Ministra fala ao The New York Times sobre o Bolsa Família
Em entrevista ao jornal americano The New York Times, a ministra Tereza Campello destacou a contribuição do Bolsa Família para a melhoria dos indicadores de nutrição infantil, educação e saúde no Brasil.
Leia abaixo a íntegra da reportagem:
Brazil to Keep Allowances for the Poor
Despite’s deepening economic travails and budget problems, there will be no cuts in a pioneering and widely admired program of monthly cash allowances to the poor, the official in charge of the effort said Friday.
The official, Tereza Campello, whose title is minister of social development and fight against hunger, said that the program, known as Bolsa Familia, had helped to improve the lives of millions of impoverished families and had directly contributed to significant, statistically validated advances in childhood nutrition, schooling and health care.
The program, which was started more than a decade ago, electronically transfers monthly cash allowances to bank cards that are entrusted to the heads of qualified households, but with conditions that include mandatory prenatal care, attendance at school and vaccinations. Failure to comply can lead to suspension or termination of the benefit.
There are no strings attached to how the money is used, but Ms. Campello said that “all of our research shows the families spend this resource on food, for the children and school materials.”
Ms. Campello, who spoke during an interview at Brazil’s United Nations mission, was visiting New York to participate in meetings on the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 universal benchmarks aimed at improving the quality of life and eliminating or narrowing inequities between rich and poor nations by 2030. The goals will be formally adopted during the General Assembly gathering of world leaders that begins next week.
Many countries have been studying the Bolsa Familia program, hoping to adopt the underlying idea, Ms. Campello said. Since its inception under the Workers’ Party, which gained the presidency in 2003, Bolsa Familia has contributed to an 82 percent reduction in Brazil’s undernourished population.
Bolsa Familia’s success in helping to reduce poverty is regarded as one of the bright spots in what has rapidly turned into an economic crisis under President Dilma Rousseff. The crisis has been punctuated by plunges in global demand for Brazilian commodities like iron ore and compounded by what critics call squandered public finances and bloated government spending and bureaucratic waste.
Standard & Poor’s downgraded Brazil’s creditworthiness to junk status on Sept. 9. Further aggravating the problem are a series of corruption scandals and calls for Ms. Rousseff’s impeachment.
Ms. Campello, who is a founding member of the Workers’ Party, dismissed any suggestion that Bolsa Familia would suffer from government decisions on how to cut spending. She said the program accounted for only a half a percentage point of Brazil’s gross domestic product.
“The president is absolutely committed that we have no cuts for this program,” Ms. Campello said.
Still, Ms. Campello said the government’s economic and political problems had emboldened the Workers’ Party opponents, and she expressed deep concern about calls for the president’s impeachment, calling such talk destabilizing.
Ms. Rousseff’s opponents have acknowledged that Bolsa Familia is a relatively affordable way to combat extreme poverty. But Ms. Campello also said that criticism of assistance programs to the poor had increased in Brazilian social media among conservatives, who describe them as handouts that perpetuate unemployment, pressure impoverished women to have more children and encourage irresponsible spending. All of which are myths, Ms. Campello said.