What future for Brazil as Dilma Rousseff returns to power?

Video transcript of a discussion between Professor Joseph S. Tulchin (JT) and Professor Jose Augusto Guilhon Albuquerque (JAGA)

JT:

We’re talking today with Professor Jose Augusto Guilhon Albuquerque who is Professor at the University of Sao Paulo, and also a Visiting Fellow at Campinas University, Brazil. Jose Augusto, thank you very much for spending time with us. We’re interested in your opinion about the results of the recent presidential elections in Brazil. How do you see Dilma Rousseff’s second term unfolding? What do you anticipate?

JAGA:

Well I don’t think that we can expect any kind of relevant change in the economy, in economic policy. She’s not going to change because she doesn’t think there is any kind of imbalance in the economy. Every flaw comes from external factors. And the day after her election, she didn’t say that she was going to take a relevant decision in this field.

More that that, she said she would make some regional adjustments, locally, specific adjustments. Probably more created for customers of this kind of thing.

So, no economic changes in Brazil, no expected changes in the economic policy.

JT:

What do you think about the slowing economy? Do you think she has any policy plans for improving growth in Brazil?

JAGA:

Look, what all the economists say at this point is that she should have to rebalance the economy, not to base it on customer’s demands but to base it on new investments. There is no money for this.

So, either she changes her vision of Brazil’s economy as something that should be based on domestic markets and domestic production.

JT:

So you’re not looking for any great changes from a new Dilma Rousseff government or any quick fix to the economic stagnation in Brazil?

JAGA:

No. No one is.

JT:

Much of the press in the United States and Europe analysing the elections, spoke about polarisation in the elections. That’s a strong term. What is your view? Do you see the country becoming polarised?

JAGA:

Look, last year there was very widespread dissatisfied public in general. They went to the streets protesting against the government, against all kinds of authority. But it was like a bubble, it didn’t go ahead.

But millions and millions of people have shown that they are very dissatisfied with the whole situation. But this thinking was not expressed in the elections in terms of one or the other candidates.

But in a sense I think that Aecio Neves (the opposition leader) was favoured by this kind of sentiment in all the positions, all the centre, in the south and south-east of Brazil against the north and north-east were wanting to get rid of PT (the ruling party of Brazil).

They say, the state, in their hands they can change society. They say that very openly. And its left wing, they should be much closer to Bolivia, Venezuela and perhaps Argentina that they are. And the society as a whole doesn’t agree with external policy and also with economic policy.

JT:

So do you see any possibility in the near future, in the next four years, of the opposition coming together, consolidating to create a platform with which to oppose the PT?

JAGA:

Well, I don’t expect so much because the opposition now is ready to resist immediately to her very aggressively. They took legislative measure that goes against one presidential decree, creating a sort of general popular consul that would exist in every public service in Brazil, ministers in the congress, etc. Sort of ‘Soviet’, if you like.

But it was stopped by the congress the day after the election.

JT:

So, she’s not able to convert her re-election into a lever of power over the government yet, so we’ll see what happens.