President Dilma Rousseff of the ruling Worker’s Party (PT) was re-elected this Sunday in a tight run-off against opposition candidate Aecio Neves of the Social Democracy Party of Brazil (PSDB).
Sun, sex, samba, carnival and at least until the recent World Cup hammering by Germany, the “land of football.” And don’t forget “vibrant democracy.” Even as it enjoys one of the highest soft power quotients around the world, Brazil remains submerged by clichés.
“Vibrant democracy” certainly lived up to its billing in this hard-fought presidential election. Yet another cliché would rule this was the victory of “state-centric” policies against “structural reforms.” Or the victory of “high social spending” against a “pro-business” approach – which implies business as the privileged enemy of social equality.
Exit clichés. Enter a cherished national motto: ‘Brazil is not for beginners.’
Indeed. Brazil’s complexities boggle the mind. It starts with arguably the key, multi-layered message a divided country sent to winner Dilma Rousseff. We are part of a growing middle class. We are proud to be part of an increasingly less unequal nation. But we want social services to keep improving. We want more investment in education. We want inflation under control (at the moment, it’s not). We support a very serious anti-corruption drive (here’s where Dilma’s Brazil meets Xi Jinping’s China). And we want to keep improving on the economic success of the past decade.
Rousseff seems to get the message. The question is how she will be able to deliver – in a continental-sized nation suffering from appalling education standards, with Brazilian manufacturing largely uncompetitive in global markets, and with corruption run amok.