‘I am available, with courage and a lot of optimism’, says Olívio Dutra about candidacy for the Senate

‘I am available, with courage and a lot of optimism’, says Olívio Dutra about candidacy for the Senate

At the age of 81, Olívio Dutra, the “Missioner Rooster”, is back in the political arena. Last Monday 25th, the Brasil da Esperança Federation, formed by the PT, PCdoB and PV, announced its name as a pre-candidate for the Senate and now awaits the convention on the 31st to confirm the choice.

The news shook the electoral board in the state. “I have always been active in the field of the democratic left. popular and now I was summoned again”, he says in an interview with Capital Letter. “For me, it’s another challenge, especially given the current situation in the country”.

In the conversation, the former governor recognizes that the difficulty of what he called the “democratic field of the Gaucho left” in articulating and having a minimum program to contest the elections in the state weighed on his decision.

On Friday the 29th, it was announced that the ticket will have – in addition to Olívio for the Senate and Edegar Pretto (PT) for governor -, Pedro Ruas (PSOL) as vice. The project, however, was to unite, in addition to the current partners, the PDT and the PSB. The pessebistas tend not to be part of the alliance, revealed the president of the party in Rio Grande do Sul, Mario Bruck.

Olívio’s only requirement to accept the challenge was that the candidacy for the Senate be collective, as happened in the 2020 municipal elections. The justification for suggesting the model still unpublished in the National Congress was born from the experience as mayor of Porto Alegre and governor of the state, where he implemented the participatory budget.

“It is essential that society be heard and be able to decide on what is fundamental in its life and that of its family”, he says. “In Brazil, laws are made from the top down and the people become a mere political object. What we want is for him to be the subject, the protagonist of the story”.

Another reason pointed out by the pre-candidate is that in these elections there is a Federation of parties. “The candidacy cannot be just the PT, but allied parties or even representatives of social movements. We do not own the truth, we need to learn and exercise with each other,” he points out.

Olívio insists on saying that there is still no modus operandi defined, after all “you don’t do politics with a prescription in hand”. The legislation requires one candidacy and two alternates, who in this case will be part of the project. “We need to oxygenate Congress with pluralistic ideas. The alternates must participate in the cabinet in Brasília and act in the daily life of the House, including possible alternations in the exercise of the position of senator”, he explained.

A historical PT, founder of the party and friend of former President Lula, with whom he shared a functional apartment in Brasília when both were Constituent Deputies, Olívio holds a degree in Letters from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. He began his political life at the Bankers’ Union in Porto Alegre. Then, between 1980 and 1986, he presided over the state PT. Despite being almost unanimous among leftist militants, including opponents of other parties, Olívio does not shy away from debates. Unlike most of the national leadership, he says that the party should make a self-criticism of its performance in recent years.

“Sectors of the PT have some difficulty accepting to discuss, reflect on certain topics. They think this is a demand from the right”, he reflects. “Self-criticism is not a nest of snakes that attack each other, but a serene and qualified process, where one can debate, discuss projects and reforms”.

The pre-candidate also says that the PT, once in government, moved away from the ranks. “We were not able to debate, to show that most of the benefits granted in the Lula and Dilma governments were government programs and not a state project. We lost contact with the people. I think we need to read less Marx and more Paulo Freire”, he says.

In the political-party field, he is not part of any of the internal currents, because, in his view, “they have left the ideological debate and started to dispute political spaces aimed at the election of parliamentarians”.

For him, the expectation of Lula’s victory is the great change that the country wants. “Lula will have to rebuild a country devastated by incompetence”, he declares. “Brazil lost in all sectors. The public policies of the new government will have to be for the many and not for the benefit of the few”.

Optimistic, although worried about the violence and risks of a coup, the old commander says he is willing to fight once again in defense of the Democratic State of Law. “I couldn’t go against my own speech. We have a lot to do for the country. I am available, with courage and a lot of optimism”. The “Missioner Rooster”, with sharp spurs, is ready for combat.

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