Our new correspondent in Brazil: Corruption begets corruption

Brazil, potentially a giant due to its vast reserves of natural resources, was described by writer Jorge Amado with the following words: “Brazil was, is and will always be the promise of tomorrow”.

This is a country where 5 % of the population live a life of luxury, with salaries in the region of 1,500 plus USD per month while 40% live in poverty, with 1 or 2 minimum salaries (75 or 150 USD per month). The 5% own 95% percent of the country’s land and mineral riches. In an attempt to combat this disease, and to end the rampant corruption which perpetuates the status quo, keeping a restricted elite clique at the top, Brazil’s Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista) has tried to set up a Parliamentary Inquiry Commission to examine cases of corruption and begin a process of transparency.

However, Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, evidently worried about what this commission would find, pulled strings in Parliament and managed to obtain the withdrawal of 20 signatures which were necessary for the commission to be set up.

Labour Party spokesperson Aloizio Mercadante claimed that these withdrawals were obtained in return for sums of cash.

Another Labour Party member of Parliament discovered that the Brazilian government has spent more money from its funds in the last four days than it spent in the last four months, (18 million USD as opposed to 7 million from January to April).

It has been estimated by the IBOPE research group that corruption in Brazil costs each of its 150 million inhabitants 6,000 USD per annum in lost services.

This is a scandalous attempt by the ruling elite to hold on to their benefits at the expense of the oppressed majority, who own nothing. Until there is a serious redistribution of wealth in Brazil, the country will continue to generate a self-perpetuating inertia, which serves only to keep the corrupt in power and hold down the rest of the population.


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