All fun and games until someone mentions the C-word

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.

— D.H. Lawrence, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”

I have been trying to come up with explanations for the acts of the last 48 hours. Now that the raise in the bus fare has been cancelled, what’s one to do with the flotsam of the demonstrations that are still occurring everywhere in the country? Already there are plenty of people trying to fill in the vacuum – people from the extreme left, the extreme right, political parties of all shades, anarchists, and those who want everyone to shut up everywhere.

And, apparently, there are sectors of the society that are putting the the C-word  in the air.

C for Coup d’État, that is.


Everything that has to do with politics in Brazil lives under the shadow of the military coup in 1964. The politicians, the laws, everything is an answer or a result of the weird events that led to the dark night of March 31st, 1964, when one slept in a civil democracy and woke up to see tanks up the main streets.

Of course, the state of near anomie in which Brazil is seized at the moment grants the fear that some group might take the chance for an uprise. There are sectors of the society that miss the military days, of course – especially those that probably didn’t know what it was really like to live under the iron rod. The general disgust for the political parties also add to this fear that things will not turn well. But is there room for a coup?

Well, if you ask my opinion, which is as good as any, I’d say no. Because, for all that it’s worth, 2013 is not 1964.  By this I mean that Brazil is not the same country it was in ’64, nor is the world. The Cold War is gone and buried; the news spread at the speed of light; image means everything, and for a country so willing to be seen as an international player, the idea of an régime d’exception in charge smacks of Arab theocracies or African blood diamonds – i.e. someone you wouldn’t do business with willingly. Someone you don’t want to be seen with.

Who, leftwing or rightwing or plain wing-nut, would want to throw all the work of two decades away?


Another thorny subject: the Confederations Cup and its twin event next year, the World Cup. FIFA apparently threatened to cancel the event, reminding that they didn’t ask Brazil to host the event.

Well, nobody asked the population either: the decision to put Brazil’s name in the ballot came from the higher abodes of power, as usual. Of course people are groaning with the expenses. Was it any other time, that’s all Brazilians would do – anyone who ever had to deal with my fellow country-people know that we’re a whiny bunch when we feel like it. But it wasn’t any other time, as Simon Jenkins, from The Guardian, pointed so well. This time, people want to know where’s the beef.

There is only one thing Mr Jenkins – and the main international media outlets – are missing, though: a bit of historic perspective. Too many skies have fallen since March 31st 1964. This is not only about the money. It’s about where we, as a country, stand now. And in order to grow, I guess we have to put up with different opinions trying to hijack the protest.

Where will it lead, I don’t know. Stay tuned… This promises to get more interesting.


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