Ten Facts that Brazil and the World Should Know

The demand for the destitution of President Dilma Rousseff has nothing to do with the Lava Jato operation, nor with any other initiative to combat corruption.

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It is important that we inform all Brazilian men and women, we must report in such a clear and objective manner, that even the wooden figureheads on the bows of the boats on the San Francisco River, will understand that:


1. The request for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff has nothing to do with what is known as the “Car Wash” or “Lava Jato” operation, nor with any other initiative undertaken to fight against corruption. Dilma is not accused of stealing a single penny. The pretext used by the opposition politicians to try to overthrow her government is the so-called “fiscal backpedaling” procedure, which is a procedure of routine public budget management at all levels of government – federal, state and municipal – and was adopted by the administrations of Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Lula Da Silva without any problems. She simply put money from the “Caixa Economica” Federal Savings Bank into social programs, in order to close the accounts and then, within the next year, she returned the money to the Caixa Economica. She did not get any personal benefit and not even her worst enemies can accuse her of a corrupt act.


2. This is precisely why the request for impeachment constitutes a coup d’état, because a president can only be removed if he or she is found to have committed a crime -and as a crime did not occur, so far, Dilma’s name has not been presented in any corruption investigations: not even the slightest suspicion against her exists.


3. Unlike President Dilma, the politicians calling for her dismissal are corrupt and are as dirty as they come.  Eduardo Cunha (PMDB- RJ) who, as chairman of the House is responsible for the impeachment process, has received more than 52 million Brazilian Rs. (BR$) from corrupt schemes undertaken in Petrobras, plus he has millions deposited in secret accounts in Switzerland and other tax havens. Of the 65 members of the Parliamentary Commission that will investigate the request for impeachment 37 (more than half!) are under the watchful eye of the Justice Department and are being investigated for corruption. If they manage to depose the president, in exchange they expect to see the charges against them for the fraud they have committed dropped.


4. The PSDB, the party that leads the campaign for impeachment, is the opposition party that was defeated in the presidential elections of 2014. Their presidential candidate, Aecio Neves, through his political manipulations and connections, is trying to achieve an outcome that he was not able to achieve through the electoral process thus disrespecting the vote of those 54,499,901 Brazilian men and women who voted for Dilma (3.4% more voters than those obtained by Aecio in the second round vote in 2014).


5. If the coup is allowed to succeed, the opposition will put into play all the elitist and authoritarian proposals that Aecio planned to implement if he had won the election. The post –coup president will surely change labor laws to the detriment of wage workers ; he will annul the policy that supports the adjustment of minimum wage to cost of living; he will implement an unbridled privatization of the work force; he will hand over all Brazilian oil reserves in the pre-salt to transnational corporations (as advocated by Senator José Serra); he will privatize Bank of Brasil and Caixa Economica Federal; he will eliminate free public higher education and introduce tuition-based education in federal universities, as a first step towards privatization; he will repress social movements and freedom of expression on the Internet; he will expel the Cuban doctors who work in the program “More Doctors”; he will give the green light for agribusiness corporations to acquire indigenous land; he will eliminate the independent foreign policy, thus reducing Brazil to being a servant of the United States.  It is all of this that is at stake, much more than President Dilma’s current administration or Lula’s political future, at stake in the battle against impeachment.


6. It is a mistake to imagine that the economy will improve after an eventual change in the presidency of the Republic. All the factors that have led the country to the current crisis will continue to exist, with the addition of many aggravating factors. Political instability will be the rule. The leaders of the current push toward a coup d’état will fight each other for power as piranhas around a piece of meat. And Dilma will be replaced by a weak political figure, Michel Temer, who is more interested in securing his future (most certainly a chair on the Federal Supreme Court) and protecting himself from accusations of corruption than in governing effectively. Inflation will continue increasing as well as unemployment.


7. Politically, Brazil will freefall into a chaotic period of instability. The overthrow of an elected president, legitimized by the electoral and popular vote will lead the country, for the first time since the end of the military regime, to have an illegitimate president as head of the Executive and one whose legitimacy is challenged by a great portion of the society.


8. Conflict will set the tone of social life. Fascist tendencies, emboldened by the coup, will feel free  act on their violent impulses, those that have been expressed symbolically through the images of dolls wearing the MST cap or the PT star that are hung in effigy, but, more specifically they will carry out invasions and attacks on unions and political parties; savage attacks on people whose only crime is wearing a red shirt. The current leader of the extreme right-wing sector, Deputy Jair Bolsonaro, has openly proposed, in a public event in favor of the impeachment, that every rancher should carry a rifle to kill MST militants.


9. Unions and social movements will not stand idly in the face of such cruelty of the right –wing sectors and their corporate leaders, nor in the face of attacks to dismantle the social rights won during the last two decades. They will resist by all means – strikes, land occupations, roadblocks, building take-overs, and more. Brazil will once again become a torn country because of the irresponsibility and uncontrolled ambition of half a dozen greedy politicians incapable of reaching power through the popular vote. That’s what awaits us if the coup against President Dilma is consummated.


10. But this won’t happen. The mobilization of citizens in defense of legality and democracy is growing, with the participation of more and more people and movements; regardless of political affiliations, religious beliefs and whether or not they support official policies. Our views on the PT or on Dilma’s government are no longer what matters. What is at stake is democracy, respect for elections and the right to vote, and the constitutional provision that prohibits the application of impeachment without the existence of a crime to justify this extreme measure. More and more Brazilians are realizing this and taking to the streets against coup mongers.


Everyone’s Participation is essential, in every corner of Brazil. We all need to take to the streets in defense of legality, of the Constitution and social rights. All together! Fascism shall not pass! There will be NO coup!


(Translation: María Aguiar)


- Igor Fuser is Professor of International Relations in the Federal University of ABC (UFABC).


Photo: Lula Marques




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