Monday, October 27, 2014

The pernicious Foro politics

There were elections yesterday in Uruguay and Brasil, and friends of the Sao Paulo Forum have reasons to cheer. Not because they won but because their system of social division and class hatred prospers ensuring them meager but consistent electoral victories.  Let's look at Brasil.

It is clear that just as the case is in Venezuela, the "productive" states are pitted against the "assisted" states. And the trend becomes more severe as the electoral margin of victory narrows, Dilma being reelected with the narrowest margin in a couple of decades at least. In fact, even though she fails to get 52% nationally in some of the red states she gets over 70% (78.6%! in Maranhao), a feat that Aecio does not manage in any of his picks (evening out nation wide because he carries the most populous state with 64.3%).

I am not going to discuss Brazilian politics, a difficult subject in the best of times considering the multiplicity of parties and regional tendencies. But the map is clear: in the last 4 years Dilma's party, PT (Foro) has increased its absolute grip on the poor North East while the productive South sees its pro market forces progress, even in Rio and Brasilia. It would be easy to claim for a Dilma/Lula supporter that the North East received finally the help it needed. And it is true that social programs in Brazil are better conceived than those of Venezuela which are strictly along electoral lines. But it is also true that Dilma allowed for the client nature of these programs to develop and that she used that as a shameful electoral blackmail. Thus Brazil just lived through its most bitter, most unfair electoral campaign. And we can only be afraid that the trend will continue in 4 years from now.

And thus operate the supporters and associates of the Foro: clientele assistance programs to secure a chunk of the electorate through fear and blackmail. We see its paroxysm in Venezuela where the Cubans went gung-ho through Chavez and easy oil money (though even there the margins have narrowed while country division increased). Fortunately for the inhabitants of other countries who need to work for a living the trend has not been as damaging yet. But it is there, do not be fooled. What is already a fact is that in some of these countries (Venezuela, Brasil, Argentina) the political division has been dramatically exacerbated. That exacerbation is the main tool in these countries for the left to retain office though increasingly pseudo electoral processes while slowly but surely the rule of law is weakened. Other countries for local reasons do not reach the polarization of the above countries (Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay) but the trend is there. And in Central America it has started with Nicaragua, Honduras and Salvador.

Unfortunately I do not see that trend breaking until civil war starts in one of these countries, making the other societies react.

As for Dilma, I do not believe a word she said last night. Bad first terms never lead to better second terms. Her meager victory, based on blackmail and dirty politics, can only exacerbate her character flaws. In a fair election she would have been ousted and she knows that.

PS: for the record, before anyone accuses me of ignorance. There are productive pockets in the Nordeste and there assisted areas in the South. Yet, look at the results in Brazil main cities and state capitals and the picture is even worse than the national map!!!!!

PS2: The results and the divide were already in sight.


  1. Boludo Tejano5:50 PM

    Good article. Somewhere in the last week- but I cannot currently locate it- there was an article which had two maps which showed the correlation of states with the highest amount of welfare payments to Dilma support. Of course, as the Northeast and Amazon are the poorest parts of the country, and your map shows that they went for Dilma, the same is implied.

    You compare Brazil and Venezuela with the phenomena of government goodies translating into votes.. Who do the poor vote for in the US? Democrats. Lest you accuse me of being elitist, I would add that I am far from rich.

    1. Of course, everywhere politicians try to buy votes!

      But nowhere does it reach proportions we see these days in Venezuela or Brazil. The thing is that in more evolved countries you have mechanisms that limit that type of crass populism. For example the US has a federal nature that limits in scale what the Federal government can do, amen of local variation of the balanced budget wishes and so on. The efficiency of these mechanism can be questioned but the US is far from being the basket case that Venezuela has become.

    2. I hear you BT, and while the US is not Vzla, we are definitely in the same path. Cellphones and loans for votes, huge numbers in the welfare roll, politicized federal judges reverting the votes of the majorities, etc, etc...yeah, we are heading that way. The socialism of the 21st century they call it. While the final result may not be the hell Vzla is in, we will end up with a country we won't be able to recognize.
      The pattern is there for those willing to look, they move slowly first, creating more poor and closing any avenue for the poor to improve their lot in life, so their only choice becomes the "state". They take down the institutions, in particular the impartiality of the judicial system. Ignore/encourage crime, control elections, in the end we are all Venezuela.

