Opinion: Backfire in Brazil

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Opinion: Backfire in Brazil

Written by Vinicius (Master in Economics, International Trade and Finance) exclusively for SouthFront

The latest events in Brazil have proved surprising as the largest corruption scandal in the country´s history continues to unfold and now threatens the continuation of the president´s current term.

Abundant evidence has been presented against many leaders of the Worker´s Party – PT, including the former president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, known in Brazil as Lula. A long list of charges comprising the utilization of public positions to gain benefits and money laundering have this week prompted a local judge, Sergio Moro, to determine the forceful conduction of the former president to testify.

This event opened the Pandora´s box, as the militants of the Worker´s Party perceived that as a direct attack on their main leader. Movements were organized both by supporters of PT and the ones that oppose it.

Nevertheless, the situation got more complicated as it became clear that there was a real risk that justice would determine the ex-president´s preemptive arrest. The solution found by Dilma Roussef, the current president, also from PT, was to name the ex-president chief of staff, as this would entitle Lula to judgment by the Supreme Court, where most ministers (Supreme Court judges) were chosen by either Lula or Dilma.

This strategy greatly backfired. The very unsatisfied population of the country took to the streets and protests even turned violent in Brazil. Also, the judiciary branch felt offended by Lula´s defiant comments which were made public in phone taps released by judge Moro, who is becoming a national hero in the eyes of the population.

The country´s largest media outlets are clearly promoting the dissatisfaction as they do not refrain from making public all available information about the authority´s misconduct. PT leaders therefore claim that the media is engaged in a coup attempt and that all this dissatisfaction is managed from abroad; by the USA.

As much as it is clear that America throughout history has been involved in many “color revolutions”, it is also true that PT managed to break up the Brazilian society with the demonization of the business class, the middle class, career professionals, whites, males, heterosexuals, and Christians. Never has the country seen such hatred and division in its society and, unequivocally, this provides fertile ground for protests, especially when it becomes clear how deeply in illegal actions the PT administration is involved.

Moreover, incompetence of the self-proclaimed left leaning government of Dilma Roussef, that, contradictorily, maintains a very friendly environment for foreign capital and market speculators, with the world´s highest interest rate, has caused a steep rise in unemployment and the greatest recession in the country´s recent history.

For Brazilians it is shocking to learn that the options presented by the great political forces of the country are a neoliberal government concerned only with austerity and, in the other end, a corrupt leftist government that stalled production and development and installed a de facto opinion dictatorship, electing as national enemies the working people, traditional families, whites, and religious institutions. Not surprisingly, new political forces are appearing. One of them is Bolsonaro, an ex-military, with a Strong nationalistic rhetoric who fought both the neoliberals and the leftists in the last 20 years.

As the country waits for the fate of Lula, Dilma´s term is also endangered, as public pressure forced the country´s congress to start the impeachment process. It is very difficult to predict what will happen, however, if PT escapes prosecution or Dilma is maintained in power, there may be a break in the country´s institutions and even an action of force either by the population or the military. I have never seen anything like this in the last 40 years.

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  • Zenith Nadir

    Get real! This is right wing’s propaganda! No charges were presented against Lula, because no evidence has been gathered until now – it means TWO YEARS of total investigation against him has resulted in NO evidence. Opposition against the government is financed by big companies, and a daily cycle of bad news – many of them outright invention – are concocted by the few media companies in the country in order to destabilize the government.
    Artists and intellectuals are almost all against this tentative coup d’etat. Teachers and professors too. This piece is pure anti-democratic propaganda.

  • Paulo

    The President Dilma Rousseff has been the subject of systematic attacks from opposition politicians, the mainstream media and conservative sectors of society since the official announcement of her victory in the second round of the elections of 2014. At first, even before the
    President was appointed in Office, the opposition starts a campaign to spread disbelief about the reliability of the verification of the votes and the regularity of the computerized voting system. In unprecedented action since the deployment of electronic voting (1996), the Supreme Electoral Court authorizes the audit claimed by the defeated candidate, without demonstration of evidence of fraud. As soon as this first attempt to derail the Government elected failed, the candidate of the opposition, unhappy with the defeat, calls on the brazilian population out to the streets to call for the resignation of the President, accused of abuse of public accounts to win an election. The main organizers of the protest movements self-defined as “non-partisan and spontaneous”, with conservative policy guidance and financed by large national and international corporations, free-market advocates, want the impeachment. At the beginning of the year of 2015, the coalition of the defeated candidate asks the Electoral Court the impeachment of the mandate of the President and the Vice President, alleging abuse of political and economic power during the campaign (at the end of the same year, the action is accepted by the Supreme Electoral Court – so far not judged).

    During the year of 2015, the opposition intensifies attacks. It is the time when Petrobras becomes the target of the biggest operation against corruption ever held in the country – made possible precisely because of the transparency and control measures adopted over the years the Workers Party was governing the country. The large private media promotes the actions of Judge Sergio Moro – in charge of the proceedings from the police investigations – as a show for the masses. This is done through selective and partial coverage of the facts, accompanied by derogatory comments against the Government and stigmatizing in relation to their supporters. Large communication groups clearly engaged in deconstructing one of the sides of the political dispute and strengthening the other side, promoting the idea that the workers party is responsible for the structural corruption in Brazil. Those groups reduce the size of the demonstrations in favor of the Government and
    hide the nuances and complexity of the political moment, placing themselves among the rotagonists of the campaign “Out, Dilma!”.

