the contradictions between what Weintraub and the World Bank think

the contradictions between what Weintraub and the World Bank think

© Reuters
Abraham Weintraub is leaving the government and postulates the post of executive director of the World Bank

“(The people) It’s not screaming to have more state, to have more projects, to have more … the people are screaming for freedom, period,” said the ex-minister of Education, Abraham Weintraub, excitedly, to the composed audience by colleagues from Esplanada, by President Jair Bolsonaro and Vice Hamilton Mourão.

At a meeting on April 22, famous for being the environment in which he defended the arrest of “STF vagrants”, Weintraub criticized the behavior of some ministers who exposed their portfolio management plans in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic recession.

Almost two months later, Weintraub is leaving the government and is applying for the position of executive director of the World Bank, where his role will be precisely to evaluate and recommend investment projects by the state.

To exercise the function, for which he has already been formally appointed by the Brazilian government, Weintraub will not only depend on the seal of the other eight countries that make up the group led by Brazil in the body, but will also need to change, at least temporarily, part of his convictions.

A former member of the Bolsonaro government’s ideological wing, Weintraub is a disciple of writer Olavo de Carvalho, critic of what he calls globalism, gender ideology and denial of global warming as a phenomenon produced by human action.

“The World Bank has as a consensus the need to fight climate change, the importance of equal opportunities between genders for the economic development of countries and the value of multilateral dialogue”, says the ex-president of the World Bank Otaviano Canuto, who has already been in the chair claimed by Weintraub. More than that, the institution finances projects that promote these values.

A trained economist with a career at Banco Votorantin, Weintraub said he was prepared for the challenge. “I have been a director of a bank in the past, I return to the same position, but at the World Bank,” he said in the video of just over 3 minutes in which he announced his resignation, on the 18th, alongside Bolsonaro.

His stay in the government was unsustainable after Weintraub visited the 300 camp in Brasília last weekend, hours after an attack on group fires against the STF building.

“The position at the World Bank supposes that one has the technical capacity to assess not only the financial issue, but the quality of development programs and the political and diplomatic ability to seek consensus among peers,” says Canuto.

If confirmed in the position, Weintraub will be part of a collegiate of 25 directors, in which decisions are taken by the majority, in a vote.

Institution officials who were privately consulted by BBC News Brasil say that without the capacity for dialogue, the executive director may be relegated to ostracism. The ex-minister’s record of just over a year in public administration has raised doubts about his ability to build these bridges.

China and multilateralism

'I hate the Chinese communist party. He's trying to turn us into a colony, 'said Weintraub

‘I hate the Chinese communist party. He’s trying to turn us into a colony, ‘said Weintraub

One of the most emblematic cases of this challenge for Weintraub is its relationship with China. “I hate the Chinese communist party. It wants to make us a colony,” Weintraub said at the ministerial meeting on the 22nd.

Two weeks earlier, through his Twitter, Weintraub wrote a message suggesting that China would benefit from the pandemic. The text alluded to the stereotype of a supposed Asian accent when speaking Portuguese. “Geopolitically, who can get out of the world, in lelative terms, of this global crisis? Can Lia se Cebolinha? Who are the allies in BLasil of the infallible plan of Cebolinha to dominate the world? Does Lia Cascão or are there more friends?”.

The post, already deleted by the former minister, provoked a reaction from the Chinese Embassy in Brazil, which described the statements as “absurd” and “strongly racist”. And it motivated the opening of an investigation for a possible racist act against Weintraub, who, in testimony, denied having been prejudiced, but repeated that China produced the virus in the laboratory, a thesis without any evidence of reality so far.

Weintraub is now seeking a position at an institution in which China is the third largest shareholder, behind only the United States and Japan, with about 6% of the bank’s capital. Brazil and its eight partners in the group account for less than 4%.

In a text signed by World Bank vice president Victoria Kwakwa in 2017, the institution defends multilateralism and uses the words of current Chinese leader Xi Jinping to explain why: “Some countries are moving away from past multilateral solutions. But there is no turning back. Earlier this year in Davos, President Xi Jinping said that the global market system is an ocean that we all swim in and that we cannot escape from. ”Any attempt to channel the waters of the ocean back for isolated lakes and streams it is simply impossible, “he added. It is up to us to ensure that everyone can swim in that ocean. That means we need stronger, more inclusive and more innovative multilateralism.”

In response to Weintraub’s nomination, a group of Brazilian diplomats and international relations scholars released this Friday, 19, a letter to the ambassadors in Brazil of each of the countries that make up the Brazilian group at the World Bank recommending that they not accept the nomination of Weintraub. Among other reasons, they claim that he showed “disrespect for the values ​​of multilateralism, such as tolerance and mutual respect”. An indication of a Brazilian was never refused in these circumstances.

Although there is speculation on the subject, for now it is unlikely that this will happen now or that China itself will make moves to hinder Weintraub’s path.

“They are all professionals on the bank’s board. What happened before will not be judged, the issue is the person’s behavior while occupying the position of director. In this regard, there is a code of conduct to be observed and failures can be brought to the Board. of Ethics “, says Canuto.

Diversity and inclusion

“I hate the term ‘indigenous peoples’, I hate that term. I hate it. The ‘gipsy people’. There is only one people in this country. They want, want. They don’t want to go backwards. They are Brazilian people, they only have one people. black, may be white, may be Japanese, may be of Indian descent, but it must be Brazilian, damn it! End this business of peoples and privileges. There can only be one people “, said Weintraub, at the ministerial meeting on 22 April.