    3. Anonymous4:41 PM

      Orlando what are you smoking, the democrats have always leaned to the left and the Republicans to the right. They are behaving as they always have and your ignorance to what has happened in Venezuela to act like same is happening in USA is no better then the ignorance of the Venezuelans who support Maduro. The USA is in a mess and it took the hard work of the Republicans and democrats to get it there. Reality is a handful of rich and powerful people likely pull the strings in both countries, as they do financing wars everywhere. The issue that seems to be blind to so many people in Venezuela is that the so called socialists are the farthest thing from being socialist. They are pure capitalists taking from all the people and the country to benefit themselves and friends. I'm Canadian and pure card holding Conservative. Own my own businesses and the farthest thing from a socialist. Politicians have used socialism and capitalism terms to win votes, neither seem to care about the people or the country.

      Canadian looking in

  2. Milonga6:46 PM

    Thought it us a goor article too.
    I was watching things develop in Brazil and having a great deja vu. Artists and footballers, even Marina Silva supporting Aecio. Thousands of people in the street wearing the yellow, green and blue instead of the red. In Sao Paulo an act united 10,000 thousand Aecio supporters and next day the PT only manage to reunite 300. Friends of mine that prefer to pay the fine instead of voting went out to vote for Aecio as a "punishment" to PT corruption, etc. When results came out (remember, all electronic, many machines broke and had to be substituted, etc) with such a tiny difference pro Dilma I wanted to die. It happened all over again, I thought! The difference in Brazil is that the Congress is not 100% in the hands of the ruling party. And opposition came out stronger. Dilma won but they lost governorships all around. They don't have an easy 5 next years. Neither does the Broad Front in Uruguay, elected due to mass mobilization by the Unions, 7 leaders of several branches were elected as officials - senators and representatives. But with prices of commodities coming down and down, it will not be easy to maintain the "feast" that has been going on in Latin America. Everyone knows that Socialism ends when you run off of other people's money...

  3. Stuart8:20 PM

    Revealing piece. Thanks!

  4. Charly8:39 PM

    Thirty five year ago, Brazilians used to tell me " Brazil is a country for the future and it will remain like that for a long time". Prescient? You bet.

  5. Anonymous3:00 PM


  6. Anonymous11:22 PM

    Wait until the Brazilians have to wait in line for 3 hours to buy toilet paper. They will be torn apart by the same class and ethnic strife that has ruined Venezuela if they continue this stupid infatuation with populist leftist leaders.

  7. I have been following your writings for many years, not with approval of your philosophy, but because it was steady.
    Now please allow me to recommend a book to you and your readers: Human Action by Ludwig Von Mises.
    Further, to the point let me bring up the current rage in the US Dr Gruber, the architect of 0bamacare, of which the fallout and unintended consequences continue to cascade.

    Let us see how Americans respond to this.

    But back to you, sir, and your continuing misconceptions in analysis. Until you (the Venezuelan people, and especially you, sir) abandon this socialist, communist mentality and embrace freedom and personal responsibility and, by all means, voluntary charity to the nth degree, (as America was envisioned in its founding), Venezuela will not be on the path to recovery or even wising up in any manner.

    As the book which I referred to above proves beyond any doubt to any sentient literate intellect that all of those ideologies-socialism and communism and fascism and their ilk are totally based upon lies. AND as the current Dr Gruber fiasco is a perfect analogy and which follows the Saul Alinsky rules and the dastardly Cloward Piven strategy is another example .
    None of those ideologies can be sustained or prevail.

    We will continue to observe what happens in Venezuela and also the US. Brazil is obvious.
    Argintina also.


Comments policy:

1) Comments are moderated after the sixth day of publication. It may take up to a day or two for your note to appear then.

2) Your post will appear if you follow the basic polite rules of discourse. I will be ruthless in erasing, as well as those who replied to any off rule comment.