With an economy slightly affected by the international crisis in 2009, and the hosting of international events such as the Football World Cup in 2014 and Summer Olympics in 2016, Brazil has become the country of the hour. The longing for international recognition as a global leader is not new and has been the final goal of pretty much every foreign policy designed by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the past decade. I call this “the under development complex”, a phenomena observed in many developing countries with fast economic growth who are in that transitional phase into becoming a developed country. There is a need for international recognition and every decision made has this goal in mind (for good or bad).
The problem is we want to be recognized for something we are not. Brazil is very far from becoming a developed country, simply because development does not mean positive macroeconomic indicators alone. We have failed public education and health system, infrastructure is deficient, we lack strong human rights and environmental laws and our political institutions are swimming in corruption. With so many problems, most of them coming down to corruption, it is impressive how we still vote for the politicians who are involved in all sorts of scandals.
When I see news like the election of Renan Calheiros, a man who is being investigated for fraud by the Supreme Court, as president of the Senate I feel like I am being laughed at. I think they all think of us voters as idiots who are their source of entertainment and income. The latest joke was the election of Marco Feliciano as President of the Human Rights and Minorities Commission. Feliciano is a Minister of one of the Protestant Churches in Brazil and is known by his racists and homophobes comments in many occasions. As a human being I feel outraged about this and as a Brazilian I feel ashamed.
What I fail to understand is how can a homophobe and racist politician become president of the Human Rights and Minorities Commission? I also fail to understand how could Blairo Maggi, a man who won the Golden Chainsaw Award by Greenpeace in 2005, be the President of the National Environment Commission. Again, I feel like I am being laughed at and that politics are being mocked.
About two years ago, in Uganda, an Anti-Homosexual Bill was proposed to the national senate, which included death penalty for homosexuals in the country. About a week ago the United States was voting to approve a law on equal marriage rights. Sadly, I feel like we are closer to Uganda in that matter. Even sadder, is that I think: at least this guy is not racist like our beloved president of the Human Rights and Minorities Commission.
These things do not happen in a serious country. We like to brag to the world that we are a global leader, an international power, and a developed country, but in truth we are still a crawling baby when it comes to human rights, corruption, environment, infrastructure, education, health services and many other social factors.