    Still in 2015, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, investigated for involvement in the corruption scheme of Petrobras and accused in criminal action for receiving bribery in accounts in Switzerland, receives the request for impeachment based on 1) in so-called “tax cycling” (2015), presented as credit operations between the Union and the public banks (Banco do Brazil, Caixa Economica Federal and BNDES), and 2) in six decrees not numbered and
    responsible for opening credits, without legislative authorization. None of the two actions, however, considers the constitutional requirement of offense to the budget law to set up crime of responsibility, the only situation in which the Brazilian legal system allows the processing of the process of impeachment.

    Eduardo Cunha, still not removed from his position by the Ethics Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, remains untouched as the President of that House. In this condition, with the support of the opposition defeated at the polls in 2014, he is about to conduct the first and most important phase of the impeachment process. On the other side, subject to cassation, without any evidence, investigation or prosecution of tax evasion or property and values misinformation to the IRS, is President Dilma Roussef, who has no offshore account, who did not figure on any list of politicians involved with the corruption of Petrobras, who was not pointed in any snitch for receiving or offering bribes who is not accused or investigated in any police or criminal procedure. In one of the sides the principle of presumption of innocence; on the other side, the presumption of guilt as a political rule of the moment. Even worse is the fact that the Special Commission of the impeachment process
    in the Congress is formed mostly by politicians who, arguably, have received campaign donations from companies that appear in the investigation of deviations at Petrobras. Members of this Special Committee are investigated in the same police operation in course.

    Brazil lives a moment of great apprehension and suffering. On the streets and social networks, hatreds are distilled to those calling for the defense of democracy or of the right. Ordinary citizens or
    public figures who do not participate in the “false consensus” produced by the opposition became the target of attacks by people stimulated by the conservative and dominant media, clearly interested in the reversal of the polls. President Dilma is object of offenses, including gender offenses, through macho and misogynistic jokes and insults. Political allies, by personal or electoral interests, get away from the political support of the Government. Since the election, governance itself is being threatened, many actions are rendered impracticable by the parliamentary majority, in order to promote the economic, social and political crisis that authorizes the speech. The right has been used, by many lawyers or agents of the justice system, as a political instrument of reversing the result of the polls, in flagrant abandonment of elementary principles provided in various judicial instances.

    In this scenario, it is highly worrying the prospect of disruption of the democratic order and the violation of popular sovereignty through abuse of power. Or, in other words, by the exercise of a
    power that does submit to the Laws. The lack of factual basis valid for motivation of the peachment, the use of political judgments, vague and imprecise, and the breach of the constitutional principle of legality are the means and tools which characterize what you might call a “legislative coup”, “white coup” or “covert coup” (the deposition of Fernando Lugo, President of Paraguay in 2012, although not an isolated case in Latin America , illustrates well the application of this political judgement, for deposition of the Chief of the Executive Power in the Presidential System: “Bad Political rformance”). However, in the presidential regime, the trial about the political performance of the
    authorized representative should be done by the citizens, through regular
    elections and direct vote, never by the Legislative, failing which of breaking
    of the Democratic State of Law.

    The complete text could be read here (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B25Hqzc_ozMGRXQ3Y0IyVnRGM2M/view?pref=2&pli=1)

    • E Al

      Much like in the U.S. the losing party rather than working with the winning party resorts to bitter obstructionist resentment caring less about their obligation to represent the rule of the people who elected them. So, to lose and then obstruct reveals you care only about your vested interest corporate owners who have bought the government buying you to the extent you will halt and stall history from proceeding if you cannot be greedily self serving and autocrat bureaucrat scum. Bitter ignorant losers who should be hanged.

  • Paulo Oliveira
  • E Al

    It seems unfair to persecute Rousseff and her party for participating in a continuum of corruption that likely preceded their control of power and in previous cycles the corruption likely benefited her current enemies who just trying to win back the defacto ‘right to steal’ when a party is ruling party in Brazil.

  • E Al

    Lula did not seem to profit very much at all compared to the capitalists involved in the so called corruption. A couple of nice apartments near the beach, big deal.

  • E Al

    The backlash will be another coalition coming to power just as ineffective and impotent as the current party in the face of a commodity driven economy in a slack demand deflation world. And a country where the rich of any party, the so called ‘ruling’ class does nothing to improve the lot of at least %95 of their Brazilian people to anything above abject poverty. The next round sown by the west meddling in this round will solidify deposing the ruling class from all parties in reaction to ‘no one can do anything’ as we stand robbed and exploited shamelessly since the birth of the Nation.

  • Boris

    Zenith Nadir you’re an idiot or just completely ignorant – possibly just wanting to spread misinformation. Either way, just shut up.
    The evidence is overwhelming. Lula, Dilma and all of those PT criminals are plundering Brazil. They should all be hanged by treason. Unfortunately this is not possible.