Word of the Week - plus55
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

PINGUELA

Pinguela is a rudimentary bridge made from wood branches. It normally doesn’t have lateral protection, thus providing an unsafe crossing

Etymology

As author Emmanuel de Jesus Saraiva writes in his book A Influência Africana na Cultura Brasileira (literally “The African influence in Brazilian culture), the origins of the term pinguela are disputed. Some linguists believe that the word comes from mpingu, which means “tree trunk” in the African language kongo (or kikongo).

However, dictionaries from Portugal claim that the term derives from the Spanish word pihuela, which means “thick piece of wood.”

Political meaning

Last year, Michel Temer launched a political program called “A Bridge Towards The Future.” It was a document to draw support from economic elites to oust former President Dilma Rousseff. While markets perceived Rousseff as an incompetent and centralizing manager, Temer wanted to present himself as a business-friendly solution.

His bridge towards the future would rely heavily on privatizations and would improve Brazil’s business environment.

In December, former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who had previously supported Temer, called his administration a “pinguela.” Cardoso was right. Temer’s bridge towards the future has never offered more than an unsafe crossing between Dilma Rousseff and a new government.

In theory, Brazil will choose a new president in October, 2018. But Temer might not last that long.

Only one year after taking office, Temer could lose his office due to a corruption scandal. The president appears in a highly compromising audio recording with a notoriously corrupt businessman. Plus, even prior to the scandal, Temer seemed poised to break all records of unpopularity.

The Superior Electoral Court launches an unrelated trial in June that could also unseat the president. The court will rule whether the Dilma Rousseff-Michel Temer 2014 re-election campaign won the race thanks to corruption money. All evidence so far points to “yes.”

Turns out that the pinguela might not hold for long.

MORE WORDS OF THE WEEK

May 17PINDAÍBA
May 11ANTROPOFAGIA
May 03QUILOMBO
April 21TIRADENTES
April 12LARÁPIO
April 05CHACINA