Ms. Barbara is a contributing Opinion writer who focuses on Brazilian politics, culture and everyday life.
“SÃO PAULO, Brazil — It reads like science fiction. In 93 pages, the text sketches out a strange future. In 2027, there’s a new pandemic, caused by the “Xvirus.” A year later, war breaks out between the United States and both China and Russia over bauxite deposits in Guyana. By the year 2035, Brazilians openly admit their innate conservatism and embrace a future where the word “Indigenous” barely exists.
Yet these predictions are not from some work of fiction. Instead, they come from a strange policy document published last year by a group of institutes run by retired Brazilian military personnel. Titled “Nation Project: Brazil in 2035,” the report proposes a grand national strategy on issues like geopolitics, science, technology, education and health. Alongside its more outlandish predictions, it foresees the end of Brazil’s universal health care system and public universities, and calls for the scrapping of environmental protections.
It’s tempting to laugh, but this was no fringe affair. The presentation of the plan last year was attended by Brazil’s vice president and the secretary general of the Defense Ministry. After all, this is Brazil, where the military has long meddled with the government — and ruled over the country in a dictatorship from 1964 to 1985.”