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Bolsa Familia

Cartoon by Zezinho de Cataés

General opposition to corruption seems to mark common ground among diverse political actors, but specific allegations of corruption further particular ideological projects. The Brazilian cartoon above (by Zezinho de Cataés) appears on the website A Gazete Digital. It depicts a neoliberal equation of Workers' Party' anti-poverty policy with vote-buying. The scene features an interaction between President Dilma Rousseff and a (single?) mother of seven whose caricature is analogous to the US "welfare queen." The allegation of vote buying is established by the juxtaposition of the electronic ballot box on the counter just above the placard bearing the name of the Workers' Party's signature cash transfer program, "Bolsa Família." The mother says, "What a scare my husband had. He thought he'd have to go back to working" to which President Rousseff responds, "I was scared too but it was just a rumor [that Bolsa Família would be cancelled]." The cartoon arguably suggests that the mere fact that the mother has a personal stake in an election's outcome means that her vote is suspect, and perhaps more broadly that economic dependency on the state is itself a form of corruption.   

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Participant: Aaron ANSELL
Dept. of Religion and Culture | Virginia Tech
Presentation: "Clientelism, Health Crises and Social Inequality in Northeast Brazil"