O presidente nacional do PSDB, senador Aécio Neves, avaliou, em entrevista à revista norte-americana “Harvard International Review”, da Universidade Harvard, as políticas econômicas adotadas durante o governo da presidente Dilma Rousseff.
O senador destacou que o Brasil passa por uma crise política e econômica que pode ser considerada a pior desde a redemocratização do país, em 1985.
Aécio Neves citou a hiperinflação de 1989 e o impeachment do ex-presidente Fernando Collor, em 1992, como dois dos três principais exemplos de crises vividas pelo Brasil nos últimos trinta anos.
A terceira, e talvez a pior, segundo ele, é o cenário atual, em que a presidente da República, menos de seis meses após a reeleição, já tinha aprovação da população inferior a 10%.
“O Brasil tem um problema político momentâneo causado pelo desmantelamento provocado pelo PT devido à corrupção e a escolhas políticas e econômicas irresponsáveis. Nesse sentido, pode-se dizer que o Brasil está vivendo seu pior momento político e o descontentamento está por todo o país”, declarou Aécio.
Sobre o Bolsa Família, o presidente do PSDB afirmou que os benefícios dos programas de transferência de renda, iniciados no governo do ex-presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso, estão sendo anulados pelo crescimento lento da economia e a alta do desemprego.
“Como o governo atual adotou políticas econômicas equivocadas, os programas sociais se tornaram menos efetivos em diminuir a pobreza. É necessário restabelecer a estabilidade econômica e a credibilidade política para recuperar a capacidade do governo em implementar as políticas certas que promovam crescimento econômico, desenvolvimento e justiça social”, completou.
Em relação à diplomacia brasileira nos últimos anos, o presidente do PSDB criticou a postura do governo do PT e defendeu uma “reorientação estratégica dos eixos principais da política externa”.
“Apoiar um regime autoritário como o de Nicolás Maduro na Venezuela ou deixar de condenar as atrocidades do Estado Islâmico, por exemplo, minam a capacidade do Brasil de ser um líder real regional e globalmente”, concluiu.
Confira a íntegra da entrevista:
1. The past few administrations have focused their foreign policy on consolidating Brazil’s influence in the international community. Given changes to the Itamaraty, such as the addition of foreign ministers, do you think the intensity of Brazilian diplomacy has changed significantly in recent years? If there have been changes, why do you think these efforts have evolved, and what do you see as areas for improvement?
As of 2003, the Brazilian foreign policy has changed its approach toward the so-called “south-south” relation, failing to achieve any meaningful result. Behind the new “south-south” approach there is an anachronic ideological platform which led the Brazilian foreign policy to a worldwide criticized circumstances, such as the idea of “negotiations” with the so-called “Islamic State” proposed during the 2014 UN General Assembly meeting, as well as the support to dictators such as Chaves in Venezuela.
Accordingly, Brazilian foreign policy has to be reoriented toward reassuring our belief in the democratic principles, preserving the relationship among free nations and their mutual interests in several areas as trade, culture and technology. Brazil´s foreign policy should focus on resuming the strategic relations with our traditional partners, as well as on following a more result-oriented policy towards Africa and Latin America based not only in the country´s economic interests but also in our believes in human rights and democratic values.
2. Some analysts have previously expressed concerns about a conflict between Brazil’s regional interests in organizations like Mercosur versus its influence in the larger international community or with trading partners like the United States and Europe. The reasoning is essentially that pursuing regional power instead of international power is not as economically beneficial to the country. Do you think these concerns are still credible, and do you think Brazil will ever reach a point where it will be forced to prioritize one over the other?
These concerns still prevail, first because South American economies didn´t develop as they could in the last decades years due to wrong choices of economic policies, where protectionism played a major role. Mercosur should be one large market, one sound economy to facilitate the economic integration with major areas. However, regional crises, protectionist rules and lack of a productive complementary policy prevented such development . There is no contradiction in pursuing regional integration and more influence in the larger international community. Ultimately, one process may influence the other positively. Nevertheless, Brazil has to change its actual regional process of integration based on “leftist solidarity” and move towards a one based on an open partnership with other world dynamic regions by developing policies which lead to a real integration with the global value chains.
It is time to change the Mercosur rules to allow Brazilian economy, as well as any other Mercosur member, to implement bilateral trade negotiations under agreed rules. Bilateral trade negotiations should be implemented along with a coordination to establish a regional value chain, in the way it has been done in Asia. This approach would enhance the economic perspective of the regional economy and Mercosur could become a commercial boost instead of a political hurdle, provided that democratic regimes prevail in all member countries.
