Eduardo in Turn of the Tide has been a rather underwhelming character for us. He lacked the decisive charm of a leader, of a person balancing multiple things in a quest to reach greater heights. In some parts, maybe it was the company he kept. There were Silvia and Rafael, two people who, as a couple and even as individuals, lacked common sense. Carlinhos was the better person of the lot, and we actually saw a more fun side of Eduardo in his interactions with him. But at the end of the day, Eduardo wanted what anybody else would do: a better life and some good opportunities in life. Eduardo’s life had been spent worrying about money. He had to drop out of school so that he could earn a living by fishing, possibly when his father started going blind. We are not sure of the timeline, but we are guessing that he had already lost his mother by then. Uncle Joe had said to Jeremias that if he had continued working in America, they would have been able to afford treatment for Fatima. This means that it was poverty that killed her. When Jeremias started going blind, and they did not have money for his treatment, Eduardo had to grab the fishing gear because Jeremias was in no position to work either. Poverty multiplies by compound interest, and by not completing his schooling, Eduardo has continued the cycle. But what else could he do when there was no food at home?
Eduardo worked hard throughout his life. He wanted to go to America to make a life for himself and finally live well. But his visa kept getting rejected because he was not a high school graduate. As for his father’s surgery, that kept getting delayed by the mistakes and carelessness of the public health system. Eduardo could not leave Jeremias helpless, but all the doors were closing in his face. That is when the tide turned in his favor, and he came across the drugs. Eduardo was ready to risk everything because he was finally seeing the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. The money from the drugs paid for his father’s operation and finally relieved Eduardo of one of his biggest responsibilities. Before things went south, his father’s good health meant that Eduardo was free to only think about himself; he could finally be selfish.
There was a fundamental difference in the way Eduardo and Jeremias thought, and that shaped a lot of the former’s actions in Turn of the Tide. Jeremias placed principles above all else, whereas Eduardo was of the opinion that they could not afford to have morals, to begin with. We don’t know Jeremiah’s past, as in his ambitions, his parent’s conditions, or how much freedom he had to follow his heart. He may have been just as poor, but he was probably not pushed into a corner the way Eduardo was. When Jeremias’ wife, Fatima, became sick, it is reasonable to assume that he stayed moral, either because that opportunity never opened up for him or because his wife would have preferred the same. It is also a matter of how satisfied he was in life. Joe says to Eduardo that people like them want to explore the world and achieve everything they can. Jeremias was not that person; hence, he was happy with the little he had. Yet that did not stop him from expressing his expectations of Eduardo. Jeremias did not push him career-wise but said a few times that he knew that Eduardo would find a way to arrange his operation. Jeremias may have been trying to encourage him, and Eduardo probably understood, but his waiting ambitions meant that the responsibility just grew heavier on his shoulders.
Jeremias once had the chance to be a millionaire; if only he had taken the opportunity to be Feliciano’s business partner. Let us suppose that his lack of faith in the business was a stroke of bad luck. But what followed involved a level of obstinacy. Feliciano had been involved in a robbery, and Joe had gone to jail for him. This meant that Feliciano owed something to Joe and his family. That is why he came forward himself to help Jeremias with the surgery. Feliciano might have been a crook, but he had the honor of paying back his debt. Jeremias, however, was not ready to accept it. He was ready to live a life without dignity just so that he could meet God with some dignity when he died. Feliciano’s help must have meant that Jeremias’ eyes would be healed, and Eduardo could leave on a ship to America, probably through the legal route. But Jeremias was too proud, and Eduardo had to continue with the drugs. Honestly, we blame neither Jeremias nor Eduardo for their actions and decisions. They were both right in their own way because that is what poverty does—it pushes out morals in favor of sustenance.
But when Jeremias dies, Eduardo couldn’t help but think about the kind of life his father had envisioned for him. He wanted his son to walk the path of righteousness so that he could live with his head held high. Unlike Feliciano, Jeremias did not want his son to live a life paying off the debts he would incur if he strayed from the right path. After all, drugs were a dirty business, and they caused more harm than good.
Eduardo leaving behind the drugs with Joe was not just about practicality. It is possible that he was leaving behind the thing that had wreaked such havoc in his life. In all his moments of dilemma, Eduardo had followed the teachings of the Father that God did everything for a reason. But when Eduardo saw the lives the drugs and his ambition were taking, he knew he had to stop. He had lost Rafael and his father; he had ruined his and Silvia’s relationship, and Carlinhos had been on the verge of dying. Maybe it was time to let go. It wasn’t just temporary practicality but the desire to protect the people he loved that led Eduardo to abandon the drugs in Turn of the Tide.