EYEWITNESS: Change…

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…in Brazil

Most Guyanese probably don’t even realise that the giant on our southern border – Brazil – just had a change of government that’s gonna affect us significantly. Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, is a former army captain who’s the exact opposite of that other army officer who became a South American president. Naah! Not David Granger, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

If Chavez was the fiery socialist who smelt a whiff of “sulphur” – an allusion to the Devil — in the presence of Republican US President George Bush, then he would’ve smelled a volcano of that stuff from hell when Bolsonaro’s around!! The labels “left” and “right” came out of the Cold War between Communist USSR and Capitalist USA, but they now represent constellations of values instead of who runs the economy.

They now signal a person’s stand on a host of social issues. Bolsonaro, for instance, abhors gays, coloureds/blacks and environmentalism. He would “privatise” the Amazon forest and open it up for business. To heck with the “peanuts” his country gets for maintaining trees as “carbon sinks” to allow the developed nations to keep on polluting.

But his rise from obscurity is — as is also the case in Venezuela — due as much to the missteps of the leftists who governed Brazil, starting with the charismatic Lula in 2002. With a tremendous amount of popular goodwill behind him, Lula started out like a house on fire. Brazil surpassed Britain as the 5th largest economy in the world, and was looked at to provide a possible new fulcrum of power in the western hemisphere against the US. But the rot of corruption set in, inevitably slowing down the economy and dashing the inflated hopes of Brazilians.

Enter Bolsonaro. Just as Trump did up north, he vented the anger of Brazilians who consider themselves the backbone of the country, and were not enthused about the “liberal” values that had become dominant. Nostalgia for the “good old days” of the military dictatorship of the sixties, when there was “order” and “stability,” gripped the old oligarchy and the upper strata.

Bolsonaro publicly approved of the torture used in those days to keep dissidents like Rousseff in line.

But how will all of this affect us? For one, Brazil will now take a hard line against Venezuela — which has always been an irritant to Brazil — for their pretentions as the pre-eminent Latin American power. This should bolster our stand on our border rights with Venezuela. Bolsonaro will definitely dam the river of Venezuelans pouring into Brazil…and for sure we may see some more of them coming here.

As we advised before, our military-origin President should move the GDF to our western borders pronto!

 …the script

The AFC are in panic mode now that it’s clear they’re being dumped into the dustbin of history. Addressing the PNC party faithful in the Stabroek Market Square, new party Chairman Volda Lawrence tore into them even more viciously than to their supposed arch foe the PPP.

This should remind party leaders like Ramjattan and Nagamootoo that betrayers are held in contempt, especially by the folks to whom they sold their souls. And betrayers will never be trusted!!

Since your Eyewitness only reads the Chronic on line, he missed Nagamootoo’s column, since it wasn’t highlighted in the list of “featured” columns. He’s now read a report on it in the Chronic (slow news day?), in which Nagamootoo complains about the PPP holding a meeting nearby to his in Whim…and leaving his to speak to a few stragglers.

But he told a lie that must be corrected: that he was fired as PPP Local Government Minister when Cheddi was out. Not so. Only the President can fire a Minister!

…the messenger

The Chinese business community was lectured on Guyana’s labour laws by the Junior Minister responsible for the Department of Labour in the Ministry of Social Protection. Implying they didn’t understand English, he stressed the need to have the laws interpreted for them.

Has he had them interpreted for himself?

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