Pleidooi voor basisinkomen in Brazilië

In Brazilie wordt de roep om een basisinkomen in te voeren steeds groter. Rechter Luislinda Valois, 27  jaar rechter inde stad Salvador regio Bahia, heeft daarover een brief geschreven aan de president van de republiek Dilma Rousseff.

Your Excellency Mrs. President of the Republic Dilma Rousseff

Subject: Putting Law 10.835/2004, about Citizen´s Basic Income into effect

Mrs. President,

It is deeply honored that I address Your Excellency with the mission to speak on behalf of thousand of voiceless, “incomeless” people spread over the outskirts of Bahia. Thus, I evoke my two guiding forces: religion and justice. The former, represented here by orixas1; and the later, by Rui Barbosa’s teachings.

One day, the Great Olodumare called all the orixas for a big meeting in his palace. He wanted to distribute the world’s wealth among his sons. Iemanja got the sea, Oxum got the gold, Oxossi got the forests and so on. Each orixá received a piece of the world, a piece of the nature, a specific government.

Every orixá would then have one part, being, at the same time, part of the whole, exercising their rights and duties. Thus, the mythology of the orixás teaches us the importance of division and of the distribution of wealth for the full running of the universe.

It is worth noting that, in the world created by Obatalá, in Ifé, the orixás and the human beings worked and lived in equality and harmony. There was no space for injustice, and only for good.

Complementing this introduction, Rui Barbosa, from Bahia, stated that “in this world only good everlasting, and good, politically, is all the justice and freedom, sovereign forms of authority and right, of intelligence and of progress.”

There is no better way to promote justice or freedom than allowing people to have the right to an income. In the modern world we need to have the right to education, health, habitation and, among other things, to an income.

Implementing basic income is a gesture that brings in its essence the promotion of “good”, It should be understood as “good” not only as moral quality, but also as a social welfare.

We must recognize that Brazil has advanced a lot in the last years, especially regarding social gains. Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, materializing the hope that the workers deposited in his two mandates, implemented a succession of social policies which produced a new model of development, much more comprehensive and solid.

It is undeniable that Bolsa Familia brought dignity to many people who did not even have something to eat. Millions of Brazilians were benefited and, today, they have three meals per day. On top of that, children stay longer in school.

This program modified not only the income, but also the Brazilians’ conscience. In my travels in Bahia and in Brazil, I observed that there is less and less resistance by the population that citizens receive an income from the State, as a right to the citizenship.

So, I consider the Bolsa Familia, which has a great social acceptance, as a direct way to the institutionalization of the right to an income.

Your Excellency’s election allowed not only the continuity of a political project, but also of the walk toward the construction of a right that gathers income and citizenship. In a country where women have always been left in the second plan, the conduction of a woman to the Presidency of the Republic indicates not only a proof of maturity, but also the beginning of a new time.

In the political-economic as well as in the social-cultural environment, we have the necessary conditions to deepen this revolution aiming at Brazil’s transformation into the country of all. It is the right moment to practice good, to make Law 10.835/2004, of Senator Eduardo Matarazzo Suplicy, become a reality.

The Bolsa Familia has significantly contributed for the fight against hunger. However, there are people who, due to several difficulties, still do not have access to the still modest benefit. We ought to take a larger step in this struggle and focus not only the fight, but the elimination of misery, the absolute poverty, as Your Excellency stressed in your inauguration speech. And that, according to the diagnoses of an increasing number of economists and specialists on the subject from the five continents, would be possible by the implementation of a universal program as foreseen in Law 10.835/2004, approved by all parties of the National Congress and sanctioned by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The Law says that the Citizens Basic Income should be instituted gradually, under the criteria of the Executive Power, starting with those most in need, as the Bolsa Familia, until, someday, it becomes universal and unconditional.

The Citizen´s Basic Income has an immense power to promote the self confidence of a people who, for over five hundred years felt excluded in their own country. This program has the power to integrate a continental territory like ours, to rescue cultural and historical debts, to mobilize dreams and realities.

Law 10.835/2004 summarizes the thought of our deeply remembered Herbert de Souza, Betinho, in the sense that the fight against hunger and misery is a citizen´s fight, concerning each one of us. We have to grow and to develop together, without leaving anybody behind.

In a time when the enforcement of the citizenship is not only a political speech anymore, but a social hope, there is no reason to postpone the implementation of a right that will benefit every citizen, regardless his/her origin, class, race, sex, sexual option, age or religion.

I have been a Judge for twenty seven years. During this period I have always tried to take justice into poor communities in Bahia through social inclusion projects. In my journey, I lost track of how many times I witnessed and lived the progress of prejudice and discrimination against black people, women and poor communities in general. Against people who, for not having an income, believe that they do not have the right to look for justice or to fight for their rights.

With the Bolsa Familia, many people, in their communities, in their neighborhoods, started to see themselves as equals, entitled to fight for their rights.

If a revolution of this magnitude already happens due to an income transfer program based on the vulnerability of a certain social class, we can imagine the social, economical and cultural improvements we’ll go through when this income changes from assistance to some into a right to all Brazilians.