3. The theme of the recent Summit of the Americas was “Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas.” At the same time, there have often been strained relations between the United States and Brazil, as well as the United States and Latin America as a whole. What do you see as the future of “Cooperation in the Americas”? What steps do you deem necessary in order to further fortify relations in the hemisphere and achieve the goals set out by leaders during the summit, particularly in the areas of human rights and the maintenance of democratic values?
Economic and social differences among American countries are considerable. The terms of cooperation should take these two points into account in order to set in a more balanced process of integration. Actually, as a first step it should start with developed countries transferring more technology and resources for supporting education and health programs in less developed countries. Those countries receiving resources should be committed with democratic principles, human rights, citizen participation and positive health and education results. No successful integration process can take place if the economic and social asymmetries among countries are not taken into account from its beginning. The United States and Brazil should lead this process in coordination aiming to achieve significant results for the hemisphere´s economic and social development
4. Shifting the focus to more internal issues, Brazil has seen a significant reduction in income inequality and poverty, much of which has been attributed to the success of programs like Bolsa Família. Recently, however, these reductions appear to be slowing. What steps can be taken to continue the momentum of poverty reduction and further promote social development?
The social safety net is an efficient economic policy when the poverty level and the income concentration are high. Since the inauguration of Real Plan in 1994 the income distribution has progressed due to the new scenario including the end of inflation, economic stability and increasing job opportunities. The fast and significant decrease in inflation lead by the Real Plan had an extraordinary positive impact in poverty reduction in Brazil.
The “Bolsa Familia” program is an amplification of several conditional transfer programs initiated during President Fernando Henrique Cardoso´s mandates, that obtained excellent results up to 2010, while the economic stability prevailed. Since 2011 a whole set of wrong economic policies are leading Brazil to slow growth and diminishing employment rate, nullifying the benefits of the income transfer programs.
Therefore, as poverty level diminished since 1995, and as the incumbent government adopted wrong economic policies, social programs became less effective in reducing poverty. It is mandatory to restore economic stability and political credibility in order to recover the government´s capacity to implement the right policies. The government must dedicate increasing resources to education. Education is the key element for the long run social development, along with complementary investments in areas with strong positive externalities such as infrastructure, security and public health. At the same time, responsible fiscal and monetary policies have to be pursued in order to achieve a sustainable economic growth and social development.
5. Many analyses of Brazil’s economic prospects are quite grim. What do you see as the key to improving this situation, especially given the concerns about the impact of the upcoming Olympic Games?
As mentioned previously, it is required that the economic stability be restored in order to recover the government credibility. From that point on, the public sector must dedicate increasing resources to areas with strong economic e social externalities, specially to education.
In terms of the Olympic Games there is not much to be done, since the time span is short (some twelve months). But, in any case, I understand that all major concerns have been covered and we are going to have a satisfactory result, with no problems related to the economic scenario. On the contrary, the Olympic Games will attract more tourists to Brazil and thus help to increase the economic activity in retail and services segments that today are suffering with the economic recession caused by the wrong policies implemented during the recent years.
6. Brazil is currently facing several large social issues: violence, education, and public health, among other challenges. While it is of course impossible to choose only one issue to deal with, in terms of passing legislation, which do you think is the most likely to be addressed in the current congress and why?
The Congress agenda is focused on three main fields this year: the macroeconomic program, the political reform and violence. The fiscal measures have all been negotiated with the President´s economic team and voted. The Congress proposed a fiscal smoothing, imposing some minor change to the original program.
The political reform has been voted in the House of Representatives, but it is expected some problems in the Senate. The scenario is uncertain.
The Lower House has approved the first of two rounds of the Constitutional amendment that reduces the age for criminal responsibility from eighteen to sixteen year olds in some cases. This is not an easy subject, even though more than eighty percent of the Brazilian population support this initiative.
Other than that, the Congress is experiencing some strain associated with the unfortunate political crisis involving President Rousseff, which somehow impairs the regular functioning of the Congress.
7. In conclusion, what are your thoughts on the quality of Brazilian politics today, and what challenges do you anticipate in the future?
The Brazilian democracy is characterized by a strong presidential command, and since the end of the military regime in 1985, the political scenario has experienced three major crisis. The first was in 1989 in a scenario of hyperinflation, when the President lost its credibility. The second, in 1992, when after only two years of election the President was impeached. The third hardship has been experienced this year. After six months of her re-election President Roussef approval is below ten percent. The fact that Brazil has overcome the recent political crisis in a democratic way shows how solid our political institutions are.
Brazil has a momentarily political problem caused by the dismantling of the Workers Party (PT) due to corruption and non-responsible economic and political choices. In this sense, one could say, Brazil is facing the worst political moment and disappointment is all over the country. The economic and political situation today are very difficult but I am confident that we will surpass them and as it happened before I am sure that the final result will be an even stronger democracy for Brazil.