PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party) resorts to old ghosts, tries to scare voter by linking PT (Worker's Party) to terrorist groups and organized crime
The command of the José Serra (PSDB-São Paulo) campaign has put fear in the heart of the Brazilian presidential race. It all began with the surprising interview of Serra's running mate, Indio da Costa (DEM-Rio de Janeiro), for the party's website saying PT (Lula's party) is connected to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and drug trafficking.
At first, party leaders gave the idea that Indio was just an isolated voice - not to mention unguided and inconsequent. Gradually, however, it became clear that he was following a prearranged script. Very well led by the top chiefs of PSDB and DEM, Serra's running mate served as springboard for a campaign strategy: using the good old and worn fear tactics. He sought to create ghosts in the head of the voter to take votes from the PT candidate for president, Dilma Rousseff.
Such tactics, by definition, disqualify the political debate. The ones Who use it are willing to work not with reason but with radical and confusing feelings. They distance themselves from any rational arguments, to try to enchant a more uninformed audience or one which already collects deep prejudices. It's a dangerous game: "negative campaigns may even increase the rejection of its sponsoring candidate," says political scientist José Paulo Martins Jr. But the toucans decided to risk it.
Tasso Jereissati says Lula is a 'chavista'
Despite the reactions provoked by Indio's statements (the Supreme Electoral Court granted a right of reply to PT), PSDB exponents and Serra himself did not unable the DEM deputy. Instead, they thickened the "all is fair in love and elections".
Cheerful, Indio returned to the charge, suggesting a relationship between PT and a criminal gang in Rio "There are already several indications linking the Red Command with the FARC. And what is Dilma's opinion about it? You see, PT and the FARC, the FARC and drug trafficking, drug trafficking, Rio de Janeiro and the Red Command, with very clear indications of a relationship. She (Dilma) has to say what she thinks," he says.
On Thursday 22, it was Serra who took the raucous tune, "There is more than enough evidence of what the FARC are. They are kidnappers, they cut people's heads off, they are terrorists. And they have been sheltered here in Brazil. Dilma has even named one of their women".
This time, the tone of the discourse scandalized opponents. "I was surprised by Serra's decision to enter this debate. It looks like he decided to turn to the right after realizing the 'little Serra, peace and love' style did not work. Serra now decided to be a troglodyte," said the Leader of the Government in the Chamber of Deputies and one of the coordinators in Dilma's campaign, Cândido Vaccarezza (PT-São Paulo).
"Serra's vulgarity kit is useless: the people wants to hear proposals and history," said PT's deputy Ricardo Berzoini.
Toucans want to upset Dilma and demand answers
The PSDB attempt to create an atmosphere of demonization of PT and its candidate for the presidential palace, Dilma Rousseff, is entirely planned, contrary to what it might seem. IstoÉ discovered that qualitative researches in the power of PSDB's coordination staff identify that some sectors of the Brazilian electorate would still have restrictions on "the crowd surrounding Lula."
In the polls conducted by the PSDB-DEM coalition, covering the South, Southeast and Northeast regions (70% of the national electorate), one comes to the conclusion that Lula's image is the closest to the "ideal politician." Given this scenario, the research, focusing on the middle class voter between 25-50, tried to filter what the population sees as the good and bad aspects of the PT government.
Lula was considered "almost beyond good and evil," reported a toucan leader who had access to the numbers. However, in six surveys, when consulted on thorny issues such as radicalism and corruption, voters invariably pointed the blame for sectors "around" Lula. The gang is the problem.
This finding encouraged the toucans to invest against PT. In coming weeks, among the new topics to be addressed are the relationship between PT and Hugo Chávez and their defense of terrorist Cesare Battisti. But in the pack, there will be even something left for Lula himself, as demonstrated Senator Tasso Jereissati (PSDB-Ceará): "Lula is a Chavista," said the PSDB leader on Wednesday 21.
"He wants to create here in this country a populist dictatorship, where he will start limiting the spaces around everybody and keep only his own space of power." For Jereissati, the issue has nothing to do with Lula's high popularity. "Chávez is also very popular. Other dictators were also very popular. The problem is that in this government, the policy is the elimination of any and every opponent," he said.
