Voters are like readers, not as enthusiastic about politics as the politicians. Writers produce books faster than readers buy them. It happens with elections. The Brazilian people have voted but without enthusiasm. The Presidential election requires a second vote. Like the Yes vote in the Scottish referendum, the unlikely victory for the breath of fresh air environmentalist, Marina Silva, did not happen. She received 21% of the vote. We can have dark fantasies about what the Green Party of the UK would do for an equivalent electoral share. Dilma Rouseff obtained 41.6% of the vote and 33.6% voted for Aecio Neves, the pro-business and centre right challenger. Silva is unlikely to endorse Rouseff but those of her voters who choose Neves in the second count will be eccentric. Like Bush and Cameron, the candidate, Neves, is a corporate economic lackey, someone who smiles all the way to his rewards from the oligarchy. Meanwhile, businessmen have been fantasising about a possible right wing victory in the second vote. Share prices have climbed, and neoconservatives, who blissfully ignore the distribution of income problem of Brazil, lecture Rouseff for not keeping public sector expenditure in parsimonious check. Brazil should not have staged the World Cup but the notion that a liberated private sector will rescue infrastructure and the education system is risible.
Share prices have fallen in Brazil in the last four years but the economy has consistently grown. It is nowhere near as lopsided as the mortgage fuelled boom economy of the UK. Rouseff has disappointed. Many of her votes will be begrudged but the alternatives are worse.
The incident with a gunman who took the hostage might illustrate the extent of the disillusionment or its cause or maybe both. In the St Peter Hotel in Rio de Janeiro he took a hotel employee as hostage. The gunman made the hostage wear a bullet proof vest but packed it with grenades and explosives. An inconsistent attitude to health and safety perhaps, and the metaphor is confusing. The media appeared, though, and filmed the gunman parading the hostage on a hotel balcony. The gunman had stood in the previous municipal elections. He was protesting about the failure of authorities to enforce legislation that prevents those convicted of criminal offences standing for election. After being filmed, the gunman surrendered. The hotel employee returned the bullet proof vest and explosives and was released. Not everyone is convinced of the authenticity of the explosives but only those persuaded to predict victory for Marina Silva would be tempted to expect the political career of the gunman to reach a new zenith.
The media will forget the gunman, and, when the alive are found in body bags, it is not difficult. Valdelucio de Oliveira was admitted to a hospital in Salvador. Later, he was diagnosed as dead. A concerned family visited the morgue and were discussing funeral arrangements when they noticed movement inside the bag. Their relative was alive. Whether he has been canvassed for his vote is not known.
Howard Jackson has had three books published by Red Rattle Books. His collection of horror stories, Nightmares Ahead, will be available in the spring of 2015. If you want to read more about Brazil click here.