Former Bolsonaro secretary wants to replicate family defense in SP
Former National Family Secretary in the government of former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), lawyer and jurist Angela Vidal Gandra Martins does not stop. With the enthusiasm of someone who lives for ideals and the intellectuality of someone who grew up in an environment dedicated to erudition, the daughter of lawyers Ruth and Ives Gandra Martins, one of the greatest jurists in the country, is laying the foundation in the state of São Paulo for the continuity of work in defense of the family that she exercised in the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights of Damares Alves, a position from which she was exonerated on December 30, 2022.
“We left a well-planted seed”, she says when asked about how her four years of work in the federal government were undone after the Lula government took office. Angela celebrates the way in which the agenda in defense of the family has come to stand out in various state and municipal departments throughout Brazil and how it is sought after by municipalities to pass on the programs to strengthen family ties that were carried out during the Bolsonaro government.
Legal manager of the Federation of Agriculture and Livestock of the State of São Paulo (Faesp), she is leading the strengthening of family ties for women in agriculture in the state and will officially sign a technical partnership next week with the Secretariat of Policies for Women of the Tarcísio de Freitas government. This is the Semeadoras do Agro program, which recently completed one year and aims to encourage entrepreneurship and train women in agribusiness in the 645 municipalities of São Paulo.
In an interview with Gazeta do Povo, Angela spoke about the plans for the state of São Paulo and how she is working at an international level to maintain the strength of the Geneva Consensus Declarationan agreement signed during the Bolsonaro and Trump governments that aims to maintain the autonomy of countries in pro-life policies and in defense of the family.
Is the work in defense of the family carried out by the Secretariat during the Bolsonaro government somehow preserved by the Lula government?
Everything that the Family Secretariat was doing in the Bolsonaro government has changed. The only thing we are still trying to preserve, but still haven’t been able to, is the Strong Families program within the scope of the current National Secretariat for Drug Policies (Senad) of the Ministry of Justice, which works to prevent risky behavior.
How do you evaluate the changes made to the Ministry of Women by the Lula government?
The new government came in with great animosity, considering everything an inheritance from the other government and not thinking about the benefits that our programs could be causing. This is not thinking about the common good. It’s a shame, they took everyone away from Bolsonaro and at the same time discontinued the public policy that was well evaluated. We took advantage of a lot of people from the other management when we entered, because we need someone who understands and learns to dialogue. They put people who don’t have the technicality of that position, but just share that idea. In relation to policies in defense of the family and women, they came up with an ideology that defends women as an opposition. It is also very sad that the changes in the Ministry of Health took away all pro-life initiatives.
How are the projects in defense of the family carried out by the Secretariat for Women during the Bolsonaro government being continued, despite the extinction of the portfolio?
Every family public policy has, par excellence, the sole objective of strengthening the family bond. It is not assistance or giving things to the family, but helping them to structure their relationships to strengthen them economically and socially. These are challenges such as balancing work and family, technology in the family, all aimed at a better family bond. I am grateful to have worked a lot with municipalities and, for better or worse, public policies will not be discontinued in this area. Municipalities are taking, for example, the Strong Families Program. My team and I are sought after and we manage to convey the idea of the program, we have the backups and we offer what is on the internet. The evaluation of the program by Unifesp was very positive.
How are the programs being implemented in cities and states?
During our management, many family secretariats emerged, as recently in the government of Santa Catarina and in the municipality of Barueri. Some are being constituted, as is the case of Osasco. The policy reached the heart of the municipalities, they made the family a transversal policy in education, social assistance, mental health, all of this was taken as awareness.
We saw that families got stronger and started to have a voice to fight for what they wanted, they started to go to school and say what they want for their children’s education.
We noticed that the greatest agents of family dramas are the parents who do not pay due attention to their children because they are in an intense virtual and work life. We were able to leave our mark and, through various departments of the family, take our programs to all states in Brazil, both Familias Fortes and Reconnecte, to raise awareness about access to children’s content on the internet. We are highly sought after to continue taking these programs to schools.
