The Uncertain Future for Latin America’s Giants

Darko Lazar

In 2015, Latin America, and specifically Mexico and Brazil, slipped into a recession. According to The World Bank, economic growth slumped to 0.9% – the lowest in 30 years, with the exception of the 2009 economic crisis. This led numerous analysts to conclude that the region’s 2003-2013 ‘Decada Dorada’, or the Golden Decade, was over.

The Uncertain Future for Latin America's Giants

These ‘golden’ years can be attributed to high commodity prices, cheap credit and investment in developing markets, accompanied by a political agenda that steered the region toward China and away from the US and the EU.

Since then, however, investment across the board has shrunk by 7.7%, unemployment is rising, the budget deficit rose to 6.9% of GDP, while the currencies of both Brazil and Mexico weakened against the US dollar by over 30% and 27% respectively.

The demise of hope

Brazil is the world’s 11th largest economy, while Mexico recently fell to 14th place. But according to economists, Mexico is third from last when it comes to the distribution of wealth, with Brazil bringing up the rear in last place.

Efforts by numerous governments have failed to address this issue. To make matters worse, the recent spike in inflation has further reduced the incomes of members of the working class.

Following a relative period of prosperity in the two countries, workers rights – freedom, justice, and equality – are now in danger of disappearing virtually overnight. And yet the vast majority of political parties, especially those in power, have made no attempt to reform their policies.

The dangerous and often incompetent internal strategies, coupled with foreign meddling, have driven the two Latin American giants – both in terms of size and economy – into uncharted territory.

The consequence is despair among millions of people, which is increasing the prospects of instability and unrest.
The Trump effect

The outcome of the US presidential election, which resulted in a victory for Donald Trump, is likely to have a tremendous impact on both Mexico and Brazil.

Trump’s campaign rhetoric promising to build a wall along the US-Mexico border and swiftly deport undocumented workers and illegal residents has understandably caused a great deal of anxiety across Latin America.

Out of the 33.7 million Hispanics of Mexican origin currently residing in the US, 11.4 million are immigrants born in Mexico – of whom the vast majority are undocumented. Meanwhile, there are currently 1.3 million Brazilians living in the US and most of them are also illegal.

Interestingly, it’s not so much the implementation of these policies that threatens to be the biggest burden for Mexico and Brazil, but rather the influence of Trump’s political rivals in those countries, who are now mobilizing their assets to undermine his presidency.

According to leading Mexican newspaper La Jornada, Trump’s victory does not translate into ‘tranquility’, but the continuation of the battle.

Such statements fall directly in line with efforts by allies of the Clinton clan in Canada, who are reportedly laying the groundwork for an influx of Mexican migrants from the US. These developments will then be beamed across the world as an example of how detrimental the Trump presidency can be.

Canada’s CBS News recently reported that in “preparing for a potential surge in Mexican migrants coming to Canada after Donald Trump’s election victory… high-level meetings took place… with officials at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and in other departments”.

The government in Ottawa is simultaneously preparing to lift a visa requirement for Mexicans on December 1, which has been in place since 2009.

These political maneuvers will likely suck in other Latin American states, including Argentina – where an exponent of the Clintons, Mauricio Macri, is already in power – as well as Peru and Colombia.

In 2018, both Mexico and Brazil will be electing new heads of state. The Clintons and their allies are certain to try and manipulate this process in the hope of strengthening their influence and intensifying their efforts against Trump.

The deteriorating economic conditions in the two states are a major asset for the foreign actors. Although those conditions were largely brought about by a fall in global oil prices, political corruption and incompetent governance have played a major role.

But much of the mainstream media is now attributing the years-long economic crisis across Latin America to Trump’s victory in the US presidential race. Such allegations suggest that the battle for the White House is not just ongoing, but is expanding into regional states.

As such, the power struggle in the US is further complicating the situation in Mexico and Brazil, where the Washington elite commands an enormous amount of influence. That same influence was used to distance Brazil from the BRICS grouping, resulting in the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff earlier this year.

Rousseff’s removal, which was described by the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua as a coup, marked the last phase of Brazil’s development launched under Lula Da Silva at the start of the Golden Decade.

