A Diverse Country Turned Into a Disaster – an Un-Success Story: Brazil

A Diverse Country Turned Into a Disaster – an Un-Success Story: Brazil

Brazil is another melting pot in South America with an abundance of geography and a relatively short history. This country showed its potential in the 2000s and reached a prominent spot in the BRIC(S) Alliance, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. South Africa is in brackets because they joined later and their economy is not at their level. Brazil is incredibly rich in minerals in the Amazonian region, and there are gas fields near the shoreline. They could have been a success story in terms of environmental issues since they have the Earth’s largest remaining rainforest. Nowadays, headlines show that due to climate change and human behaviour, the forest was on fire. We all know how diverse (and therefore, valuable) the flora and fauna in Brazil is. The arrogance of the newly elected president, Jair Bolsonaro only obstructs the healing process, because he does not believe in climate change. Not believing in the issue means they are not committed to the world. We have to act local, think global and not the other way round—like what took place in Hungary in 2006. Brazil refused the international aid given by Germany and Norway to cover the damages done to the rainforest! They are on a different continent, but they are more committed to the environment and not “brainwashed” as the Hungarian President at the General Assembly said. In terms of diseases, it does not matter who is an immigrant and who is not, it doesn’t matter who votes for the left and who does not. What matters is making an effort. We are all global citizens. We are all part of the world. Who is more committed to humanity? If you are dedicated and make tons of effort, you can become a promising success story, like Brazil’s father, Portugal did. Or Austria, a pioneer in clean energy and recycling. Once again, efforts. I am not saying that everything is perfect in these countries, for sure they have downsides. Dear Brazil, do you want to keep your position as a potential superpower by saving the State of Amazonas? Your first time act should have been army intervention to help firefighters as soon as the first flames were identified. You only intervened after serious international pressure. This is very poor, especially if you are the commander-in-chief. You should not have been this arrogant to the nations around you, neither to the Earth. If the Amazonian rainforest burns down, the mining industry cannot continue, because it will drain the freshwater supplies as well, since some metals (like copper) need an abundance of fresh water to excavate. The soil is not suitable to grow plants because the amount of rain washes all nutrition away. It is worth noting here that Brazil is a breadbasket since they are leading the world in coffee production. They have extensive fields of coffee. They are in favour of Arabica coffee, which needs a lot of rain and shade as it cannot stand the hot weather. Where is the shade, if there are no trees? Rejecting international aid is very immature. This is the main reason why the biodiversity turned into an absolute disaster because the Amazonian rainforest appeared to be on fire. This is the most obvious sign of climate change.

But the turn towards a disastrous future started when the Trabalhadores (the Workers’ Party, a Brazilian social-democratic party) was in power, led by Lula Inácio da Silva and further on, Dilma Vana Rousseff. She was an ambitious leader because, with her leadership, Brazil hosted two important sporting events: the FIFA World Cup of 2014 and the Olympic Games of 2016. They showed that if they want, they can fulfil their potential. They had a flourishing economy in heavy industry (they have iron ore fields in Minas Gerais) and aluminium industry (Minas Gerais and São Paulo). Belo Horizonte is the heavy industrial capital of Brazil. Because of this, they have extreme potential in IT as well, as the above-mentioned city is the Silicon Valley of Brazil. Besides this, they are playing a prominent role in the South American automotive industry, as Daimler, Volkswagen and Ford built factories all around São Paulo. Therefore, this latter city is the automotive capital of Brazil. Ship and aviation industry is led by São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Everyone knows Embraer. This brand is Brazilian and prominent in manufacturing short-range planes. Therefore, everything was given to build a success story and later on, a superpower. However, corruption and bad public security put a stop to all those above. Why is the latter so bad in this country. I am sure everyone has heard of favelas, which are the poorest areas of big cities and also home to cocaine. The police are patrolling, but they are vulnerable to band corruption. These bands are fighting vigorously with heavy arms. The only way out of this poverty is quality education, or having extreme talent in football or other sports. Universities are pretty good in Brazil, but what about the basics? Yes, the same problem as in Hungary, underperforming in math and reading. Are we 100% sure that it is necessary to cram students with dry facts? Because of this, the difference in income will be visible on children. Therefore, it can be a good idea to introduce a uniform program. Uniforms do not take away or obstruct freedom. They rather unify children to act together. Therefore, we should not teach children what coordinate geometry is about. I learned about that. Have I ever had to use it? Questions in other areas also rise. Why do not we teach what we have to use later on? Such as analysing graphs (referring to my first articles) and making predictions? I am not sure whether it is a good idea to cram children with facts and sacrificing deep understanding. Our brain should pan for gold, rather than function as a sponge. If a kid asks a question, it does not necessarily mean he or she does not understand something! Never stop children from being inquisitive. Never talk back to them with replies like: “Have you read your textbook?” They just want to know what that thing is about because the wording of their textbook is vague. Teaching requires having a lot of patience. But if you are not patient and not understanding, you are not a teacher. However, in certain subjects, like math, you must cram everything in your mind and visualize geometry. Moreover, a teacher should acquire an enormous amount of knowledge and should require a lot in classes. My math teacher was excelling in math (she was a mathematician, not only a teacher). She did not do anything but bring the requirements of the Soviet Union. What does it mean? She could not accept the fact that you got an A from straight Cs or Ds. At that time, she launched a conversation with you and started to test you more often than others. The outcome of those conversations was: “See? You can do it if you want!” Yes, math is a cruel subject, but it is immune to misinterpretations. What does it mean? If you do not provide basic math education to everyone, their future will not be dark, even if there are pretty good universities. After all, you cannot build a house if you start from the top.