What are the family’s defense plans for the state of São Paulo?
I want to keep these projects as a public policy for the private sector, where we even have more freedom to do it, people have the will, there is no competitiveness and political interest. I see that Faesp, of which I am the legal and institutional relations manager, is upright and really wants to offer all of this to the front. We are going to help many families through the National Rural Learning Service (Senar), Faesp’s education arm. During the pandemic, family farming proved to be an essential aspect and we want to leverage the family farmer, provide greater food security for Brazil and the world and do this by strengthening bonds. I see that this is a way to eradicate poverty in the countryside.
How can this be done?
People often think that the family agenda is religious morality, but it is a political philosophy agenda because the path to eradicating poverty begins in the family.
Aristotle said that the economy is within the family, that is, the economy begins in the family, people work for the family and project themselves for the family. We are already working on strengthening bonds and projecting women in the agro from the family, not with opposition, but with composition. May she also be a co-provider, co-producer, co-educator. We are going to work on this agenda together with Sonaira Fernandes, who is at the Tarcísio government’s Women’s Secretariat, and next week sign a technical cooperation agreement in the Semeadoras do Agro program, which in one year reached 2,500 women.
How will this partnership work in practice?
Many times we do without human training and go straight to practical training, and the person does not even know what the purpose of it is, what he is doing and why he is doing it, which leaves him without a motivation that leads him to stay and grow in the project. Senar provides this human formation. Last week we presented the Familias Fortes program, which has a methodology that we brought from Oxford and consists of seven meetings with families and children to strengthen the bond. Everything we talk about will be taken in formation for the agro families. We will address entrepreneurship, human relations and family succession programs, because there are cases in which women lose land and end up leaving the business due to lack of knowledge. We will also address violence itself, how to defend yourself. Semeadoras do Agro is the training of women so that they can have capacity, economic autonomy and be a projection both outside and inside, exercising their role in the family, having their recognition and space in the agro.
You played an important role in creating the Geneva Consensus Declaration (Geneva Consensus Declaration). How can the withdrawal of Brazil’s signature by the new government weaken it?
This statement was born in 2020 during the pro-life administration and in defense of the Bolsonaro and Trump family, then heads of two countries of continental dimensions that defended these values. When Trump left, Biden removed the United States from the declaration and Brazil became the secretariat of the Geneva Consensus. When we lost the elections in Brazil, I offered to transfer to Hungary the secretariat that Brazil had in the Declaration. Last year we celebrated in Washington two years of the Geneva Consensus, I gave my speech in the Senate and we have already passed on to the ambassador on mission in Hungary to represent us. But regardless, we opened the Geneva Consensus, which previously could only be represented by states, to individuals, parliamentarians, academics from schools and NGOs. We realize that the world is pro-life and works in defense of the family, and that a lot of money is actually dedicated to abortionist agendas, family separation, drug trafficking.
Last week, federal deputy Carla Zambelli and the secretary of Policies for Women, Sonaira Fernandes, were at the UN to defend the Declaration. How will this work continue?
Deputy Carla Zambelli represented us and spoke about the importance of the Geneva Consensus. We want to continue working in the international sphere and now in the CSW, which is the Commission on the Status of Women in the UN. We will continue to seek allies and organize events to clarify what happens at the UN and international organizations, which defend guidelines that are utilitarian and make human beings a means to other ends.
There really is a lot of instrumentalization. The UN guidelines only carry money and this is very clear because I heard it from an ambassador in New York.
There is power behind guidelines such as abortion, sex education in schools, sex change, which are things they recognize as a state right. Laboratories earn horribly, there is a lot of money from hypersexualization, the LGBTI industry and drug trafficking in these agendas. We are not giving money for anything, but I believe in the ability of human beings to be human, so I can’t be pessimistic. We need to do a herculean job of information, but we don’t have that much money to reach as many places as we would like to reach. We’ve heard people say “oh, you guys built a job for four years and suddenly it’s all gone”. It is not gone, the seed is well planted.