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War and Ballot

Architect and construction entrepreneur. President of the Federation of Industries of the State of Rondônia, he also presides over the Ação Pró-Amazônia, an association that brings together the nine federations of industries in the states of the Legal Amazon. CEO of Instituto Amazônia+21, aimed at promoting sustainable business in the Amazon.

Marcelo Thomé

Translated by Silvia Benchimol and Ewerton Branco (UFPA/ET-Multi)


In February, the news about the war in Ukraine dropped like a bomb in the Brazilian news. Suddenly, the Russian fertilizers used in our agribusiness would be lacking. The impact of this shortage would exacerbate inflation, affecting families from Oiapoque to Chuí. The incredible thing, I thought at the time, is how our country never considers the possibility of being affected by external problems, such as the war in Ukraine.

Months have gone by, the news of the war lost audience and the consequences of the conflict in Eastern Europe over the Brazilian economy are even less commented.  Not only the State, but the society as a whole, including the productive sector, seem to have lost interest in the economic splinters that hit Brazil since the exchange of attacks between Putin and Zelensky started.

The risks to our economy, in great evidence in February and March, do not stem only from the distant war, they are, effectively, wounds of the weakened health of Brazilian productive activity, which lacks a solid foundation geared towards its sustainability. It’s imperative that we build up a country with a vision of the future. The first step is to understand that the globalized economy requires more care with the basic economy.

I insist that Brazil has two fundamental challenges: the reconstruction of the national industry, supported by the structuring of sustainable production chains, and the construction of a sustainable development project with the inclusion and protagonism of the Amazon. Of course, a national project that fits in the world of the 21st century cannot be carried out with a focus ‘on one's own navel’, it is necessary to have the feeling of globality instead. While Brazilians forget about a war that threatens to escalate and change the mood of the planet, Germany announces the nationalization of Uniper, a giant company of the energy sector, strongly affected by the cuts in natural gas supplies from Russia to the European Union.

It is also evident that a national project cannot be built without competent and qualified debate in the National Congress. And, once again, civic amnesia breaks out, limiting us. Almost all emphasis on the October 2 elections is concerned with disputes in the field of the Executive Power. Very little is discussed about elections to the Legislature.

I apologize for the straightforwardness of the warning, but we need to identify and vote for deputies and senators who ‘effectively’ make the National Congress include on its agenda, the concern for 60% of the Brazilian territory and the immeasurable natural treasure that is the Brazilian Amazon. This concern must include the state of Acre, but also  Faria Lima Street in São Paulo. No more room for the mediocrity of regarding the Manaus Free Trade Zone as a threat to São Paulo's industry.

The congress needs to act politically in order to end regional inequalities. The insertion of the Amazon into the Brazilian economy requires an effective investment plan in the region, with cheap and unbureaucratic financing for sustainable businesses. The Southeast and Amazon cannot be treated equally, because the regions are unequal. Where there is more exclusion, more public policies are needed to include communities in the economy. In short, it is necessary to rethink the Federative Pact to include the Amazon in Brazil.

War and ballot are too serious issues to be remembered just as they happen.