Today’s low oil prices, budget deficit, and Washington’s grand designs for the region have given way to pessimism in both Brazil and Mexico over what the future holds for Latin America’s giants.

Source: Al-Ahed News

19-11-2016 | 07:28

Brazil: The Billion Dollar Coup

Source

By James Petras

Information Clearing House” – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was removed from office through a well-organized, carefully planned operation among the corrupt Brazilian political elite, closely linked to the stock-market, financial institutions and foreign energy companies. This ‘legislative coup d’état ’eliminated the democratically-elected ‘political intermediaries’ and installed a regime directly controlled by the CEOs of leading multi-nationals. The corporate composition of the post-coup regime insured there would be a radical restructuring of the Brazilian economy, with a massive shift from wage support, social spending and public ownership toward profits, a foreign capital take-over of strategic sectors and foreign-domestic elite dominance over the entire economy.

This paper will describe the socio-economic dynamics of the coup and its aftermath, as well as the strategy and program that Brazil’s new rulers will pursue. In the second half of the paper, we will discuss the Workers Party regimes’ policies (under Lulu and Rousseff) that prepared the political and economic ground-work for the right-wing seizure of power.

Socio-Economic Dynamics of the Coup

The overthrow of President Rousseff was organized and implemented by Brazil’s capitalist class for its benefit, even though it had the superficial appearance of a power grab by corrupt politicians.

Rousseff’s Vice-President, Michel Temer, acted as the front-man on behalf of the major investment banks: They set the agenda; he played his part.

Moreover, the principal beneficiaries of the economic giveaways under ‘President’ Temer, most notably the privatization of the energy sector, are clearly foreign capitalists. Once the coup makers lined up the votes among Brazil’s notoriously corrupt Congressmen to oust Rousseff, the multinational corporations emerged from the shadow of the stock market to take control over the levers of power.

In the run-up to the coup, when the so-called ‘impeachment’ was gaining momentum, the shares of the largely state-owned oil company sky-rocketed by 70%. In anticipation of the privatization and sell-off of assets, leading speculators and overseas investment houses seized the moment.

The ‘coup’ was no ‘secretive conspiracy’ – it was an overt, direct capitalist seizure of power. Once installed, it proceeded to dismantle the public sector economy and transfer the jewels of Brazil’s economy to foreign multi-nationals.

Master of Pillage

To ensure that the coup would not deviate from the course set by the capitalist coup-masters, Pedro Parente, ‘one of their own’ and the former head (CEO) of the giant agricultural trader, Bunge, was put in charge of the economy. With dizzying speed, Parente imposed the New Order onto the puppet Temer coup regime. He used a set of phony ‘technocratic’ euphemisms to explain the ongoing plunder of Petrobras, the state oil company.

Parente lowered Petrobras’ public investment sector by 25%, which he called ‘debt reduction’. The brutal programed sell-off of Petrobras’ most valuable assets was described as a ‘deleverage timetable’.

The unelected ‘Privatization Czar Parente’, in effect, ended the state’s role in the Brazilian economy by placing it under the exclusive dictates of private capitalist. The primary beneficiaries will prove to be foreign over national capital.

Parente has undermined the competitiveness of the national manufacturing sector and transport system with a hefty increase in domestic fuel prices. On the surface, he claimed the price increase would ‘raise profits for Petrobras’, obscuring the fact that the oil giant’s public assets had been given over to private capitalists. Meanwhile, Parente privatized the gas stations, ethanol production and distribution, as well as the billion-dollar fertilizer and petro chemical industry. Over $15 billion worth of Brazilian prime public assets were sold off to private, mostly foreign capital, in 2015-2016.

Parente’s onslaught deepened. The ‘grand prize’ was access to its rich off-shore oil fields. By the middle of 2016, a large-scale offshore oil license was sold to the Norwegian multi-national, Statoil, for a mere $2.5 billion.

With Parente in command, the ruling elite is on track to sell-off an additional $20 billion worth of Petrobras assets to foreign capital in 2017-18. The key goal has been to replace the state sector as lead operator in the deep water oil and gas fields.

