President Alexandre Bettamio's Speech at the 2018 Person of the Year Awards Gala Dinner

President Alexandre Bettamio's Speech at the 2018 Person of the Year Awards Gala Dinner

Chamber Articles Category: Exclusive Articles Post Date: 05/21/18 Source: Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce By: Alexandre Bettamio
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Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening! For almost half a century, our Chamber has been recognizing extraordinary individuals who truly stand out for the accomplishments they have achieved.
I believe the Chamber has a tremendous responsibility when we choose the Person of the Year. Those individuals have to represent the characteristics and qualities that set an example for others. And that is why I am so proud of the unique combination of Michael Bloomberg and Sergio Moro, who have deeply transformed society for better. They are both an inspiration to all of us. They made the unexpected become a reality by simply performing their day-to-day work with courage, wisdom and persevirance. These are remarkable qualities of a leader and critical to achieve meaningful progress.

But before we continue, let’s just take a few minutes to reflect together on the changes taking place within Brazil. Over the last two years, Brazil has gone through unprecedented political and economic transformation. We all remember that not too long ago, we faced the most difficult remedy of a democracy: an impeachment of a president, which led to a major reshuffle in government, a change in economic policies and approval at congress of several new measures to advance the course of the economy. At the same time, we had the unstoppable corruption investigations going on at the private and government levels. Those investigations were broadly covered on a daily basis by the press. Millions of people were astonished by the unthinkable size and scale of corruption that had been implemented through all sorts of sophisticated scams. Some of the most influential businessmen and politicians have been investigated, arrested and convicted. Actions so far unprecedented in the history of our country.

And as we went through all of this painful process, a sense of divisiveness has emerged in Brazil, even within the Supreme Court. Different opinions on what was right and what was wrong have been extensively debated. However, those events that have transpired over the recent years have also led our people into a profound reaction to demand values that we want to hold as a country in terms of justice, integrity and honesty. As we go through this chapter in our history, I am deeply inspired to see that what we are actually invoking is the meaning of the two words that are stated at the center of our national flag: Ordem e Progresso.

The battle against corruption is extremely difficult, but the process we are going through to confront this matter is a consequence of a broader and increasing awareness by our society that unethical behavior leads to inequality, leads to disorder and inevitably, leads to the decline of a nation. So, thanks to Sergio Moro and a broader set of individuals, for the first time in Brazil’s history, we are starting to fight against the direct cause of corrupt behavior: impunity. By confronting impunity, we are creating the conditions for a fair and sustainable society by the simple rule that there are consequences for unlawful actions. And the more we advance on this path, the closer we get to becoming a country -- that we all deserve -- where justice prevails, impunity is not
acceptable, and where all citizens are equal under the law. As difficult as it might be, it is the necessary change that will allow us to emerge stronger as a nation.

In many ways, the consequence of the Car Wash investigation is that positive changes are increasingly manifesting themselves in the public and in the private sectors. But in spite of all the advances our society is making, we still have a long way to go and great battles ahead to ensure that our country continues to advance. No matter how big the challenge is or how discouraged we might feel sometimes, let’s not forget that we have a history of a vast and diverse culture that is ingrained with passion, optimism and resilience. So let’s keep our faith on this journey because nothing great can be accomplished without strong hope, hard work and conviction.

We have the opportunity in October to choose who will lead us as a president, as governors and at congress. This year in particular, the elections are more important than ever. And we have once again, the opportunity to choose what direction we want to take as a nation. And even though our still-early democracy is not perfect, the reality of our evolving society is that Brazilians are gradually becoming more conscious of their political choices. So, despite who wins in the upcoming elections, we need to collectively do our best to support them by putting aside our political differences and putting Brazil first! I personally will never lose hope for our country. It seems like a long road ahead – and, indeed, it is. But let’s remember that dreaming together is only the beginning. Believing together will inspire others to follow. And working together with a strong sense of purpose will lead us to prosperity.

O futuro do Brasil só depende do nosso exemplo, da nossa vontade e do nosso trabalho.

Obrigado! Thank you.