Published On: Tue, Apr 24th, 2018

Brazil: Observing a sad unanimity

Carlo Barbieri

During a recent trip to Brazil, we spent considerable time speaking with many of our friends and with new acquaintances from various social levels. All these people are involved in a variety of diverse activities.

After a while, we noticed that a number of these folks shared opinions that we have rarely encountered before among Brazilian citizens.

Practically everyone we met said they would like to leave Brazil.

We came across such a sad state of unanimity, a surprising and unsettling development. Even more amazing was the fact that this desire to exit the country seems rooted in one emotion; insecurity, and its various manifestations such as:

  • Public insecurity;
  • Institutional insecurity;
  • Political insecurity;
  • Insecurity regarding the economic future;
  • Insecurity with regard to the future of their children and grandchildren.

We discovered there is a general mood of doubt and distrust among the three powers of the republic.

The Executive had been discredited for more than 15 years. The perception among citizens is that the gang of leeches, corrupt and incompetent, installed in the public administration since 2003, is still there today – and as untrustworthy as ever.

“Directed” competitions have increased the number of officially appointed, non-proficient employees. As a result of that, the hard-working men and women whose careers have been stifled by these “new,” non-productive workers obviously feel the hurt and harm inflicted upon them.

The quality of services has worsened further. The former system of meritocracy – government by people chosen on the basis of their ability – has been done away with, and recognition of excellent performance by people who have done good things while serving their country has been wiped out.

Because of this recognition vacuum, public companies have become instruments of fundraising for the friends of power, with open sleaze rampant. Such sleaze led the majority to its destruction, including the jewel of the crown, Petrobras, the massive petroleum firm headquartered in Rio de Janeiro. The company, in 2014, was involved in the largest corruption scandal in the history of Brazil. Millions protested across the nation and a former Brazilian president was imprisoned on charges found during the investigation.

The legislature has opted to serve the executive rather than the public and, with that occurring, “mensalão” (the political corruption scandal involving the purchase of votes of parliamentarians in the National Congress of Brazil which occurred between 2005 and 2006) has become a rule. Now, nobody approves anything without the “pixuleco” (Portuguese slang for a “bribe” or “dirty money”) running the asses of the parliamentarians.

The judiciary has been politicized in its high courts, with partisan and ideological broadsides taking place. The legal branch ended up succumbing to the suspicious interests of some, and the unsuspecting nature of others. Persons without a scintilla of legal knowledge have been appointed to the court.  Even those who had the proper training and schooling to serve the judicial system were not above suspicion.

As a result, candidates considered to be straightforward and honest and capable of both winning office and serving the public good have been discouraged from taking part in elections, faced with the certainty that they would be forced to fall in with a Congress full of reprobates.

With all this going on, there is truly a move among the intelligentsia, entrepreneurs, and professionals to hold back their resources which could help Brazil pull out of its degraded situation.

The number of people looking to exit Brazil clearly shows this situation.

With recent immigration to the US, Brazilians residing in the U.S. today already earn, on average, more than Americans! What a loss for Brazil!

Brazilians who need or simply want to become U.S. citizens must lose their Brazilian citizenship, which will please the holders of power but will further damage Brazil.

The U.S., with 62 different types of visas, whether by competence, investment or special abilities, end up attracting these Brazilians, their values, and their resources.

In the United States, which just adopted major tax reform and sports a GDP of more than $20 trillion, Brazilians are choosing to face competition, leaving their comfort zone in Brazil to meet this challenge.

The saddest reality of all is the unanimity of perception with regard to the nation of Brazil.

 

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About the Author

- My name is Carlo Barbieri, an entrepreneur, civic activist and a leader of many organizations associated with Brazil. A native of Brazil myself, I am currently the CEO of Oxford Group, a firm composed of many international consulting and trading companies. I am also a founding member of the Brazilian Business Group and founding member and Past President of the Brazil Club. In addition, I serve as a Board member of the Deerfield Chamber of Commerce. I have served as a member of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Brazil Partnership. Past President of the Rotary Club – Boca Raton West for the 2014-2015 term, I have also been Vice President and Professor of 2Grow – Human Development. An Ambassador of Barry University in Brazil, I am the former President of the Black Fire Bull Steak House. I have also presided over a number of organizations such as the Brazilian Association of Trading Companies (ABECE), Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo, Brazil-Australia Chamber of Commerce, Brazil-Dominican Republican Chamber of Commerce; director of the Trade Center of the State of São Paulo, Brazilian Association of Freight Forwarders and Brazilian Association of Banks. I was also a local Council member for the Consulate General of Brazil in Miami, for the 2013-2017 term.

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