By Raphael Rique ’16, Guest Writer
Eike Batista: once one of the most respected businessman in Brazil and 8th richest man in the world.
Sergio Cabral: once Governor of Rio de Janiero, the second richest state of Brazil.
Marcelo Odebrecht: once the respected and powerful multimillionaire CEO of Obedrect, the biggest engineering and contracting company in Brazil.
Is Brazil passing through a tough moment?
Yes, indeed, it is.
Could this tough time represent an enormously positive change?
Yes, it could.
So, what is happening with Brazil?
Brazil is passing through a transformational moment of a magnitude never before seen in its political history. Instances of nepotism, patronage, unregulated lobbying, exchange of favors in return for access to bids, and money laundering are all being investigated and prosecuted as part of a joint effort between the Department of Justice (Procuradoria-Geral da Republica), the Supreme Court, and the Federal Police.
But why is all of this happening only now? And why was it allowed to go on for so long?
Much applause and respect are due to Brazil’s millennial generation, which is spearheading a multitude of attempts to halt corruption schemes by bringing their illegality and unconstitutionality to light. Additional credit goes to the Brazilian middle class, which is expressing its disapproval of corrupt status quo the country has been operating under for many decades, and is refusing to allow its tax dollars to support this kind of graft and corruption any longer.
The old-school political and economic oligopolies, which were passed from generation to generation in Brazil, can no longer do whatever they want to do, however they want to do it. They don’t dictate the rules now; it is constitutional law that does. The rules of the game have changed, and they have changed for real.
Now we are seeing the rule of law being applied in the spirit of its most fundamental functions and responsibilities: seeking and punishing whomever commits any sort of wrongdoing. It no longer matters if you’re a billionaire or have huge political influence. The rule of law is being applied in the same manner to everyone, everywhere.
We all can hope that a spillover effect will be transmitted to other South American countries, so Brazil can serve as a first-mover example of impartiality in the application of the rule of law. Such a scenario would have the power to change the ingrained mindsets of many influential people in developing countries.
Brazil is changing, and the change here is to stay.
Raphael can be reached here. We miss you, friend, and hope that all is well. As Raphael’s contribution demonstrates, Das Tor is designed to be a forum for the discussion of any and all topics of interest to the Thunderbird community. Whether you’re a student, alum, or faculty or administration member, if you’d like to contribute your voice to a conversation, or start one of your own, we encourage you to contact us here and/or here.