The government of the squid and the cayote


A key figure in Lula’s victory is the new vice-presidency of Geraldo Alckmin, former governor of Sao Paulo, staunch conservative and former rival of the left-wing leader, with whom he now forms the ‘strange couple’.

The ‘comrade Alckmin’ has been one of Lula da Silva’s strong assets to get his return to the presidency of Brazil. The ‘Comrade Alckmin’ is Geraldo Alckmin, a 70-year-old political veteran, co-founder of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), former governor of Sao Paulo and former scourge of the Workers’ Party who, however, has succeeded with the new alchemical combination to win the electorate. to convince with a marriage between the popular left and the most classic center right. The latter is personified in this trusted man for the national market, historical of Brazilian institutions, an example of Latin American neoliberalism and who, apart from his disagreements with Lula, has previously expressed his fear of losing democracy in his country for the event that Jair Bolsonaro reaffirms the command.

So Brazil’s presidency and vice-presidency are now in charge of a strange couple. Of the squid and the cayote. The first is the nickname of the leader of the Workers’ Party. Lula, in Portuguese, is the name by which the cephalopod is known and the new president has had to endure the irony of his supporters in good humor during this months-long campaign. The cayote or chuchu is a basic fruit. Like zucchini, it is not very appetizing, tasteless and is often used as an accompaniment to soups or baked goods. It is precisely for this reason that Alckmin is nicknamed cayote ice cream, because of its austere character, sober to the extreme, which becomes much more remarkable in contrast to Lula’s overflowing optimism. Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon share an apartment at the Planalto Palace.

That combination surprised many when the already elected CEO announced the composition of his candidacy for the presidential elections. But it also convinced a large majority. For voters most concerned about Brazil’s future, the union between the left and the economic center right seemed like a good formula after Bolsonaro’s radical and personalist mandate. For those who feared the liberal left and the businessmen, he guaranteed the existence of affinity and a handbrake in the cabinet. And the humanist electorate found it extraordinary that two politicians who could call themselves anything and who even ran dog-eat in the 2006 presidential election (Lula defeated Alckmin in the second round with 60% of the vote) finally held meetings to prevent a greater evil.

Because there have been serious taste differences between the squid and the cayote. The former governor of Sao Paulo at the time accused Lula of “ruining the country”, attacking the Workers’ Party and supporting the vote of censure against Dilma Rousseff, economist and president of Brazil until 2016. However, that support cost him thousands of followers. A descent into the pit of political indifference from which he emerged a few months ago when Lula suggested we go to the polls together. Rousseff’s impeachment sparked the PSBD’s support for the disastrous interim government of Michel Temmer, her successor between 2016 and 2018. Alckmin was not forgiven by the people. In that year’s elections, he won just under 5% of the vote.

The new vice president is Catholic, close to Opus Dei, and during his reign in São Paulo he turned this state into an economic engine. An impeccable Executive in that sense, but one that was riddled with charges of corruption and of maintaining a security force that apparently had few excuses to draw their guns. Married and father of three, an anesthesiologist by profession, he was born in 1952 in the town of Pindamonhangaba, a small town so old and cornered on the map that even experts disagree on how it was founded. He was the mayor at age 25, the youngest first mayor in all of Brazil. From there, he departed for a promising career as a deputy. In 1988 he co-founded the PSDB. Under his acronym, he directed São Paulo between 2001 and 2006, and later between 2011 and 2018.

In those years, the state became a thriving economic center, exemplary in all of Latin America, enabling the governor to gain a reputed reputation as a technocrat and gain the confidence of business, which was crucial in this last election. But the area also showed rampant corruption, shaken by several investigations into misuse of aid and public resources, especially in connection with construction. Popio Alckmin was confronted with a complaint from the public prosecutor for alleged illegal financing of his election campaign. Several senior officials of his party fell for the allegations. Paradoxically, he ran for the 2018 election, which Bolsonaro won, with a rigorous anti-corruption program.

“Some may find this strange,” the vice president-elect said a few weeks ago when questioned about going to the polls with his longtime left-wing rival. “But today Lula is the one who best reflects the hopes of the Brazilian people. We have never endangered democracy,” he added. In response, Lula reiterated during the campaign that the two were political competitors, but that they The expression has ulterior motives: the leader of the Workers’ Party has been able to lure himself in with an invocation of respect for an urban class that voted for Bolsonaro four years ago but grew tired of his bravado or intimidated.

The new vice president can in fact be considered a victim of bolsonarism. The outgoing president’s inner circle is said to have been behind many of the corruption charges that have undermined his reputation. What is clear is that the explosive nature of the far-right leader and his no less explosive economic formulas have completely obscured the sober and stealthy technocrat in recent years. Now another time begins. The time of the strange couple. Of the squid and the cayote. Lula’s opponents are tired of saying that the alliance with conservative Alckmin reveals a shift in the Workers’ Party leader’s political DNI that will be seen in the coming months. Some political scientists predict that government will be complicated given the differences between the president and the vice president. But a majority, at least just over 50% of voters, believe there is no worse formula than keeping Bolsonaro at the head of the country.

Source: La Verdad


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