De Brazil | LRB Blog – DAMAGE Playground

De Brazil | LRB Blog

"I arrived in Brazil just as Lula’s presidency was coming to an end and Dilma was beginning her first term. Their Bolsa Família programme, which gave cash incentives for keeping children in school and attending health clinics, had more than halved extreme poverty in the country, and reached a quarter of the country’s population. The woman who cleaned my house had to endure a four-hour commute from the outskirts of São Paulo to work eight-hour shifts in the city centre with no holiday rights or health insurance. But her daughter was in college and worked as a receptionist at a technology company. Dilma may have made mistakes, but under her leadership Brazil was a place where a girl from the favela could get a decent education and a good job, or become a poet and join a grassroots literary movement. Lula was the seventh of eight children born to a single mother in the arid backlands of the North-East, imprisoned for his political beliefs before rising to become a national leader: his story embodied Oiticica’s notion of the marginal hero. But the new administration wants to tell a different tale, in which the heroes of the working class are criminals again." 

-Kathleen McCaul Moura, read further on LRB Blog