Reposted with permission from A Brazilian Operating in This Area
I have lived most of my life in a lower middle class neighborhood of São Paulo called Ipiranga. Technically, it is where Brazil was born in 1822, when a Portuguese prince declared our independence from Portugal (yes, I know that is pathetic). Ipiranga is a region that always votes conservative, but it was far from being a place of bigotry. In recent years it experienced a real estate bubble that brought foreigners and wealthy paulistas for the first time since the 1930s, when industries first set here. Some of those new neighbors aren’t rich, though. They are desperate Haitians.
About 20 of them crashed into an empty building 100 meters from where I live. The place belongs to São Paulo’s archdioceses and it was unused for decades. Still, the Haitians got no empathy from their new neighbors. At our local supermarket, I heard elderly clients say “these people” were here to form a mercenary army to keep our self-evident communist dictatorship. I heard neighbors make the same comment twice. Preemptively, I mentioned the stupidity of all this to my mother. I feared she’d be dragged into that nonsense. I never felt I had to do such a thing, but Brazil 2015 became a very, very stupid place.
Protesters in Porto Alegre use anticommunist rants… against a Catalonian independence flag
Chants like “Go to Cuba” have become trendy in protests, whenever someone that looks slightly leftist is around — a red shirt can do that trick. Lunatics mistakenly scream that Brazil’s Constitution would allow a military intervention since the current administration has links to the Petrobras scandal — although none of them are connecting to the commander-in-chief of those troops. Even neonazis have come out. Truth be said, those peculiar groups aren’t the majority in the protests, but they are often welcomed and rarely criticized openly enough for others to draw a line between demonstrators and wackos.
Part of the communist delirium started with Glenn Beck-like columnists and bloggers years ago. They were responding to a growing online community of government sponsored columnists and bloggers who, with a bit less tenacity, attacked mainstream media and the opposition. Since 2011, the meanness is mostly on the right, feeding itself from smears of the 2010 presidential campaign and social media. Some truth and a great deal of lies now become Facebook threads, Whatsapp messages and anonymous emails. The hoaxes are multiple: here are pictures of people President Dilma Rousseff killed during the dictatorship, take a look the scandal of a maid that wants her to pay alimony after they lived together, see how she faked her cancer…
Former President Lula and his disgraced chief of staff José Dirceu, who was condemned for corruption, were also targets of that stupidity. The first was accused of owning shares of the world’s largest meat processing plant in the world. Another hoax claimed he was making money out of a change in Brazil’s outlets (!!!). Old accusations came back and got a lot of attention, including one stating he lost one of his fingers on purpose in a sweat shop so he could get a pension. The latter was involved in so many accusations — some true, many untrue — that he personifies now the hatred towards his party.
Of course not all the idiocy belongs to right-wingers. A few days ago I heard a leftist say that protesters that recently took to the streets against President Dilma Rousseff should be punched down “like Trotskyists did to the fascists downtown São Paulo in 1934.” It is as if Brazil had not changed at all in 80 years. Others that are obsessed with the Worker’s Party (PT) say that corruption at Petrobras means nothing because you have to do what it takes to finance campaigns, keep alliances and remain in office. They often claim that corruption accusations are a plot of the opposition and mainstream media to overthrow Rousseff.
Continue reading at A Brazilian Operating in This Area…