What Is Happening In Brazil?

What Is Happening In Brazil?

By Joshua Tartakovsky, 17 April 2016

The perception we get from the media on what is happening in Brazil is rather simple:

The people of Brazil are finally rising up against a corrupt government and demanding the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, who is guilty of corruption. This is a welcomed development. Anyone who supports democracy in Brazil and proper governance should welcome this. Finally, Brazilians had enough of corruption demand good governance.

But is that what is really happening?

The Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, is being accused by her opponents, of taking money from private banks before the budget review to cover up a gap in the budget. This money was meant to be repaid later. According to one opinion, the money was to be used for a social program ofBolsa Familia, which provides poor families with basic funding if they send their children to school. This social policy came after decades of neglect and abuse of the poor majority of Brazil. Brazil’s new social policies benefited at least 36 million Brazilians.

There is an ongoing investigation on corruption regarding Petrobras – Brazil’s oil and gas company which spans politicians all cross the political spectrum, but Dilma is not tied to this episode. Furthermore, Petrobras has been tied to corruption for decades, well into the years of the military dictatorship and since.

Either way, the action taken by Dilma was not illegal nor was it a crime.

However, the President of the Deputies House, Eduardo Cunha, who himself is accused of corruption, was the one who launched the call for Dilma’s formal impeachment. Journalist Glenn Greenwald said about Cunha that: “The evidence of him being involved in corruption is overwhelming. They discovered his Swiss bank accounts with millions of dollars he can’t explain. He clearly lied to Congress when he denied having offshore bank accounts.”

Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer of Brazilian Democratic Movement Party – PMDB left the government, calling for Dilma’s impeachment. And of course Aécio Neves of the right-wing and neoliberal Brazilian Social Democrat Party – PSDB – who lost the elections to Dilma one year ago- is actively pushing for Dilma’s impeachment and presenting her as the epitome of corruption. Neves is suspected of engaged in drug-trafficking and of building a private airport through the use of public money.

Now, it is not only that a majority of those who will vote for her impeachment on Sunday are themselves guilty of corruption. It is that a significant power structure of the country is mobilizing for the impeachment of Dilma although not only has she not been convicted yet but the act itself that she is accused of is not a crime.


Voting in favor, the Green men (those with blackheads are accused of corruption, or are corrupt): 38 deputies, 35 are corrupt.  Voting against impeachment, the Redmen: 27 deputies, two are corrupt. Source: Verdade sem manipulação

The Brazilian media giants Globo, Veja, and others have been inciting the people to demand Dilma’s impeachment although she has not been found guilty. The police have encouraged anti-government protests while firing tear gas and rubber bullets at pro-government protests. The metro has been made free on days of anti-government protests.

A clear impression of how one-sided things have become can be gained by the fact that a federal judge, Sergio Moro, took upon himself to release a private conversation that was illegally recorded between Dilma and Brazil’s former president Lula. Moro is not a tabloid reporter. He is a judge in Brazil’s court system. And yet he released the recording.

Meanwhile, corrupt senior politicians have been arrested and threatened unless they ‘snitch’ on the governing party PT.  At the same time, the New York Times provided as sympathetic coverage for corrupt politicians, such as  Delcidio do Amaral, while leaving Dilma and Lula in the dark and creating the impression that they are the real culprits.

Brazil’s military dictatorship ended only in 1985. A key signature of a mature democracy is not the use of false pretenses to impeach unlikeable politicians, nor the politicization of the judiciary.

But what is taking place then is a well-organised comprehensive plan to dispose Dilma from the presidency although she received 52% of the vote in the elections one year ago and although she has not been charged.

Needless to say, this is a clearly anti-democratic move which places Brazilian’s fragile democracy in danger.

What is even more disturbing is that the US corporate media has fully joined the opposition, demanding the illegal impeachment of Dilma even though she has not been convicted.

An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal argues that: “The effort to impeach President Dilma Rousseff is a sign of a maturing democracy.”  But actually impeaching a president before her crime has been proven is illegal! It is anti-democratic. And the act Dilma is accused of is not a crime according to most experts.

It is true that over a million people took to the streets protesting against Dilma in the largest protests in Brazil’s modern history since the dictatorship. But hundreds of thousands protested for Dilma and many of her supporters live in impoverished areas of the country. Democracy does not mean that if a million people go to the street, a president must leave the office. By that logic Obama should have left already.

It is not hard to imagine why the western financial forces want Dilma out. A right-wing government in Brazil will sell out Petrobras’ entirely, sell off whatever’s left of the pre-sal fields, shift back into a pro-US alliance in which Brazilian workers lose their rights, allow a US corporate takeover, and weaken the BRICS and the emergence of a multipolar world.

Dilma’s impeachment as well as the talk about corruption in Petrobras will allow for selling off the company to foreign bidders rapidly and will also devalue its worth.[1]

It is only in this vein that the dishonest way with which the western media has been portraying the crisis in Brazil can make more sense. The western corporate media wishes to dispose of Dilma so the country can be bought out for cheap.

The BBC noted, for example, that:

“But one of the measures taken by Ms Rousseff and her team back in 2014 was deemed illegal by a federal court that analyzes federal accounts.” But Dilma’s actions have not been denounced as a crime by a court and this statement gives a false impression that she has been already convicted.

It is true that even if Dilma is impeached, if elections are held in 2018, Lula will win. However,  by then the country can be sold-off, and his recent detention by the police reveals that not only is he not invincible but that he has powerful enemies who may stop at nothing to ensure he’s no longer effective.

The one-sided way in which the American and British media have joined the effort to impeach Dilma, reveals that not only do they have little regard for Brazil’s democracy, but also that they fail to adhere to the law of the land and are seeking to sabotage Brazil’s sovereignty.

The question remains whether the Brazilian people will allow Dilma’s impeachment to take place despite the fact that this appears as a well-coordinated coup to remove her from power.


[1]In the same note it should be mentioned, as Pedro Marin argued in GIAnalytics earlier, that Dilma did not take strong enough actions to protect Petrobras in the past, and Lula seems ignorant of the global crisis of capitalism by arguing that Dilma did the best she can when in fact she should have taken on protectionism and isolated Brazil from the global economy. After all, Brazil can supply its needs. His claim that Workers Party (PT) is not a radical left one but is in the tradition of the German SPD and the UK’s Labour, further reveals a lack of understanding of the degree of the crisis we are in, when the SPD, for example, adopted an openly neoliberal agenda not that dissimilar from Merkel’s CDU.