The ongoing pillage of the Brazil’s huge state energy sector, is only the first course in an orgy of privatization: Infrastructure, transport, utilities and basic state-protected industries are on the chopping block. This private plunder of the state economic jewels accompanies a brutal slashing of public pensions, salaries and wages guarantees as well as public sector budgets for health and education and public workers. In order to reduce corporate taxes, increase profits and attract capital, the coup regime has ordered the cuts by fiat.

Conclusion: Challenges to Capitalist Power

The capitalist class seized state power through the corrupt political and judicial machinations of Brazil’s Vice President and Congressional cronies. The take-over was based on a series of alleged corruption scandals by the Workers Party. The fact that the entire Brazilian congress, most notably the capitalist operatives behind the coup, has been deeply immersed in the scandal over an alleged $15 billion looted from Petrobras, undermines their credibility. In fact, the ousted President Rousseff was cleared of all charges of corruption, while her successor faces ongoing investigations. This tragic comedy exposes that some members of the Workers Party are tiny amateurs in this orgy of capitalist plunder.

The current President Michel Temer is charged with receiving bribes from private contractors. If these investigations undermine his already dubious leadership, the capitalist coup-masters will be forced to call for early election. This will introduce considerable uncertainty about the viability of Privatization Czar Parente’s capitalist power grab.

The regime’s ‘slash and burn’ campaign against wages and pensions has heightened class conflicts within Brazil. The three major labor confederations are preparing for major strikes against a regime of questionable legitimacy.

The business coup has allowed the capitalist class to seize state power and decree its agenda. However it has yet to show it can directly impose its draconian polices aimed at reconcentrating wealth and income for the top five percent while repressing scores of millions of industrial workers, rural landless laborers and the urban poor.

In addition, while the rulers can offer the jewels of Brazil’s economy to foreign capital, the current low oil prices, ongoing corruption trials at the highest level of elite power and intensifying class conflicts will undermine their ability to implement their agenda. Indeed the prospect of escalating state repression and criminal gang violence may persuade foreign capitalists to skim off the top of Brazil’s most profitable assets and abandon the ensuing chaos.

Epilogue

After 13 years of Workers Party control of the Brazilian presidency, how did the coup-masters rise so quickly and decisively? The political leader of the coup was Vice President Michel Tener, who had been selected by the Workers Party (PT) leadership as part of their ‘coalition strategy’ of working with the most corrupt elements of the Brazilian capitalist class. The members of the Congressional majority, which voted to impeach President Rousseff, were in partnership with the PT, elected in joint election platforms. The economic decline and recession, which undermined public support for the PT government, was a result of its emphasis on the ‘boom and bust’ commodity strategy. The strategic role played by the private banking and business sector in the ‘legislative coup’ resulted from the PT’s decision to implement the privatizations started by the previous regime of President Cardoso, thus strengthening this parasitic class.

Above all, it was the PT’s new reliance on financing their political campaigns through the donation of contractors and the business elites, instead of combining electoral politics with class warfare and mass struggle that opened the Party to the everyday corrupt practices of the capitalist parties. It is a perverse justice that only the PT newcomers to political corruption would be caught and prosecuted!

In other words’ the PT continued to win elections by becoming a normal bourgeois party with its social welfare agenda reliant on an unstable capitalist growth cycle of commodity exports. The PT were profoundly mistaken when they saw their alliance with the capitalist class as something permanent rather than an ‘alliance of convenience’ where the business elite would tolerate them until it was in a position to overthrow them.

Zionist Connections to the Coup in Brazil–as People Take to the Streets

The video above shows thousands of people in the streets of Sao Paulo on Thursday evening protesting the coup against Dilma Rousseff. The words “fora Temer” mean “out Temer,” and refer to coup leader Michel Temer. Jonathan Azaziah has published a piece exploring evidence of Zionist, as well as Christian Zionist, connections to Rousseff’s overthrow. Below is an excerpt. Follow the link to access the full article.

Michel Temer, the putschist who seized power from Dilma Rousseff, is known as a “friend of the Brazilian Jewish community”, and this “righteous Gentile” (as the ‘Israelis’ like to call all their puppets) has already appointed another “friend of the Brazilian Jewish community”, Jose Serra, as Brazil’s foreign minister. It has also been revealed that the Coupmonger-In-Chief worked closely with Fernando Lottenberg, the president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation, on raising awareness (read: brainwashing) among Brazilians about “Holocaust Remembrance Day” as well as passing Zionized “anti-terrorism” legislation that will undoubtedly have an Orwellian effect on Brazil’s citizenry.

