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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Brazil's Lady in Her Labyrinth

By Beatrice E. Rangel

Rudyard Kipling counseled his followers to treat success and failure as impostors, given that neither was permanent.

President Rousseff's is probably heeding such advise when she decided to fight for her political survival.

Few leaders have experienced glory and decay in such short time span and even fewer are presented with the dark outcome threatening Rousseff and her party PT, the Workers' Party.

Indeed, should president Rousseff be impeached, she will exit with PT as her companion in misfortune.

To public dismay, the old guardian of virtue while in opposition turned into a gang leader in government.

Members of PT under arrest comprise 5 top ranking leaders -- including former Chief of Staff to President Lula, Jose Dirceu.

And while this degree of corruption is not PT's exclusive monopoly given that 3/5 of congress members are either investigated or indicted for bribery, the government party spent the better part of its political life signaling rivals as graft depositories.

The public is thus less inclined to condone PT's misbehavior.

The fight will thus be harsh, ruthless and probably destructive both for PT as well as for Brazilian short term political stability.

In the end, this face-off will be the preamble for a major institutional restructuring that will strengthen Brazilian democracy and project its economic might. This creative destruction was in the makings when Brazil chose to attempt to become the world's 5th economy.

Flashing back to the times preceding PT rule, Brazil's current dilemmas can be traced to Fernando Henrique Cardoso's successful economic policies that forced the country to leave a comfortable 19th century protective cocoon and jump into the competitive waters of globalization.

Unknown pressures came to bear on two fronts: competition and development of information capabilities.

Competition forced Brazilian companies to accelerate their foreign forays while improving management to defend the national turf against foreign newcomers.

Information began to slowly but surely tear the veil of cronyism covering relations between government and the business community.

Soon Brazilians began to see how poorly managed public resources were and how enriching government posts were for politicians.

And while civic society became stronger and more watchful, political and business leaders behaved as if they were still protected by a veil of opacity hiding their corporatist behavior.

But as the country developed a web of regulatory agencies staffed with young professionals trained in universities abroad, unforeseen by Brazilian elites, checks and balances began to take ground.

The upcoming clash was written on the wall and it took place when Petrobras -- country's economic crown jewel, deemed to be one the competitive pillars -- fell prey to a corruption scandal involving graft, money laundering and theft.

The Pandora's Box opened to level the moral authority of every single institution, notably political parties which had become influence brokers rather that ideologically driven institutions.

And this is what makes the PT predicament so ugly. For the better part of its history, PT was the working class' party held together by ideology and not by graft.

Current discontent will not wither away without a leadership change for many reasons.

First is the lack of trust that the powers that be in Brazil have of President Rousseff's capacity to stabilize the economy.

Then comes the degree of public fury with leadership and third the grounded belief from all levels of Brazilian society that in order to revive the economy, PT sponsored demand building policies need to be supplanted by supply side economics.

Under such circumstances, Brazil has entered a tumultuous phase of political change, starting with placing a new tenant at the Alborada.

This phase will probably last until October when impeachment proceedings will end in the Senate.

The starting point being May 15th when the lower house of congress will vote for or against impeachment. Should 342 of the 513 deputies approve, the impeachment process would move to the senate and Rousseff would be suspended for 180 days while Brazil's vice-president, Michel Temer - leader of the PMDB - would become interim head of state.

As of April 2nd, the government has been unable to secure the support of the 171 deputies needed to block to impeachment proceedings.

A Temer administration would be national salvation caretaker, as he would be supported by virtually all political forces -- it will be a transitional government and so will have a narrow margin for error.

His administration will see major changes in the political landscape including the potential obliteration of PT and many small parties and the emergence of two national parties that would bring stability and long term policy-making to the country. Another fundamental change will be the emergence of the judiciary as a true balancing power to the executive, a development that is badly needed not only in Brazil but throughout Latin America.

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.

Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet series

Beatrice Rangel: A Skipped Journey, a Reaffirmation and a Clearing of Path in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: The Demise of Civility in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Americas from Boutros Boutros-Ghali to Ban Ki Moon

Beatrice Rangel: The Pope's Difficult Stopover in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Farewell to The “Diplomacy of Reason”

Beatrice Rangel: 2 Diseases in Latin America -- Different Prescriptions, Very Different Outcomes

Beatrice Rangel: On Health Alerts and the Long Arm of Justice in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: When Crime Meets Glory

Beatrice Rangel: Playing Hansel and Gretel in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Good News/Bad News Starts The Monkey Leap Year

Beatrice Rangel: The Gifts of Christmas!!!!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Crying Wolf in Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: A 21st Century Tale of Two Cities

Beatrice Rangel: Are the Americas Ready for President Trump?

Beatrice Rangel: On Predictions of War & Global Confusion

Beatrice Rangel: Paris and the Return of Fear

Beatrice Rangel: Marijuana & Latin America's Next Trade Corridor

Beatrice Rangel: Of Burning Airplanes & Argentinean Tsunamis

Beatrice Rangel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: Buena Vista's Magic Covers the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Pride and Perjury in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Trompe L’oeils Proliferate in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: The Economic Consequences of Peace in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Colombia, the FARC & the Makings of Gangland in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: When Extreme Weather Meets Extreme Politics Calamities are Bound to Happen

Beatrice Rangel: When Ladies Hit 70

Beatrice Rangel: About Uninformed Elites and Gullible Leaders

Beatrice Rangel: On US-Engineered Soft Landings in Cuba and Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: On the Many Ways Cecil Matters

Beatrice Rangel: Blue Moons Lead to Extraordinary Happenings in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: On Why Embassy Openings Do Not Necessarily Herald Different Policies

Beatrice Rangel: When Jupiter meets Venus

Beatrice Rangel: When Markets and Manners Crash

Beatrice Rangel: From Grexit to Exit, Contagion is in the Air

Beatrice Rangel: An Infuriated God & An Environmental Crusader Mark the Summer Solstice

Beatrice Rangel: Between Ionesco & the Falklands Syndrome

Beatrice Rangel: The Ugly Americas

Beatrice Rangel: How FIFA Corrupted the Beautiful Game in the Americas and World

Beatrice Rangel: Could the US RICO Act Be Applied to Latin America?

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Commodities for Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The End of the Chinese Free Lunch in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Crooked Twig of Democracy in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Of a White Knight for Three Latin American Ladies in Distress

Beatrice Rangel: Withdrawal Symptoms?

Beatrice Rangel: The Un-Mannered Summit

Beatrice Rangel: Easter Miracles in Latin America and the World

Beatrice Rangel: Two Islands, Two Legacies & One Challenge - Modernity

Beatrice Rangel: Killing Me Softly -- the Obama Administration’s Legacy in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Upcoming Dynasties and Exhausted Ideas in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Thunderous Silences, Quiet Noises and Flash Backs in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox

Beatrice Rangel: Of Sweet Deals, Sugar Daddies, Direct Mail & Obama’s Care

Beatrice Rangel: Of Latin American Singing Birds, Femme Fatales & Empty Shelves

Beatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters

Beatrice Rangel: Holy Haberdashery!!! Is Fire Building Under the Surface in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???

Beatrice Rangel: Pope Francis Looks at the Americas In His Christmas Remarks

Beatrice Rangel: The Paint Brush Hanging from the Wall in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: An Eerily Familiar Week in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Tale of Two Walls

Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE

Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!

Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Communism from China to Cuba Finds Corruption!!!

Beatrice Rangel: From Rio to Hong Kong Discontent Taps the East to Find a New Way

Beatrice Rangel: Will Latin America Miss the Broadband Development Target?

Beatrice Rangel: Kissinger’s World Order and Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Third Attempt -- Will Modernity Prevail in Latin America?

Rangel: While US is Away, Latin America Rethinks Development Paths

Rangel: In the Midst of Riots, a Star is Born in Brazil

Rangel: In Mexico Cinderella Gets to the Ball while Colombia Gets a Chance at Peace


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