Brazil’s interim government is orchestrating a stunning transfer of power to the country’s elites.
Brazil’s new interim president Michel Temer’s motto seems to be: “Injure all at once, and perhaps, one day, return benefits little by little.” Existing social gains, especially those won by the Workers’ Party (PT), are already being eroded. His government hopes the Brazilian people will swallow this bitter pill in hopes of a vaguely defined payoff later.
The domestic popular outcry and international opposition — which could turn into a diplomatic crisis if more countries recall their ambassadors — have only accelerated this process.
Fearing that the impeachment might not stick, Temer is trying to accomplish the coup’s mission as quickly as possible: remove as many rights as he can, transfer the weight of the economic crisis from the elite to the working class, and contain the anti-corruption outcry.
While Dilma Rousseff’s second term was the least progressive of the past four PT administrations, Temer seems intent on proving even Rousseff’s least enthusiastic supporters right by demonstrating that what is bad can always get worse.
The Temer Agenda
One of Temer’s first moves was to assemble an all-male, all-white cabinet that better suits a military regime than a diverse, populous democracy.
Diversity alone does not ensure egalitarian politics, but it suggests that a government wants to at least appear representative of a country as a whole. Temer’s new ministers have little consideration for this formality.
The new minister of agriculture, Blairo Maggi, is directly responsible for rainforest deforestation and the denial of indigenous rights. Maggi is probably the only choice worse than Kátia Abreu, who held the post under Rousseff and represented the agribusiness association.