Temer has also opened the doors to the “Christian” Zionist scourge that has infected much of America, as well as other Western nations–albeit to a lesser extent–like Canada, the UK and Australia.

Continued here

Brazil has a severe infection of zionism

Welcome To Post-Coup Brazil, Where Jews and “Christian” Zionists Run Wild

By Jonathan Azaziah | Mouqawama | September 8, 2016

It’s only been a few weeks since the Zionist coup in Brazil and a Judaized shift in the Latin American powerhouse and BRICS stalwart is already unfolding. Michel Temer, the putschist who seized power from Dilma Rousseff, is known as a “friend of the Brazilian Jewish community”, and this “righteous Gentile” (as the ‘Israelis’ like to call all their puppets) has already appointed another “friend of the Brazilian Jewish community”, Jose Serra, as Brazil’s foreign minister. It has also been revealed that the Coupmonger-In-Chief worked closely with Fernando Lottenberg, the president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation, on raising awareness (read: brainwashing) among Brazilians about “Holocaust Remembrance Day” as well as passing Zionized “anti-terrorism” legislation that will undoubtedly have an Orwellian effect on Brazil’s citizenry.

Temer has also opened the doors to the “Christian” Zionist scourge that has infected much of America, as well as other Western nations–albeit to a lesser extent–like Canada, the UK and Australia. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), led by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, arrived in Brazil mere days after Rousseff’s overthrow and just concluded its trip 24 hours ago. Rabbi Eckstein’s gang  was on a mission to turn every major “mega-church” in Brazil into even stronger supporters of the usurping Zionist entity for the “cause” of combating “anti-Semitism”. The good “rebbe” and Temer aren’t strangers and thus, this entire event should be looked at not just as a consequence of the Zionist coup against the Workers’ Party (PT), but part and parcel of it. Furthermore, Rabbi Eckstein’s subversive visit should be seen in the greater context of “Christian” Zionist penetration into Brazil and Latin America as a whole.

Brazil, which was once a hotbed of Christian Liberation Theology led by revolutionary luminaries such as Leonardo Boff, is now spiraling into a bottomless pit of “Christian” Zionist hell and has been so since 1977 when the Universal Church–an ultra-Freemasonic institution right down to its reconstruction of Solomon’s Temple–came into being.  And let there be no doubt that this “Christian” Zionism is a byproduct of the utterly devilish Rockefeller-financed Wycliffe Bible Translators and the CIA which have worked hand-in-hand from the “Christian” Zionist outfit’s beginnings in 1942 to evangelize the Catholics of Latin America, with a special focus on Brazil, using the satanic Scofield Reference Bible.

It should be noted for the record that the Freemasonic Universal Church and other like-similar institutions were welcomed by the Brazilian military dictatorship as a counterweight to the Christian Liberation Theologians, who, despite being tortured, killed and disappeared, remained a formidable anti-Imperialist opposition current until the end of the coup regime. And how can we forget that the US-‘Israeli’-backed tyranny that did all of this murdering and maiming would never have attained power if it wasn’t for the Zionist Jew Harold Geneen, who was deathly afraid of losing his multinational ITT telecom giant to democratically-elected Brazilian President João Goulart in a wave of nationalizations.  So the Zionist Jew simply called his “shabbos goy” friend CIA Director John McCone, gave him all-access to ITT’s resources and then the CIA used this new, incredibly useful instrument to push forward with the coup full throttle, ultimately deposing Goulart in 1964. It was International Jewry that crushed Brazil’s first attempt at nationalist-socialism, and it was International Jewry that crushed Brazil’s new experiment in nationalist-socialism exemplified by Dilma Rousseff and her Workers’ Party.