The income to be paid to every Brazilian should be considered as an investment, after all, besides other benefits, the domestic market will be strengthened. With more income, the population spends more. With income for food and education, the country will have less ill people in the hospitals, less children victimized by drugs and violence, more productivity in different labor markets and a prosper future.

With a Citizen´s Basic Income we would bid farewell not only to poverty and hunger, but also to slave and inhumane labor that affect thousands of Brazilians. We would leave behind the sad scenario of children begging near stoplights; women begging carrying their babies and elders humiliating themselves in exchange for a change.

We would say goodbye, Your Excellency, to a Brazil that have not just yet overcome the blemishes of slavery. Blemishes that, even as a Judge, I myself feel. Knowing what is to be a poor, black woman, from the periphery, from the Northeast and practicing Candomblé, I have the authority to affirm that Senator Suplicy’s project is a watershed in the citizen´s world history.

Brazil was the first country to approve a Law instituting the Citizen´s Basic Income. We took a large step with the sanction of Law 10.835, but we still have to keep walking. We are still a long way until the Citizen´s Basic Income is implemented as planned.

We must discuss, debate, analyze, bring this theme into every environment, searching ways to turn this dream we have in our hands into reality.

There are natural questions: will President Dilma, Judge Luislinda, Pelé, Xuxa and Antônio Ermírio de Moraes receive the Citizen´s Basic Income? Yes, everybody, even the foreigners living in Brazil for five years or more. Obviously, those who have more would contribute so that all of us may receive an income that will to bring dignity to millions of people and will develop a collective feeling of social solidarity.

Let us remember that it is not the individualism that defines the human nature, but the transformation action that comes from human activity itself and from sociability. The Citizen´s Basic Income, therefore, reinforces our social sense, our compromise with the collectivity.

There are great advantages in it. It is easier for the population to understand the principle that all of us should participate, at least partially, in the nation’s wealth. We will eliminate any bureaucracy involved in knowing how much each one earns in the formal or informal market. We will eliminate the stigma and the embarrassment that one feels to say whether he/she does not earn the sufficient to get the benefit. The dependency that causes the poverty traps or the unemployment traps, originated by systems where the benefit is conceded up to a certain level of income, will no longer exist.

It is from the point of view of dignity and human being’s real freedom that the Citizen´s Basic Income presents its greatest advantage. For the young girl who, short of options for her survival, decides to sell her body, or, for the young man who, for the same reason, decides to be a member of a narcotic gang, the existence of a Citizen´s Basic Income would allow them to say, “no, from now on my family and I have at least the necessary. I can wait, I can perhaps attend a vocational course until I find a job in accordance with my skills.

In his book Basic income – the exit is through the door, Eduardo Suplicy invites us to take a look at Alaska. The American State pays, through royalties coming from oil, an amount in money to all citizens without asking for anything in exchange. After 28 years living this experience, Alaska has become on of the most equalitarian of the 50 North-American states. It is important to highlight that from any wealth generated in a community or nation, it is always possible to separate a part to create a fund which belongs to everybody.

With the discovery of pre-salt layer and the exploitation of other natural resources – pertaining to Brazil’s offspring – the payment of a Citizen´s Basic Income is possible. The public-private partnership model adopted in the Growth Acceleration Program could also be a form of making this payment feasible.

Your Excellency has a great opportunity in hands: putting the Citizen´s Basic Income into effect and transforming Brazil in an example of social development for the rest of the planet, whose main challenges are based on the absolute poverty.

The Brazilian municipality of Santo Antônio do Pinhal, in the countryside of São Paulo, is building this dream. In 2009, Mayor José Augusto de Guarnieri Pereira proposed, and the Municipal Chamber passed a Law to institute the Citizen´s Basic Income and to create a Citizen´s Fund allowing their seven thousand inhabitants to receive a basic income. As in the Federal Law, it will be implemented in steps. This pioneer experience may be an example to be followed by every Brazilian municipal city halls, as long as they are supported by Federal Government.

The Law 10.835/2004 is a powerful tool with which the quality of Brazilian can be raised in a short period of time. To live in harmony, human beings need water (oxum), job (ogum), peace (oxalá), study (iemanjá), family (nanã), and food (oxossi). However, to get all of the above in a satisfactory way, they need justice (xangô).

Most of all, we need a distributive justice, able to transform a country, still so affected by inequality, into a nation. For that reason, any discrimination, including socio-economic, should be definitely erased.

I have no doubts that the implementation of Citizen´s Basic Income could be the precursor action of a new civilization, with more justice and equality.

I am also convinced that Your Excellency is the right person, in the right place, at the right time in what the application of this Law is concern.

Your Excellency can count on me and on Bahia for undertaking the mission of searching and in practicing good.

Shall God and the orixás protect and illuminate your journey.


Luislinda Valois

State Judge (Court of Justice – Bahia)


Rua João Bião Cerqueira, nº 306

Edifício Palm Spring House

Apartamento: 701 b

Bairro: Pituba

Salvador – Bahia

CEP 41.830-580

Telphone: (71) 9984-9724; (71) 8845.4849; (71) 3351.4849
Email: luislinda-valois (a)

Originele brief hier: Carta_da_Juíza_Luislinda_Valois_para_a_Presidenta_Dilma_Roussef