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Brazil's Mr. Loco
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-10-17 10:22:19
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What makes a 21-year-old man send a letter to a judge begging for an extension to his imprisonment because there is nothing for him outside of the prison bars? The young man, in perfect mental and physical health, has a very strong argument: if he is freed he will have to commit the same crime that led him to prison, he will have to either steal food or steal something to sell and buy food. The young man is unemployed and homeless.

Sometimes in our cynical society we forget basic things. How can somebody find a job when homeless? Please don’t ask how they become homeless and remember not everybody holds a six-figure savings account – in fact, very few can survive months of unemployment. It doesn’t matter how young or how healthy somebody is, being homeless is a situation that makes it nearly impossible to come back. What makes it even worse is moving the situation to an environment such as Brazil, where the amount of people who still live under the limits of poverty counts to figures over 30% of the population.

Brazilian President Luiz Lula da Silva before being elected had a program he called ‘Zero Hunger’ and he was optimistic to be able to feed millions of people till the end of his first year as president. What happened with the program? Well zero is still there regarding actions and hunger has dramatically increased. But Mr. Loco*… oops, sorry, Lula, has got what he wanted now and now who cares for a few million desperate homeless? I’m sure Mr. Loco… Lula has forgotten that power is not forever, he has borrowed the right to be in power and it will come a day when the sigh from all of these souls will become a tsunami that will reposition him in the right place.

In his first speech after being elected, Lula aid, “We are going to create the conditions so that everyone in our country can eat a decent meal three times a day, every day, without needing donations from anyone.” I suppose from anyone he meant the other South American states and the church. What does he say now? Now he says that Brazil needs a couple of nuclear plants otherwise how will the rich get energy for their factories and make more profit? Now he says that what Brazil needs are nuclear submarines, now he says that Brazil must show that it is a big South American state that can play a crucial role on the international scene.

It is most likely that Mr. Loco thinks that what made the USA a global superpower is the huge number of homeless people and he's trying to get there by letting more starve! He is continually creating more Jean Valjeans, ignoring the fact that les misérables started the French Revolution!

Mr. Loco is a president of country with 170 million people population with over 46 million of them living with under a Euro a day and most likely Mr. Loco will remember that a couple of months before the next elections, since the ‘leftist’ president was elected with the help of these same people who were waiting for a better day, even if that meant a day with one meal - that would have been an improvement.

Under different circumstances you would believe that the case of a young man asking to stay in prison because it is better than a ‘free’ life would ring a lot of alarm bells, but in the case of the populist Mr. Luiz Lula da Silva let’s hope that it will mean that he will never see an official seat for the rest of his miserable life!

* 'Loco' in Portuguese means: I lease

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Emanuel Paparella2007-10-17 12:30:44
“'We are going to create the conditions so that everyone in our country can eat a decent meal three times a day, every day, without needing donations from anyone.' I suppose from anyone he meant the other South American states and the church."

When Benedict XVI visited Brazil a few months ago he pointed out that when Christianity via liberation theology is reduced to mere social engineering and donations for the poor and to the poor then Christ is also reduced to a Superman of sort, a magician making bread appear out of nothing; then you have the pernicious mixing of the secular-temporal with the sacred-transcendent which turns out to be good for neither. The “loco politicians” of this brave new world bent on secular salvation and promising paradise on earth ought in fact shoulder the responsibility of fulfilling their outlandish temporal political promises and then shoulder the blame too when they fail to deliver. In fact, failure is pretty much assured when those promises are not supported by social justice. That, I dare say, is the duty of any spiritual entity: to point out that “mere praxis is not light” but also courageously advocate social justice.

Alexandra Pereira2007-10-17 14:52:12
"Loco" in portuguese also means "nuts".

Jack2007-10-17 21:40:54
Excellent points. It is like the old politician's line during the depression in early 1900's in America..."there'll be a chicken in every pot" but the chicken (politician) layed an egg.

Finally, there appears to be at least some poetic justice in the world. Veramous Senior Silva. Es todo!

Emanuel Paparella2007-10-17 22:27:05
On the issue of homelessness here are the latest statistics as per Wikipedia Encyclopedia:
Statistics for developed countries:
European Union: 3,000,000 (UN-HABITAT 2004)
England: 10,459 rough sleepers, 98,750 households in temporary accommodation (Department for Communities and Local Government 2005)
Canada: 150,000 (National Homelessness Initiative - Government of Canada)[40]
Australia: 99,000 (ABS: 2001 Census)[41]
United States: Chronically homeless people (those with repeated episodes or who have been homeless for long periods) 150,000-200,000 (some sources say 847,000-3,470,000)[42] though a report in January 2006 said 744,000.[43]
Japan: 20,000-100,000 (some figures put it at 200,000-400,000)[44]

It appears that the two most prosperous continents in the world (the US and the EU) have the greatest amount of homeless people. Since they both live in glass houses the wise thing to do would be for them to stop throwing stones at each other and take care of their own homes, or lack thereof.

Jack2007-10-17 23:52:03
True, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. At what point of gulf does an encoure of the Les Miserables occur?

Since the average adult makes about one dollar a day, it is little wonder that such upheavls occur on a global scale. The kiln of revolution is forged hot with hunger and homelessness.

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