In the news: Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has appointed ex-president Lula, who is suspected of corruption, as minister. Since then she has rapidly lost the support both of her party and of the people of Brazil.
Commentary by Silvia Gabriela Abreu e Silva (Nutrition and Health) and Gustavo Crestana (Plant Sciences)
Silvia: ‘The federal police revealed that Rousseff appointed Lula as minister in order to obstruct the investigation into allegations of corruption by Lula. Brazilians are now rising up in protest, and demanding Rousseff’s resignation. It is important to realize that there are still people who support Rousseff and her PT party. In my view the main issue is that Brazilians are fed up with the corruption that affects all politics and governance in the Brazilian system. Corruption is not linked to one political party but is rooted at the national, provincial and municipal levels countrywide.
There is an urgent need for moral and political reform in Brazil. At the moment we are in the midst of a crisis in which the ruling party the PT is governing badly. As a good Brazilian I hope for the best for my country and I stay positive!
Gustavo: ‘Corruption has existed in Brazil since the Portuguese arrived there. It is nothing new. The problems in our country go way beyond the present corruption case. Former president Lula helped raise our country out of poverty and got economic progress going. Rousseff is having difficulty keeping up that momentum. Mismanagement is the order of the day. That leads to unemployment and inflation, and companies stop investing in our country, prompting major protests by the people. The media contribute to this too. They focus exclusively on corruption in Rousseff’s PT party, whereas it happens in all the parties.
It is hard to predict which way things will go. The situation is very unstable. Rousseff could resign, in which case vice president Michel Temer will take over. But Rousseff might also find a way of staying in power, even though that would only weaken popular support for her.’