Neutrality in the runoff may have been only on the surface
[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for October 28. See original article here.]
by Eduardo Sales de Lima
Marina Silva says she is neutral in the runoff election, as does the Partido Verde (PV – Green Party). What appears to be agreement at first sight may hide what some political personalities see as a programmatic abyss between the former candidate for the presidency and the majority of the party cadre.
Support for the former PV presidential candidate grew surprisingly in the days before the first round of the elections, winning her 19.6 million votes from throughout Brazil. Roberto Malvezzi, CPT [Comissão Pastoral da Terra – Pastoral Commission for the Earth] advisor, believes many people, to the right and to the left, underestimated the votes for Marina and attributed her growth to conservative and evangelical backing. Support for Marina, according to Malvezzi, reflected more than that; it represented the discontent of many Brazilians over the lack of regard for the environment, especially in connection with large projects like the transposition of the São Francisco river and the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant on the Xingu river. “The Lula government misjudged the environmental question. I don’t know if Serra judged it at all,” he declares.
So Marina won greater legitimacy, with 19.33 percent of the valid votes in the first round, and her support became an object of desire, for the PT [Workers' Party] side as well as for the tucanos [Social Democrats].
A few days after the first round, one of her principal advisors, Pedro Ivo Batista suggested strongly the possiblity of Marina’s supporting Dilma Rousseff’s candidacy. “The PT, meanwhile, correctly, sought and attained a more programmatic conversation. That is positive,” he told Radioagência Notícias do Planalto.
But the support did not happen. Marina and her party declared their independence and freed the party loyalists. “I imagine the conflicts within the Lula administration facing Marina were enormous. For unimportant reasons, she would not have known that from outside. So one must consider her decision from a historical perspective, not just in the present, at the runoff. She is aware that she brought to Brazil an alternative that others would never bring. Marina knows that the future lies in that direction (the environment) and wants to preserve her independence to take from whoever comes to power,” Roberto Malvezzi asserts.
But that is not the way re-elected Rio de Janeiro state representative Marcelo Freixo (Psol – Partido Socialismo e Liberdade, Socialism and Freedom Party) sees it. He thinks Marina Silva’s position was mistaken. “I believe that she, as a public figure, had to take a position. There is no independence button. A person who is public cannot not take a position; I condsider that wrong,” he says.
João Batista Lemos, of the PCdoB [Partido Comunista do Brasil – Communist Party of Brazil], thinks that the position of the defeated candidate for the presidency of the republic contributed to what he calls “diversionism” in the electoral process. According to him, as much in the first round as in the second, the actions of candidate Marina confused the political struggle in the country. “First, she helped the media offensive because she had her candidacy shifted to the right so Serra could go to a runoff. Now, in the second round, her neutrality enters into this personal process of hers; because it would have been much more reasonable for her to endorse Dilma,” he declares.
The behavior of the greens in the runoff reveals a programmatic obstacle in the future for the party itself and for Marina Silva. That is because the official neutrality of Marina and the party was not matched by its cadre, a mixture of ideological tendencies represented as much by a handful of more prograssive figures like Pedro Ivo Batista himself, a former petista [Workers’ Party] activist and coordinator of the Rede Ecossocialista [Ecosocialist Network], as by a considerable contingent of cadres close to PSDB [Partido da Social Democracia Brasileiro – Brazilian Social Democrat Party] governors like Fernando Gabeira, a public supporter of the candidacy of José Serra in Rio de Janeiro. “The PV became allied with the PSDB in several states. Now, if the PV is going to negotiate jobs, whether José Serra or Dilma wins, time will tell,” recalled Rio de Janeiro state representative Marcelo Freixo (Psol).
“Marina, who dreams of creating another political project, kept her independence; but that is not the case with the party. The great majority of the PV cadres in the states are sticking to the Serra candidacy. The real PV, which is in the state governments, positions itself mostly in favor of Serra,” Valério Arcary emphasizes.
Roberto Malvezzi, of the CPT national board, believes that the PV “is not a party with a well defined face.” “I know very good people who have been there for the environmental cause for many years. But I also know that there is a very large game of egotism there,” Malvezzi declares.
According to him, Marina’s party may have considered the question of support in the second round “from the point of view of elections and accumulation of political power,” but not Marina. “With all her paradoxes, which I’m always commenting on, she has an ethic, she has values, dignity, and she wants to see good sense and a new model of civilization triumph in this country,” he says. At the same time, Malvezzis is hesitant about Marina’s possible objectives. “I don’t know if she is going to manage; sometimes she is very close to a small group of advisors.”