Public corruption is also a huge problem in Brazil. I am sure everyone knows that the former Brazilian president, Rousseff was involved in many scandals. Operation Car Wash has been linked to many government executives and giant Brazilian companies, namely Petrobras and Odebrecht. This scandal has been investigated in many other Latin American countries. The scandal started in 2008 when a businessman reported an attempt at money laundering through his company. A judge revealed that the launderers were linked to the state-owned oil company, Petrobras. Former executives of the company were detained and asked for evidence. They were sentenced less for collaborating. This detainment brought along several further arrests and the investigation extended worldwide. The construction company, Odebrecht was also involved in illegally paying for government officials allegiance. Their executive was sentenced to 19 years in prison for paying bribes to Petrobras. Later on, the former president, Lula da Silva was incarcerated for nine years. This meant the position of Dilma Rousseff weakened a lot because she was not collaborating with the authorities. She was accused of fiscal peddling during her campaigns, as these sums were not scrutinized and were late in being paid back. As it was revealed, millions of Brazilians demanded her impeachment. These demonstrations only affected the parliament in 2015, when they started proceedings, and Dilma had to leave her office in December 2015 and was replaced with her vice-president, Michel Temer, who was almost as muddy in corruption scandals as Dilma was. He was booed at when he opened the Olympic Games in Rio. This political tension and instability led to the win by the far-right politician, Jair Bolsonaro, who is very military-minded as a former army officer. He is extremely homophobic, as he said he would even kill his child if any of them declared they were homosexual. Can we make a distinction between Brazilians? Who is a real Brazilian, then? Brazil is a melting pot of hundreds of nations. Does it make sense to elect a nationalist politician as a president? Is it the answer to the problem? We know from history what it meant. A World War! Do we want a world war? Brazil is a big-big country. But they have a treasure, the precious Amazonia, which appeared to be on fire. This is not a joke, a treasure of the Earth is dying. If it is not treated immediately, the Earth will die. The rainforest is the key to the Brazilian economy. It affects the breadbasket status of the country. If the rainforest is on fire, slowly but surely the savannas will also catch fire, because of climate change. Then it eradicates the land’s flora and fauna. Dear Jair, for heaven’s sake. Do not pretend that this does not exist and such a belief can solve it all. It will not. You could only solve it by aiding your fire brigade with the army! Or ask the people to start volunteering for the fire brigade. It will ease the pain. Also, seek help from your neighbours, as they will also be affected. Surely, you cannot wish your country becomes a desert after flourishing with diversity? Conserve the treasure, conserve your economic status, and start showering your people with love. You could become a real superpower. You have everything required. Accept the aid from other countries, and do not throw it back just because “they are responsible for climate change”. For sure, Norway owns the majority of the North Sea gas and oil fields, still, they are very committed to the environment.

However, be more realistic when you bid as a host for the FIFA World Cup or the Olympic Games. These are very expensive and you must have a clear plan of what you want to do with the venues after the games. Are you sure that they will be used for anything later on? You should not play with the country’s money. These two events made the Brazilian economy stammer. Then it was revealed that construction of venues was severely hit by corruption and overpricing. Remember: the Sochi Winter Olympics were stolen. Every single venue was badly designed and overpriced. The Olympic Games is a nice concept, a nice idea, I support the idea of them. But please, do not organize them, if you cannot show a plan after the games. Of course, it is good to be ambitious, but do not talk too big. This leads nowhere. Venues have to be maintained in good condition because they have to attract people. That is why I am not quite sure whether Budapest could host the Olympic Games. It is a historical city, full of beauties, but considering the costs of organizing international competitions, are we 100% sure we have a definite plan after the games? It is better to act, rather than talk. So, dear Jair, do your part to stop the fire rekindling in the Amazonian region, and also you, dear reader, start thinking about your part. What can you do for the region?

– Gergely Lázár

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

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