Quite possibly NOTHING encapsulates this entire sad affair like BreakingIsraelNews, a known gateway for Zionist propaganda, which called the illegal ouster of Dilma Rousseff “karma” for her anti-‘Israeli’ posturing and quoted a verse from the genocidal, Jewish supremacist book of Deuteronomy to drive its pro-coup point home even further. The arrogance of World Zionism is indeed boundless and this hubris is certainly driving its offensive throughout Latin America. It’s not just Brazil. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former World Bank economist whose Jewish roots and strong ties to numerous international banks and investment firms (read: the Rothschild Octopus) make him a prime mover and shaker for the Zionist project in the region, is about to take over Peru. Argentina, once run by the fiery anti-globalist Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, is now a pro-US, pro-‘Israel’ neoliberal nightmare run by neocon Mauricio Macri. And Venezuela, home of the Bolivarian Revolution, is once again in the throes of a coup as US-Zionist-aligned oligarchs wage economic war on Caracas through the deliberate creation of food shortages and other forms of destabilizing malice. The homeland of Hugo Chavez (RIP) has long been a target of ‘Israel’–he said so himself–for El Comandante fought the Jewish New World Order tooth and nail, and considering the above-mentioned pomposity of these bloodthirsty “chosenite”  coupmongers, it’s a safe bet to assume they are going to continue their efforts to crush the Bolivarian phenomenon permanently.

If Brazil and Venezuela are to survive this dark, dark period, the peoples of these respective great nations must come to terms with the simple fact that it is not merely “Imperialism” which is seeking to destroy their nationalist-socialisms and impose economic neoliberalism on their societies, but International Jewry’s ZIO-IMPERIALISM which is seeking to impose TOTAL neoliberalism on their societies in the political, financial, cultural and even spiritual sectors, hence the blatant “Christian” Zionist surge as of recent. Resistance on all fronts is the only antidote to this growing poisonous trend, and if it is not fiercely engaged in, as Venezuelan President and Chavez successor Nicolas Maduro is desperately attempting to do now, then the darkness is not only going to continue, but worsen to levels not seen since Guatemala in ’54, Brazil in ’64, Chile in ’73, Argentina in ’76 and in more recent times, Honduras in ’09, ALL PUT TOGETHER. Our full solidarity with the Latin American peoples in the face of Empire Judaica’s storm.

The Deadly Zika Virus is Available For Sale Online, Courtesy of the Rockefeller Foundation

The Deadly Zika Virus is Available For Sale Online, Courtesy of the Rockefeller Foundation

By John Vibes

zika-virus-rockerfeller

Recent outbreaks of a sickness known as the Zika virus have sparked hysteria across the globe, and many reports have actually indicated that this is likely a man-made disaster, as the origin of Zika itself is somewhat strange.

The virus was “discovered” in 1947, however, it was not discovered in the wild nor did it spontaneously arise. In fact, it was discovered by Rockefeller Foundation scientists in a monkey that they had in captivity, leading many to believe that this was the result of some type of experiment. Since then, cases of Zika have been extremely rare, but in the past few years, outbreaks of Zika have been on the rise, especially in South America and specifically Brazil.

Oddly, the recent outbreak in Brazil coincides with the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in 2012, by the British biotech company Oxitec. Not only did the new outbreak occur just after the release, but it also occurred in the same area.

Ironically enough, the GM mosquitos were actually proposed as a solution to infectious disease, but many experts warned that there was not enough research and that a release of such an organism into the wild could have disastrous consequences.

As news of Zika spread this week, rumors also reached the internet that the virus was available for purchase online. Sure enough, there is actually a sale listing for Zika online through a website called atcc.org, where a number of different viruses and biological agents are sold to research teams. For the sake of investigation, the Free Thought Project tried to go through the application process that was required to buy the virus, just to see if anyone with $516 to spend would be able to get their hands on it.

 

In case there are people out there who think this may be a ‘conspiracy theory,’ you can plainly see that the source for the Zika virus is, in fact, from J. Casals, Rockefeller Foundation, and sourced from Blood from experimental forest sentinel rhesus monkey, Uganda, 1947.

After initially trying to buy the virus, we were prompted to create a user account on the website. After that, we were led through a dozen pages of forms, where we were asked information about our organization, tax ID # and the biosafety level of our lab. While this seems to be tight security, we were able to input false information and fudge the requirements to complete the application process. We are still waiting for our application to be approved, but we did not have to upload any type of proof that we are a legitimate facility.

