Thursday, October 7, 2010

Elections in Brazil, a Mess in Ecuador

As BBC Brasil observed today, the presidential election has divided the country. Roughly half of all Brazilians endorse Dilma Rousseff’s plans to continue Lula’s policies, while the other half endorse Jose Serra’s proposal to introduce strong market regulations. The skepticism about Rousseff’s candidacy--in Brazil and abroad--centers on the prospect of maintaining continuity with a different face. In less than a month, the results of a run-off ballot will determine the winner. And so both candidates are currently wooing Marina Silva’s voters, 19 percent of the Brazilian electorate.

If I were Brazilian, my vote would go to Serra because electing Rousseff would be tantamount to reelecting Lula Da Silva. A Rousseff government could even resemble the current situation in Russia, where Putin seems to be pulling the strings of a puppet president. Can Brazilians really know for sure whether Rousseff would be the puppet or the puppeteer? With Serra, by contrast, the answer is clear.

The outcome of the presidential election is important because Brazil still needs to solidify its market economy. The implementation of sound economic policies, which would help ensure a well-regulated market, are needed in order for Brazil to show it’s serious about becoming a hegemon in the region and increasing its influence in the international arena. The economic policies pursued by Lula were, more or less, an extension of the policies of his predecessor, Henrique Cardoso. And those policies were optimal for the times, giving good results--reducing poverty, for example, and improving education and literacy rates. However, I believe Serra has made a compelling case for following the same economic recipes but with some important new ingredients, including an improved financial regulatory scheme.

Yet most Brazilians are not primarily focused on economic issues in this election. Instead, the voters are divided based largely on questions of political style and the personalities of the candidates. In the end, Marina Silva’s voters will make the difference on October 31st.

Meanwhile in Ecuador . . . what a mess!! Or should I say, the mess continues. I wonder whether Ecuadorians have really grasped the concept of democracy or the consequences of military action taken against their own democratically elected government. Ousting Rafael Correa would not have solved Ecuador’s internal problems. What’s so sad is that it’s the indigenous population that suffers most due to the ineptitude of both the left and the right. Don’t be surprised if a candidate with an indigenous background emerges as a viable candidate in the next presidential campaign. Such a candidate could make a huge difference, simply by appealing to the solidarity of his or her fellow indigenous people.

1 comment:

  1. Your posts are very insightful and well-formulated.