Brazil: An Example of How Social Populism Can Damage A Great Country

Editor’s Note: The following editorial was written by Diego Castro, a Brazilian leader and President of the Latin American Organization Unit. 

The country of Brazil has recently been through some of the most difficult moments of its democratic history. The country that has always been viewed as a benchmark for Latinos, has a record of mistrust and backwardness on the continent, peaking between 2014 and 2016.

An unimaginable political crisis has plagued the country, with disastrous consequences on the social field as well as the economy.

Brazilian policies have been routinely inspired by the globalist idea of leftist social voluntarism.  Even more so by the Bolivarian socialist model of “being”. Patterned on the continent by Hugo Chavez, the Workers Party took power in 2003 (with Lula da Silva as the practice of all populists).  They benefited from liberal economic policies by using them as their great guard to execute deceptive so-called “social programs.”  This in fact proved to be a great platform for political marketing.

A government that is genuinely concerned about withdrawing people from the poverty line would not only work, but also celebrate the reduction in the number of people assisted by its welfare policies. This would prove that the target is the fight against poverty. But Chavez was different. He commemorated more and more the enlargement of said social programs.  He used this growing number of dependents as his “great trophy”

The populist intention is completely corrupt. The idea is not to reduce poverty, but to collectivize it. This way, all are on the same level with have no opportunity for economic growth and always depend on the state. The state, through its charismatic and sovereign political leaders, will provide the sustenance and destiny of its people.

The continuation of the political project of Lula came with the election of his successor Dilma Roussef, who led the country to the abyss with a catastrophic, cyclical and widespread crisis. The economy consequently lagged because of irrational public spending and a hostility towards private enterprise.

The country had a historical deficit of the equivalent of $50 Billion in US dollars (or 2.4% of Gross Domestic Product). If that wasn’t enough, the country’s major state-owned company, PETROBRAS, was also used as the main source of support for (and corruption of) the then political elite.

The result was a record 12 million unemployed people, inflation of 11.2%, unbridled public debt, cutbacks in social programs, health investments and worse Investments that were still used as a campaign slogan in the second term. In addition, the country’s main Economic Development Bank – BNDES – was politically used, even in a hidden way, to finance Latin dictatorships and other despots, even outside of the continent.

All of this resulted in a political instability that, combined with gigantic popular dissatisfaction, resulted in the Brazilian Congress (under the supervision of the Judiciary) dismissing the President for fiscal crime, using public money irresponsibly and obscurely to hide the country’s true fiscal situation.

Socialists are no longer in power, but the country will continue to reap the results of populist failure for a long time. The results of the Brazilian experiment are proof that responsibility, power and governmental management do not mix well with madness, megalomania and regression.

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