President Rousseff's Campaign for Brazil to Make History with the BRICS Resonates with Voters
October 25, 2014 • 10:08AM

Momentum is shifting towards President Dilma Rousseff's re-election in next Sunday's Presidential election in Brazil. The final polls released show her pulling ahead of her opponent, London's boy Aecio Neves.

President Dilma emphasized the importance of Brazil's participation in the BRICS in several public appearances this week. In an address to a huge São Paulo rally on Oct. 20, for example, she went after Neves for conceiving only of "a small Brazil ... harnessed to the big countries.... They want to hand over Brazil. They want to go back to the Free Trade Accord of the Americas. They don't want the BRICS, and they are capable of belittling Mercosur and Latin America."

The themes emphasized by the Rousseff campaign in the final weeks of the campaign strengthen the potential for Brazil to adopt a more aggressive national development policy, should Rousseff win a second term. Her message is that Brazilians must chose between two radically-opposed visions of what Brazil must be in the world: her opponent's vision of a Brazil subservient to foreign powers and banking interests, with low wages and high unemployment and poverty for most of its people; or a Brazil allied with other sovereign nations in the BRICS and the South American regional groupings, UNASUR and Mercosur, and use public banking to build up the country's infrastructure, national industry, and living standards and skills.

Celso Amorim, formerly Foreign Minister and currently serving as Defense Minister, elaborated this idea in a Vermelho op-ed this week. Dilma Rousseff, and her predecessor Lula da Silva, proved that the country is "ready to defend its sovereignty and the integrity of an international order based on Law," as opposed to those "who justify timid behavior, inconsistent with the size of the country and the aspirations of our people," he wrote. He listed off their policies of prioritizing South American unity; paying special attention to Africa; actively working with the BRICS; and rejecting free-trade restrictions favoring the multinational pharmaceutical companies which would limit Brazil's right to adequately deal with public health. We decided "to leave behind the vision of a peripheral and unamed country, and assume full responsibility for the protection of our resources and population," using the government's purchasing power to favor national industry and investing in national technologies.