Brazil: Bring back the generals, or something like that
Not long ago, Brazil was run by a military junta. Then came a democracy, the expansion of the central government, crony capitalism, and corruption. All of a sudden, one of the largest-GDP nations in the world looks as dysfunctional as any other.
So what do you do when elected leaders can't keep the streets safe or give you economic growth?
Some Brazilians are yearning for law and order or "el hombre fuerte," which is a syndrome all over the pages of Latin American history.
This is an update from Brazil, from The Guardian:
Hundreds of truckers and their supporters had gathered at a gas station on a highway near São Paulo, for a rally in support of a nationwide protest that has brought South America's biggest economy to its knees.
But among the slogans and Brazilian flags were signs not usually seen at strike demonstrations: slung from a nearby overpass were banners calling for "military intervention", a sign that this shutdown has taken on a political dimension all of its own.
As a nationwide truck strike reaches its 10th day, gas stations have finally begun to receive fuel deliveries and truckers have started drifting back to work – some unwillingly.
But hundreds of demonstrations have continued on highways across Brazil – and many of those still protesting are calling for a return to the rightwing dictatorship that ran Brazil for two sombre decades until 1985.
Look before you leap is my message to Brazilians.
Unlike Chile's General Augusto Pinochet, a man who made his country the economic envy of the Third World, most Latin American military leaders clean up the streets, crack a few heads, make the trains run on time, and then collapse from corruption or abuse of power.
Or as my late father used to say, they bring "order" and forget "law." In other words, order without law is a problem, too.
My good guess is that there won't be a junta in Brazil's future. The country is so messed up that the military wants no part of it, unless things get so out of hand that the military has no choice.
At the same time, you can't blame the people of Brazil for wanting something better.
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