It seems that while the virus is available online, it is not extremely easy to get, and would likely require some extremely creative fraud in order to make it happen. However, it definitely does seem that it would be possible for a group or individual that is determined enough to make their way through the website’s security measures.

John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his website www.JohnVibes.com.

USA undermines democracy in Brazil & attempts the same in Venezuela

The Hard Message from Brazil’s ‘Soft Coup’

With little protest from Washington, Brazil’s elected President Dilma Rousseff was ousted in a politically motivated impeachment, a “soft coup” undermining South American democracy, write Hector Perla Jr., Laura Sholtz and Liliana Muscarella.

By Hector Perla Jr., Laura Sholtz and Liliana Muscarella

In a historic vote on Aug. 31, Brazil’s democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff was formally ousted by the Brazilian Senate, surpassing the required two-thirds majority with 61 votes in favor and 20 votes against. The controversial impeachment formalizes the provisional government of former Vice President Michel Temer and his Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, PMDB), bringing an end to 13 years of governance by Rousseff’s own Partido dos Trabalhadores (Worker’s Party, PT).

This decision not only signifies a drastic change in Brazil’s government, but it also has major implications for the country’s near-term future. Allegations of corruption continue to hang over Temer’s interim administration, including leaked audio recordings that suggest that Rousseff’s ouster was politically manipulated to halt the charges against congressmen from Temer’s cabinet and party.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff addressing the United Nations General Assembly. (UN Photo by Marco Castro)

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff addressing the United Nations General Assembly. (UN Photo by Marco Castro)

Rousseff’s impeachment is a devastating blow to Brazil’s democracy, constituting a “soft coup” — an undemocratic process of regime change tainted by political malfeasance, selective justice, and a non-electoral transfer of power cloaked in the guise of the rule of law.

What Now?

Interim President Temer and former speaker of the House of Representatives Eduardo Cunha are recognized as the primary instigators of Rousseff’s suspension in May of this year. While the two have been accused of various acts of fiscal and electoral corruption, the spotlight has been focused primarily on Rousseff’s alleged fiscal mismanagement.

Following Rousseff’s impeachment, Temer was sworn in as Brazil’s president and, barring a Supreme Court intervention, receives immunity from further investigation of any crimes that took place before he assumed the presidency.

Temer will likely remain in office until the end of 2018. The next presidential elections are scheduled for October 2018 and a new president would take office Jan. 1, 2019. However, with growing discontent from actors along the entire political spectrum, including senators and constituents from Temer’s own PMDB, there has been a good deal of speculation that his presidency may not endure.

Another impeachment, while a remote possibility, is not unthinkable, especially given the lack of support within Temer’s own party and the potential that new allegations of corruption may be brought against him. At that point, the Supreme Court could choose to suspend Temer’s presidential immunity and allow for the initiation of impeachment proceedings against him.

If Temer were to suffer impeachment before the end of 2016, the Brazilian Constitution requires that new national elections be called within 90 days. Otherwise, if he were to be removed after Jan. 1, 2017, indirect elections within the Brazilian Congress would decide which current senator would assume the position. Considering recent strategies by the PMDB, such technicalities could easily be exploited by the Temer administration, further highlighting the murky nature of recent events and calling into question the legitimacy of Brazilian democracy.

Implications for Brazil’s Democracy

Rousseff’s ouster sets a negative precedent for the country in two ways. On the one hand, it institutionalizes the political abuse of power by politicians seeking to avoid corruption charges. On the other, it shamefully obscures the underlying motive for removing the PT from office: a desire to return to conservative rule and neoliberalism. Both of these strategies subvert the democracy that Brazil has worked hard to uphold.

Brazil's ex-President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva.

Brazil’s ex-President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva, a mentor to ousted President Dilma Rousseff.

First, the installation of a new administration with weak democratic standards does not bode well for Brazil, especially given the corruption that has traditionally pervaded its government. The PMDB saw an opportunity to evade charges against its leaders while simultaneously gaining the presidency — an accomplishment that has eluded them at the voting booth for more than 20 years. All they had to do was turn on Rousseff, their electoral coalition partner.

Thus, PMDB’s leaders led the impeachment of the president, even though an independent federal prosecutor found that she had not violated any fiscal laws. This practice, known as pedaladas fiscais, or “accounting tricks,” has been recently employed by more than a dozen state governors without legal repercussions.

