Article in Bloomberg Línea: “I vote for Lula in defense of the Democratic State of Law”

Article in Bloomberg Línea: “I vote for Lula in defense of the Democratic State of Law”

Originally published in Portuguese by Bloomberg Línea.

In an essay, the businesswoman says she will vote for the PT for the first time and that the former president is the last bastion of democracy in Brazil

By Patrícia Villela Marino*
October 26, 2022

“I am 52 years old, I am a lawyer and a civic-social-environmental entrepreneur. Being married to a representative of one of the families with the greatest responsibility to the country, I have a 10-year-old son, to whom I want to leave my contribution for a safer and less unequal country. I am the daughter of a politician who fought for redemocratization in the 1970s, and my main reference in public life is former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, with whom I develop social initiatives inside and outside Brazil.

My family and I never gave up our homeland. We do not trade Brazil for some luxury exile abroad. We work every day for our country, for the guarantee of human rights for the humblest people, and for the sustenance of democracy. We believe in the importance of being able to have diverse opinions, different preferences, but common principles: the defense of the Rule of Law, freedom, life, health, family, and conversation.

I never voted for PT (Workers’ Party). Especially because of the party’s support for dictatorships such as Cuba and Venezuela. Today, however, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is the last bastion of democracy in Brazil.

Bolsonaro has already made it clear that he intends to follow in the footsteps of dictators like the rightist Viktor Orbán in Hungary or the leftist Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. Both were democratically elected, but later took control of the Supreme Court by increasing the number of judges, maneuvered to corrupt Congress – similar to the ‘secret budget’ in Brazil –, and instrumentalized the police forces through their links with the militia underworld.

The much-dreaded ‘venezuelization’ of Brazil, believe me, is coming to the country through the far-right that currently governs us. We have a populist leadership that discredits electoral institutions, disrespects Judiciary autonomy, trivializes violence and gives the go-ahead for ordinary citizens to arm themselves and take to the streets, thinking they can take justice into their own hands. Let’s call things by their names: on Sunday (23), an ally of the president committed an attack against the Rule of Law with 20 rifle shots and three hand-grenades.

We seem to have forgotten, but we have lost 687,700 lives in Brazil due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the last three years. The actions of President Jair Bolsonaro, as Dr. Drauzio Varella said in a recent video, were not only denialism: it was activism for the spread of the virus.

How can we forget the agony we went through, counting the dead on a daily basis? The choking up as we watched people without oxygen in Manaus, and the neglect of the government to provide it? Who remembers our wait for the vaccine – and the fact that the current president did not even appear publicly taking his shot or visiting any hospital?

Bolsonarism has been corroding Brazilian institutions and our social fabric like a cancer, dismantling public policies for social welfare, education, health and the environment.

For those who think that the economy is doing well, it would be doing much better if we had received the investments that never arrived here because of the fires in the Amazon and the massacres of indigenous people and indigenists.

To vote for Lula is to put a stop to all of this. It is standing up to protect the Democratic State of Law. Today, Lula represents democracy – with its imperfections, given the very human nature of those who defend it.”

* President of the Humanitas360 Institute, an organization that works to reduce violence, promote civic engagement, and transparency in institutions, and founder of Civi-co, a community of entrepreneurs, organizations, and civic-social-environmental activists.