One sunny day, Rio native Vini Soares walks into Starbucks and orders coffee. “What is your name?” the cashier asks the costumer as usual. “Out With Temer,” he answers. This is a true Brazilian story.
Brazilians have a new way of saying hello. It has become an anthem and has spurred a social media frenzy.
Since Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was ousted (she is facing an impeachment trial) and Vice President Michel Temer has taken over, resistance as found a creative way of expressing discontent regarding what many say is an illegitimate president. The customary “Hi, how are you,” has gradually turned into a salute-protest against the man many see as a traitor. So, from now on, when in Brazil, if you want to fit in just say, “First of all, out with Temer!” (primeiramente, Fora Temer!) instead of the traditional hello.
With most of intellectuals and artists denouncing what they call a “coup” against democracy, Temer has become quite an unpopular character among well-educated Brazilians. And nothing can cheer up a crowd like the mantra “Out with Temer.”
It is not an unknown fact that the international media has denounced inconsistencies during the process that ousted Rousseff when most of the national media failed to question the legitimacy of her political trial. It is a common mistake though to think of Rousseff as a lady in distress. She was quite unpopular herself when the Senate voted she be removed from the presidency for a period up to six months while awaiting the verdict on her impeachment trial. People were eager to have her removed after she failed to save Brazil from economic recession and investigations unveiled a corruption scheme that tainted the Labor Party (Rousseff’s party) forever. A party that had previously, for over decades, vowed to fight the same corruption it succumbed to.
But the same foe that got her out of power gave rise to a shady politician, unpopular with many. Michel Temer was a laughing stock from the beginning. Firstly, because some of his newly appointed ministers fell like flies when scrutinized. Secondly, because he wasn’t directly elected by popular vote, then an interview with his much, much younger first lady showed Brazilians a sort of mid ’50s housewife with questionable taste and a strange view of modern women. And last but not least, recent developments showed that the technical argument used to oust Rousseff (she was accused of governmental tax maneuver) was never committed at the first place.
But that’s in the past now, what is not in the past is what journalist Glenn Greenwald uncovered this week.
Let’s stop and make a footnote here, okay. Greenwald is an award-winning journalist but he is not exactly known for his impartiality. He walked hand in hand with former President Lula and Dilma herself. He was very critical of the impeachment process. However, he might be right this time.
In an article published by The Intercept this week, Greenwald showed how one of the most popular and prestigious newspapers on the block, the Brazilian Folha de Sao Paulo, manipulated and concealed polls that showed most of the population would be just fine with the Brazilian greeting “Out with Temer.” The Folha study showed that 62 percent of people consulted wanted neither Rousseff nor Temer in power. Instead, they wanted new elections. The interesting thing is that in the version published by Folha, only 3 percent stated they wanted elections. The paper reacted by saying it was a different way of reading the numbers (really? Where? On Mars?) and the paper published a statement saying it was the media outlet’s “prerogative to choose whatever they feel fit newswise.” Wow, and we thought journalism was actually based on facts! Silly us!
So, based on a poll The Bubble Brazil carried out in our heads, with its own interpretation of numbers and facts and in response to popular demand, we feel that “Out with Temer” is the new black in Brazil.