazil is from a new and challenging social contract. From two hypotheses, there is hardly one. First, either we assume the elitist, patriarchal and aristocratic profile that defines a government that rules for just a few or, second, we recognize that there aren't more capable women or black people to take part in the Brazilian government. Fortunately, if we take a look at the 21 ministers appointed by Michel Temer - let alone his own political survival - it will be easy to state that, seeing that some are no experts in the affairs of their respective ministries, those who actually are represent quite obscure interests. This being said, it would be easy and even natural to assume that the best nominations would reflect a much more diversity.

I have the following question for those who are misled by the fallacy of meritocracy in order to swallow a scandal that would be unacceptable by any 21st century democracy: What would you have about a ministerial body exclusively composed of black women? You would have surely shouted "Where is meritocracy here?" A truly multicultural country, fully integrated in a global world of intense exchanges within all imaginable spheres and minimally progressive aspirations, would never consent to such a shameful exclusion. Temer's response to popular pressure will most likely entail the appointment of a woman for a merely decorative office. Brazil's meritocratic speech is serving to forge social mediocrity, exactly as a process already predicted by Alexis de Tocqueville in his magnificent work 'Democracy in America.'

Let us assume Pandora's Box is open and all the evils within it finally come out. Reactionary, ill-intentioned speeches insisting on the comparison of Brazil to Venezuela or Cuba, should sadly meet the destinies of Paraguay or Honduras. Even the conspicuous fall of Maduro in Venezuela, though it may satisfy similar interests, will never serve the world as an example of a blow against Democracy.

According to Greek mythology, Pandora's Box was closed when there only remained hope. These following months are going to be crucial for the hope of reestablishing a democratic path which is the only one that can be followed in order to leave the disappointing and corrupt politics of PT-PMDB-PSDB behind. Hope for an active, pedagogical, solidary, generous, innovative and multitudinous reconciliation, able to fight against any attempt from the interim government to impose an artificial state of normality, domestication and subjugation. If Brazil doesn't want to wake up from a nightmare, perhaps it is time for all the people to get rid of the yellow and the red shirts and get united. After all, green is the color of hope.