Marina Silva is a reveed environmental leader who attracted attention in the Lula government as Minister of the Environment, and even more so when she resigned and affiliated with the Brazilian Green Party -- a coopted movement, from all signs, headed by the CEO of a natural cosmetics company, to which she thought she could bring the internal democracy learned through years of community organizing.
Silva was not successful in that sense in last year's elections, although her candidacy was successful enough, with 10% of the vote, to trigger a runoff election between the hegemonic PT and PSDB.
Admirably, under intense pressure to "deliver her vote" to the one or the other candidate, she left her supporters free to vote their conscience -- she was not thrilled with either alternative as a Green-friendly one -- and engaged in some tough political street-fighting to prevent the Greens from being used merely for its political leverage. I personally thought that was quite a feat -- the Marina Movement inside the party forced an internal vote -- and left Silva with considerable political capital.
In an interview with Época magazine this week -- they suddenly began delivering it to our house during the period of circulation measurement, go figure -- Silva speaks very frankly about that political experience and political horse-trading in general.
One can learn a lot about Brazilian's dirty little Donald Segrettist political secrets from the interview, and her assessment of the current bid to derail Brazil's economic stability by provoking inflation and undermining confidence in the Treasury ministry, is succinct and to the point. I translate some excerpts.
Was there really an attempt to force a vote on the new Forestry Code by the opposition, using the scandalization of business affairs by the presidency's head legislative liaison and chief of staff?
I am not sure what part of its agenda the opposition is attempted to ram through with these calls for hearings on a trivial matter, but the Forestry Code cannot and should not be brought to a vote without the full participation of civil society.
Your husband was accused by the sponsor of the forestry bill of involvement in hardwood smuggling in Acre. How do you respond?
I am perplexed, first of all, and then indignant. I invited the state's attorney to investigate all such charges, and thoses investigations are all duly posted on my Web site. ... it was beneath Rebelo to use these cheap tactics of intimidation against me ...
Is Palocci also a victim of intimidation?
It was odd that these charges were made and then a vote was immediately called on the Forestry Code.
A few weeks ago, the president of your party (Green) critcized your lack of a position on the amended Forestry Code. Is your speaking out now a response to that criticism?
You know, it's funny ... I was constantly in touch with Palocci about this legislation, even if it did not make the papers.
Is it possible for your to carry out your own environmental agenda when your party is run by people you have little in common with, like Penna or Sarney?
I work closely with the younger Sarney on the environment. On other issues, we are separated by an abyss, I am not a believer in the old style politics he represents. Sadly, our parties have all become political machines. THe Greens are no different, they are highly hierarchical, they are not engaged in dialog with society. Two people basically give the orders. Their talk of sustainability runs smack into their petty bureaucraticism, where there is no representation or internal voting and they just seal themselves off.
You say you want to modernize politics. But it seems you have not been able to do so even in your own party. Have you not lost credibility?
During the campaign I spoke about a new way of doing politics because I though a democratization of the Greens was underway. Starting now, either some sign of this appears in the party or I will stop making this claim. I am not going to promise society something my own party cannot deliver.
During the campaign, you had a small group of supporter among intellectuals like Guilherme Leal. Have you distanced yourself from them?
We received support from all political tendencies, but when the campaign was over, these people did not care to affiliate with the party. They see no way of interacting with the party bureaucracy. They way we are organized now, there is no way for that to happen.