A historical retrospective shows, however, that fear tactics worked back in the re-democratization of the country, but hasn't been working in a more mature Brazil. Carried out in these elections, the electoral anything-goes may once again mean the suicide of the toucan campaign.
In 2002, for example, Serra himself, then former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso's candidate, resorted to deception and fear: "There is the real PT and the PT that is on TV," he said at the time. "It is very important to discuss the illegal invasions and links with the FARC. This does not appear on TV, but is a part of PT," added the toucan, who was low in the polls. Because of the attacks, PSDB lost a minute and a half of its time on TV. And the result, everyone knows: Lula won the election and has now been nearly eight years in power, registering record levels of popularity.
The rhetoric of fear does not usually have the ability to reverse votes, according to political consultant and professor at the Gaudencio Torquato University. "Linguistic terrorism begins to climb the mountains but does not reach the masses. It only reinforces positions already settled," he told IstoÉ.
"The use of fear tactics in elections is nothing new. What happened is that Indio has abided by a role which was given him: playing the whistle." For Torquato, Indio performed the task assigned to him by the PSDB campaign leadership. "Thus, Serra was preserved from the acidity," he believes.
Also according to the political consultant, this tension "was rather predictable" and had two other purposes: to present the running mate and try to infuriate the PT candidate, Rousseff. "At the same time they gave the campaign a thrust and introduced Indio, since nobody knows him. They also attempt to create the polarization the PSDB campaign needs and try to knock Dilma's concentration off," said Torquato.
Virgílio, of PSDB, also welcomed the Farc
"We're discussing facts of public knowledge. Everyone knows the relationship between PT and the FARC and everyone knows that the FARC are related to drug trafficking," insists PSDB's national chairman, Sérgio Guerra (Pernambuco). Years ago, PSDB made allegations that the Colombian guerrilla had transferred $5 million to PT's campaign, which was never proven.
But beyond the fantasies, what is the real deal between PT and the FARC? To answer this question, we must go back to 1990. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the world's left was unsupported. In Latin America, at the suggestion of Fidel Castro, Lula ended up proposing the creation of the São Paulo Forum, to agglomerate parties, trade unions and leftist organizations.
The FARC joined this movement, although at the time its link to drug trafficking was not common knowledge. From then on, the guerrilla always attended the Forum's meetings and received political support from its members. PT came to cultivate relationships with representatives of the FARC, particularly with ex-priest Oliver Medina.
However, since Lula took office in 2003, PT tried to distance itself from the movement. In 2005, as revealed in e-mails from FARC leaders, the guerrilla was prevented from participating in the meeting that celebrated the 15th birthday of the São Paulo Forum, which President Lula attended.
In 2008, during the release of former Colombian Senator Ingrid Betancourt, Lula publicly condemned the guerrilla. "The big chance that the FARC have to one day rule Colombia is to believe in democracy, political activism. You play the democratic game as we did here. You do not win election abducting people," he said.
Taking into account the controversial logic that has been used in the Serra campaign, PSDB's leader in the Senate, Arthur Virgílio (Amazonas), was also linked to Colombian guerrillas. In 1999, Virgílio not only received the then representative of the FARC in Brazil, Hernán Ramirez, in his office but was also considered by the group as one of the main partners of the guerrilla in Brazil.
At the time, Virgilio was PSDB's secretary-general and Leader of the FHC government in Congress. That same year, Ramirez also visited the then governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Olívio Dutra (PT). One of the goals of the meetings was to open an office in Brasilia for the FARC. But the idea did not prosper. It only now returned to prosper, in PSDB's reckless speech.
OP speaking. Also in this campaign:
- Dilma is a terrorist for fighting the military dictatorship;
- The MST (Landless Workers' Movement) will invade more proprieties under Dilma;
- Dilma worships the devil, because she supports civil unions and decriminalization of abortion;
- Dilma isn't pretty enough.
FONTE (yes, it's translated, bitches. It was A LOT of work. Hope it makes enough sense :-p)
Last week of winter break, so I decided to post this while I still had time. Pretty easy to understand even if you don't know much about Brazilian politics. And it clearly is all about calling the opposition out on their bullshit, so not much about the other candidacies.