Brazil presidential poll revives geographical and class divide

By Moises Avila ,AFP

BRASILIA — Leftist President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election in Brazil has exposed a deeply divided country, reviving the old wounds of class struggle. Last week’s vote showed huge support for the incumbent in the impoverished northeast, where millions receive benefits from huge welfare programs Rousseff’s Workers Party (PT) has rolled out over the past decade. The programs have helped lift out of extreme poverty some 40 million people, who formed the bedrock of Rousseff’s support as she saw off business world favorite Aecio Neves. In the south, many of those who backed Neves to end 12 years of PT rule are expressing anger at northern voters, many of them welfare recipients, for Rousseff’s narrow win. ��I’m preparing to leave for Orlando, where my father lives. I’ve tried to help them, these poor imbeciles, these idiots who voted for Dilma,�� complained one voter, Deborah Albuquerque, in a video that went viral on social media. ��But they are too dumb and are going to be dependent on the Bolsa Familia (a family stipend for poor families) and Bolsa ‘Misery’ for the rest of their lives,�� she wailed.

The battle between two bitterly opposed camps is still being played out over social media, a week after the election, as everyone from politicians to soccer players, journalists and members of divided families cheer and boo Rousseff and Neves as one might a soccer team.

Two Tribes ��I do not think these elections have cut the country in two,�� Rousseff insisted after her win. But frustrated opponents disagree and have set up a Facebook campaign suggesting a wall be built separating Rousseff’s northern strongholds from the rest of the country. Northern voters, around 70 percent of whom backed Rousseff, have responded in kind.