In the one-year that followed Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, President Temer launched a recovery agenda which included controlling inflation, restraining budget deficit, restructuring the public pension system and proposing new labor reforms. These reforms, despite being unpopular, were instilled trust in investors and a recovery seemed to be underway. Simultaneously, the sense of impunity in government was fading away as corrupt politicians and businesspersons were under the microscope of federal police. Just as we thought Brazil was on the verge of a turnaround, a new scandal blew open.
CEO Joesley Batista of JBS, the largest meat-packing company in the world, recorded a conversation where he and President Temer discussed illegal payoffs to judges, prosecutors and convicted criminals including former Speaker of the House, Eduardo Cunha. Not only did President Temer fail to act on those criminal confessions, but he also seemed to approve of Batista’s conduct. Despite his involvement, Batista was able to cut a deal with Brazilian prosecutors to move to New York in order to protect his family and keep his company. He was only punished with a financial fine for his crimes. He surely lost more than that with his damaged credibility and company stock value decrease of 30%, but this scandal also generated debate of whether the punishment for such a crime was fair enough.
This situation puts in check the President’s ethics, to say the least, and makes it very likely that he will resign or be removed from office by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). This will result in a lower chance of approving the reforms, increase the risk for our economy and reduce the chances of reverting the sad statistic of 14% unemployment here in Brazil.
As Brazilians, One Young World Ambassadors and Millennial leaders, we are very ashamed of our President’s conduct; it doesn’t represent us. There are no excuses for his behavior as a President, and we firmly believe that, even though this might reduce our short term political and economic confidence, we are indeed in a turnaround moment that will drive Brazil into a more solid democracy.
We must applaud the excellent work of our institutions that managed to pursue and put behind bars the country’s most powerful people for the first time in Brazilian history. We will keep fighting for ethical behavior from our leaders and we will have zero tolerance for corruption. We want to see justice and politics working together for a better country.
The UK’s experience, where low voter turnout among young people at the UK’s EU Referendum (64% of 18-24s compared to 90% of over 65s) was cited as a major reason for the victory of the Leave campaign, leaves us with an important message: the vote is our most important weapon.
It is due to this belief that some of our Ambassadors have been working with social movements that support a new generation of leaders who can build new ways of approaching politics for a fairer, more inclusive, more developed and ethical country.
Our hope is to, in 10 years, promote a broad renewal of leadership, ideas and practices at the National Congress.
This article was jointly written by One Young World Ambassadors Giovana Barros, Tabata Amaral de Pontes and Ricardo Medeiros. This post reflects the authors' personal opinion and not the views of the companies they work for.