“Number of people using internet more than doubles in last four years (118%)” “Income goes up by 20% over the last five years” “The country now has more houses with washing machines”
These were a few of today’s not-to-be-missed headlines in Brazil’s most respected newspaper, Folha de São Paulo. With the presidential election less than one month away, this news would appear to be a thinly veiled attempt to laud Lula’s time in office and, by association, his chosen candidate, Dilma Rousseff. Yet no… and yes… it so happens that the government-run Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics has just released its 2009 household survey, nicely timed to coincide with the pre-election race.
Well, it’s not looking good for Rousseff’s opposition, and with little wonder. It seems that the media just can’t find ways to be critical of Rousseff or Lula these days beyond airing PSDB accusations. It also appears that the Rouseff and the PT-PMDB electoral coalition have the clear money advantage. Folha reports today that PT candidates for legislative deputy have raised more than 80 percent what they did in 2006. By comparison, Jose Serra’s PSDB candidates have raised only 20 percent more than in 2006. This could mean of number things. First, the election is more contested than it was in 2006. Second, and somewhat contradictorily, the PT is the clear favorite and thus big financiers are putting their money on the winning horse. I don’t even want to speculate on other possibilities.
Let’s just hope for a closer race and a little more balanced coverage. We haven’t heard anything about Dilma Rousseff’s health, even despite her recent bout with lukemia; and what’s even scarier is that her vice presidential running mate, Michel Temer, is receiving little if any publicity. What if Brazil ends up with Temer as a president, as it had the misfortune to do when Tancredo Neves death resulted in the pork-barrelling José Sarney as president? Do Brazilians know who Michel Temer is anyways?