Na metade de seus 100 primeiros dias de governo, reconheço finalmente que DILMA não é LULA e que o governo está comportando-se de maneira diferente e para melhor. Sei que se trata do início, mas estou confiante que dias melhores virão. Não quero acreditar que dilma piores virão... Para os meus quase dois (milhões de) exigentes leitores, abaixo matéria da THE ECONOMIST desta semana sobre este início de governo da Presidente DILMA.
DILMA ROUSSEFF won Brazil’s election last year less because of her own qualities than because her hugely popular predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, urged the voters to choose her. Since she had never before held elected office, nobody could be sure what kind of president she would turn out to be. Some Brazilians (and this newspaper, which endorsed her opponent) worried that she might be a more rigidly ideological left-winger than the pragmatic Lula. The evidence of her first six weeks in office is reassuring.
Under Lula, Brazil saw faster growth, impressive social progress but little or no reform of burdensome taxes and red tape. Abroad, an activist foreign policy brought new clout and new criticism. Ms Rousseff came to power on a platform of continuity. But she has also inherited an overheating economy, with inflation revving up and industrialists screaming about the strength of the real. She knows that she will be judged in part on whether Brazil’s airports, stadiums and transport are ready in time for the 2014 football World Cup.
Ms Rousseff is a very different person from Lula. Lacking his star quality, she has shunned the limelight. But what she has so far said and done has been clear and welcome. She has scotched notions that she would be soft on inflation. Her team has quickly signalled the need for some budget austerity after Lula’s last two spendthrift years. She rightly wants to focus social policy on eliminating extreme poverty (which still afflicts about one Brazilian in ten), while improving health care and schooling. And she is right, too, to want to seek tax and political reforms, even though those prizes eluded both Lula and his predecessor, Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
The most immediate change has been in the tone of foreign policy. Lula had a penchant for embracing dictators, from Cuba’s Fidel Castro to Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Brazil’s decision to vote against the UN resolution tightening sanctions against Iran’s nuclear programme was particularly ill-judged and did nothing to advance its claim to a permanent Security Council seat. In contrast, Ms Rousseff has criticised repression in Iran, stressed her commitment to human rights and said she wants to “deepen” ties with theUnited States. This amounts to a deft rebalancing of policy without detracting from Brazil’s case for reform of global governance.
But Brazilians will judge her on the economy. Can she sustain faster growth without sacrificing economic stability? Here the task is not easy. This week she won an important battle on the minimum wage: she wants to restrict its rise, because it has expensive knock-on effects on pensions. Her government’s plan to seek cuts of 50 billion reais ($30 billion) in the inflated budget may be both insufficient and hard to implement. But at least she is battling on the right side.
The important thing is that Ms Rousseff should see these tussles as the first round in a lengthy campaign to rationalise a baroque state and strip away the handicaps that hinder Brazilian firms from competing. The signs are good. Rather than horse-trade senior jobs in state companies and agencies with her allies in Congress, she wants to appoint the best people. The government hints that it will prise the airports from the dead hand of the air force and bring in private investment. Brazil’s booming capital markets are ready to help.
Ms Rousseff clearly intends to be an efficient administrator. What the next few months will show is whether she also has the political skills to extract reform from her large but voracious coalition in Congress. She has the makings of a good president. But the real tests are yet to come.