His last act as Minister of Education was to extinguish a 2016 ordinance that determined that federal universities should create quota programs for blacks, indigenous people and people with disabilities in their postgraduate courses.

Its stance on the topic is opposite to what the World Bank defends. On the bank’s page dedicated to indigenous peoples, the institution opposes Weintraub by stating that “indigenous peoples are culturally distinct societies and communities (from the rest of society). The land on which they live and the natural resources on which they depend are inextricably linked to their own. identities, cultures, livelihoods, as well as their physical and spiritual well-being “.

In addition, the bank uses the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as its goal, which advocate “improving land tenure security, strengthening governance and supporting indigenous systems of survival and livelihoods”. Projects financed by the bank that may negatively impact the lives of traditional communities – such as infrastructure works – are subject to a series of conditionalities and independent observers, to guarantee the well-being of the peoples.

As for the quota policy, reduced by Weintraub, a World Bank study released in 2018 showed that in Brazil blacks are twice as likely to be poor than whites, but that signs of social change are beginning to emerge thanks ” the adoption of several affirmative action policies, such as quotas reserved in the labor market and educational institutions, awareness campaigns, anti-racist legislation and the rise of an Afro-descendant political class “.

According to the report, however, these efforts are still insufficient and more action should be taken by the state to combat inequality. The World Bank follows these same principles when hiring its own staff. “We are committed to promoting and strengthening diversity and inclusion in our work and in our workplace” and “we are committed to maintaining our policy of zero tolerance to any form of discrimination”.

Gender ideology

© Reuters
“They are destroying the difference between genders, they are breaking our individual identity, because if I do not know who I am, why am I going to fight?”, Asked the former minister

“They are destroying the difference between the sexes, they are breaking our individual identity, because if I do not know who I am, why am I going to fight? They destroy our family identity. If I have no children, who will I fight for?” , asked Weintraub in a lecture at the Political Conference on Conservative Action (CPAC) last year, in which he explained the need to combat the so-called “gender ideology”. The term, adopted by conservatives, emerged as a response to movements calling for recognition of gender equality and respect for human sexual diversity.

In a meeting with Bolsonaro at the Planalto Palace in January 2020, Weintraub stated that the elimination of gender ideology guided public policies in his portfolio. “(The MEC reading program) seeks precisely to value the role of the family with young children in those first moments. The gay kit comes out and the family reads,” he said, in reference to a didactic material created in 2004 by the federal government. that intended to reduce homophobia in schools. The material was denounced as an apology to homosexuality by the then federal deputy Jair Bolsonaro and became the motto of his presidential campaign in 2018.

Reducing gender inequality is one of the World Bank’s most important objectives, according to the agency’s website, which has a series of studies to prove the effects of discrimination on women’s lives and the development of countries around the world. . “It is time to go beyond guaranteeing equal access to the recognition and elevation of women as agents of economic growth, stability and sustainability, and of men to work with them to accelerate progress towards gender equality”, urges the Bank.

The agency also addressed the issue of homosexuals and transgender people. In a 2018 study, the World Bank notes the high level of homicides among LGBTI populations in Latin American countries and states that governments in the region cannot be silent on combating prejudices that fuel violence. “The State, in its role as guarantor and defender of human rights, must provide mechanisms and policies to help the LGBTI population,” recommends the document.

Teachers and teaching method

“It is the family who educates, the school teaches. We teach how to read, write, teach the trade. We expect the family to educate children,” said Weintraub, while running the MEC. In 2019, in the wake of the contingency of funding for education, the then minister even asked parents and students to report teachers who encouraged demonstrations against the government to the portfolio and said the government “would take action”.

“It is to teach reading, writing, science, mathematics, it is not to indoctrinate,” said the economist.

'Who educates is the family, the school teaches. We teach how to read, write, teach the trade. We hope the family will educate the children, 'said Weintraub

‘Who educates is the family, the school teaches. We teach how to read, write, teach the trade. We hope the family will educate the children, ‘said Weintraub

He also spared no criticism of Paulo Freire’s literacy method, which he viewed as doctrinal on the left. Together with the secretary of the portfolio, Carlos Nadalim, he started to bet on the phonetic method of children’s literacy. And it opened a war against NGOs dedicated to the topic, such as Todos pela Educação, a frequent partner of the World Bank.

“The system he (Paulo Freire) set up is bad, his lines are super confusing, the result is terrible and he is very ugly, so it is easy to knock. It is like this moral at the door of MEC (with the face of Paulo Freire), knock down, ask to leave “.

The World Bank sees teachers as having broader responsibilities than those mentioned by Weintraub. “Teachers are the most important factor in determining how much students learn. More than just channels of information, they equip children with the tools to analyze, solve problems and use information effectively,” says the agency.

In the last decades, the bank has financed dozens of adult literacy experiences using the Paulo Freire method, in countries like Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Mali, Mozambique, Peru, with different results. More recently, it successfully replicated the educational strategy created by Cid Gomes, in Ceará, in Pakistan. The Gomes family is a political opponent of the current government.

“The Bank is not a space for a war of ideologies. Technicians recommend measures and governments adopt if they are interested, if they agree. The World Bank does not rule anyone,” summarizes Canuto.



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