The Brazillian truckers’ strike is probably the final nail in the coffin for the presidency of Michel Temer:
The scale of the truckers’ stoppage overwhelmed President Michel Temer’s unpopular government, which was pressured into granting truckers’ demands as airports ran out of fuel, grocery shelves emptied and drivers waited hours to fill their tanks.
Despite these disruptions, truckers won support from many Brazilians angry at a surge in diesel prices since state oil company Petrobras scrapped subsidies under Temer. An opinion poll on Wednesday found that 87 percent of Brazilians supported the strike.
Centrist candidates such as former Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin and ruling party candidate Henrique Meirelles did not come out in support of the truckers when they blocked Brazil’s main highways. There has been no poll on voter intentions yet to show whether lack of support for the strike hurt these politicians, who back further fiscal belt-tightening that many voters oppose but investors would like to see.
Bolsonaro, 63, a former army captain turned congressman running on an anti-graft platform, praised the truckers in social media messages for fighting “extortionist” taxes levied by Temer’s “corrupt” government. Ahead of the Oct. 7 election, Bolsonaro had just under 20 percent support, giving him the lead in polls that exclude jailed leftist ex-president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who received 32 percent support in one poll even though he cannot run due to a graft conviction.
Why are Brazillian truckers torpedoing their own country? The problem, as usual, is on the far left.
The problems really date back to 2003 and the election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, more commonly known as “Lula.” Lula put into place the system of corruption which eventually resulted in the “carwash” scandal that essentially brought down the entire political establishment, most notably his successor Dilma Rousseff.
He also put into place a generous system of government entitlements for the Brazilian poor. This is very similar to the system that Hugo Chavez used to gain power in Venezuela, and only recently have the chavistas begun losing the poor in Venezuela due to running out of money to bribe them with, as they have completely bankrupted the state.
In spite of the fact that he’s a convicted criminal, Lula remains ahead in the polls. This is because most of his supporters don’t care that he is a thief and a career criminal as long as he is giving them tons of sweet government cash.
I haven’t been able to find a link, but a couple of months ago I was struck by an article where a media outlet briefly interviewed a Lula supporter, who said (paraphrasing), “I don’t care about whatever crimes he may have committed, I want to protect my government benefits.”
This isn’t to say the Brazillian right has much cleaner hands either; the current president Michel Temer is also widely reputed to be dirty and was involved with the corrupt Brazillian meat exporter JBS. He is also presently under investigation for corruption. His approval rating is at 5%, which is astronomically bad, but I doubt the corruption investigation has much to do with it. It’s far more likely, given how Lula retains support, that Temer is widely hated because of his insistence on fiscal discipline.
It’s worth noting that Petrobras’ chief executive was forced to resign after a mass uprising by oil workers. Like Temer, the Petrobras leader had started to impose fiscal disicipline on the company after it had been grossly mismanaged for years by the Brazillian left, especially in his ending of price controls on oil. As soon as he resigned, the company’s share price tanked.
I don’t believe for a minute that the trucker and oil worker protests are “spontaneous” grassroots uprisings. It seems pretty obvious to me that the Brazillian left, with a lot of its best candidates in jail and unable to win at the ballot box, is doing what leftists everywhere typically do when faced with an unfavorable political climate; they’re sabotaging the country and resorting to extralegal tactics. If the current tactics being employed don’t get them back into power, the next step will be violence and mass riots.