The pre-election campaign in Brazil has become even more sharply contested after the first round of vote on October 5. Marina Silva supported by Washington and the opponents of the incumbent President had to leave the race with only 21, 3% of votes. Dilma Rousseff, the left-wing Workers Party candidate (41,1 %) will face off Aécio Neves, the candidate from the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (33,7 %), in the run-off election on October 26.
The candidates face an uphill battle. Neves is supported by US and West European information agencies. He opposes the policy that has been implemented during the recent 12 years by the ruling Workers Party. He started his political career at the age of 20 as an aide to his grandfather Tancredo Neves who was elected President in 1985 but died of infectious decease before taking office. Aécio has always been ambitious. He was elected federal deputy representing his home state, and then he stepped down to become the governor of his native state Minas Gerais and, then, a senator. Step by step his presidential candidate image started to take shape. Neves does not shy away from dialogue. He’s a master of coalition combinations. Aécio possesses a gift of conviction. A flexible politician he knows how to promise everything at once. A master of schemes he can adroitly outmaneuver his opponents to get things done his way.
The objective of Neves and his team is to grab power and hold it to serve the interests of big business. His propaganda efforts are based on the thesis that «people got tired of the dictatorship of the Workers Party» which is unable to get the «stagnated» economy moving, tackle health care, education and fight corruption. Neves gives away promises saying he intends to establish order with an iron hand. The first step would be radical personnel reductions in the ministerial offices. He is going to cut the number of ministries in half. Neves promises to make the national Central Bank independent and put an end to any interference of state into economy: «no regulation from above: business should be free». Neves blames the Dilma government for economic slump. He wants to make GDP grow by implementing well-thought over reforms and reshaping the system of taxation. He makes a plethora of promises supported by advertisements with pictures showing him smiling. It makes one put on his guard. Skeptical responses started to appear in media saying this man cannot be trusted. Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and incumbent President Dilma Rousseff boast undisputed foreign policy achievements strengthening the Brazil’s clout in South and Central America, as well as in the Caribbean. It makes Neves speak cautiously about international issues. What will the Brazil’s foreign policy be like in case Neves comes to power?
He does not say Mercosur (a sub-regional bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) is useless but believes come corrections should be inserted into the constitutional instruments of the alliance to enable Brazil strike strategic agreements without constrains. Actually he means a bilateral free trade agreement with Washington. Neves is keen on boosting ties with industrially developed countries of Western Europe and Japan, and take steps to develop close ties with the Pacific alliance created by the United States. That’s why he does not speak out in clear terms about the relationship with the Bolivarian Alliance (formally the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) which includes Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia.
Neves warns the neighboring states involved in drug trafficking on the Brazilian territory. The United States takes a similar stance on the issue: everyone is guilty except us! The special anti-drug agencies of Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru and other states cooperate with Brazil and have achieved significant results while fighting the drug dealers. Tons of hallucinogenic substances have been eliminated as a result of combined operations. The very tonality of the critical remarks made by Neves lead to the isolation of Brazil in Latin America. For instance, he has already threatened Bolivia: the country produces four times more coca than needed for internal consumption (that’s what Washington says), so the Bolivian government should take proper measures, otherwise it will lose all the preferences and credits.
Experts agree that the run-off election is a race where two different social-economic models vie for voters’ support. Brazil has faced significant reforms in the recent years; millions have improved their living standards. Fighting poverty, racial intolerance and discrimination of all kinds, creating new working places and proper conditions for professional progress of youth are among the changes achieved. Even Western media outlets recognize that the scale of social reforms in Brazil is unparalleled. The Dilma’s government enjoys political support of other Latin American states. Dilma Rousseff publicly snubbed Obama in the wake of the spying scandal displaying her personal qualities for all to see.
In case Neves wins many social and political achievements of the Workers Party will be put in jeopardy. Integration processes will be reconsidered in favor of «partnership» with the United States. Neoliberals are the same wherever they are: they promise a lot making their way to power while trying hard to pretend they care about common people. They paint rosy pictures of would-be well-being to end up caught red-handed stealing government funds in the most routine way. They normally are involved in scheming and betrayal of national interests. Dilma believes that neoliberals pose a threat to the country. She remembers that the party of Aécio Neves has come to power thrice and each time it was a failure. Dilma Rousseff says she does not want Brazil to return to the past and kneel before the International Monetary Fund.
Neves believes he is a politician prone to rational thinking. In his youth he belonged to «golden youth» trying drugs and messing around. He does not like to remember about it. He has an appearance of a TV series hero – a penetrating look and a gift of gab. He has the reputation of an idler, a playboy and a conqueror of ladies’ hearts. Compromising pictures shot in his Ipanema Beach House, Rio de Janeiro, surface in media now and then. He is well remembered in fashionable discos of Leblon, a luxurious district of Rio. Psychologists say the determining feature of his character is narcissism, that’s his weak point; he lacks the feeling of solidarity with other people.
He has a daughter from his first marriage. Neves is married to Leticia Weber, who is 20 years younger. She has recently given birth to two children. Evil tongues say the changes in the personal life took place in order to raise his image. It’s not an occasion that Leticia shows up in the advertisements devoted to her spouse. Posters with good-natured smiles showing white teeth of Neves are everywhere in Brazil. Will the white teeth smile help him to win the race remains to be seen...