Meanwhile, Temer has been convicted of electoral fraud and accused of other acts of corruption, but by assuming the presidency he evades existing investigations, such as Operação Lava Jato, that would have proven his guilt or his innocence. Such hypocrisy and double standards seriously impugn the legitimacy of the impeachment process and the entire democratic institution.

Temer’s interim government almost immediately implemented a far more conservative agenda than the Rousseff Administration with neoliberal ideals that seemed to have been waiting in the wings for an opportunity to be reinstated. Among his first actions was the naming of an all-white, male cabinet, several of whom were under investigation for corruption at the time of their appointment.

Additionally, as a cost-cutting measure, Temer eliminated the ministries of culture, agrarian development, science and technology, women, racial equality, and human rights (although some were since reinstated due to popular pressure). Furthermore, the interim administration wasted no time in rolling back the hallmark of the PT’s government: social programs and policies that Rousseff had fought hard to continue.

Temer immediately slashed funding for programs that benefit the rural and urban poor, women, afro-descendants, the LGBTQ community, and indigenous people. These changes augur how Temer will govern now that he has been sworn into office.

His radical departure from the policies of the platform under which he was elected as Rousseff’s vice president lends further credence to the claim that her ouster is the result of a political witch-hunt rather than a legitimate impeachment process for a criminal offense as required by the Constitution.

It is undoubtable that the non-electoral and undemocratic ouster of Brazil’s first female president constitutes a perilous democratic regression for South America’s largest nation. In fact, the process constitutes a “soft coup” against the Rousseff presidency and a political attack against the PT.

Conservative parties came together to secure what they had been unable to achieve through popular elections: a presidential victory over the PT. By circumventing the electoral process, the impeachment strikes a huge blow to the country’s democracy, especially given the advances it has made since the impunity typical of the military government (1964-1985).

Future of Brazil and Beyond

The PT is not going to accept Dilma’s ouster without a fight. On its Twitter page last Wednesday, it posted a letter from the Frente Brasil Popular (People’s Brazilian Front), which is a coalition of trade unions, progressive and social movement organizations, and political parties.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. (Photo credit: Valter Campanato/ABr)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose elected government is also under pressure from U.S.-backed right-wing and neoliberal elements. (Photo credit: Valter Campanato/ABr)

In the letter, the Front promised that, “Our struggle against the coup government and its program of rolling back our achievements will be relentless.” Protests against the proceedings, which have been ongoing since the impeachment process began, have been increasing and are also likely to intensify in the coming days.

The ramifications of Rousseff’s impeachment are not limited to Brazil. The reverberations throughout the Western Hemisphere, where progressive governments are on the defensive against similar right-wing attacks, began immediately when Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela recalled their ambassadors from Brasília.

Progressive governments of the region see Brazil as the latest example of the epidemic of “soft coups” that have brought down Pink Tide governments that came to power through democratic elections. Increasingly, right-wing forces opposed to progressive governments and discontent with their social and economic programs — but unable to defeat them in popular elections — have turned to judicial and institutional processes to roll back the left’s hold on executive office.

Despite the rhetorical anti-corruption façade that characterized the impeachment proceedings, President Rousseff’s ouster was actually a careful orchestration designed to exploit recent public discontent with her administration’s handling of the economy. Temer is nearly as unpopular as was Rousseff, yet he and the PMDB were able to channel common grievances and direct them against President Rousseff in order to capitalize on them politically.

Moving forward, Brazil is in the hands of a Trojan Horse government — one that has presented itself as one of the few hopes for democracy while subverting the very institutions that the term represents. The Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) stands with Rousseff and echoes the statement she made while on trial: “Today, I only fear the death of democracy.”

Hector Perla Jr. is a Senior Research Fellow and Laura Sholtz & Liliana Muscarella, Research Associates at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)., which published this article. For additional news and analysis on Latin America, please go to LatinNews. com and Rights Action.

‘Rousseff’s impeachment – sad day for Brazil & democracy’. USA behind destabilisation in Latin America

‘Rousseff’s impeachment – sad day for Brazil & democracy’

RT | September 1, 2016

Was the impeachment process against Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff justified? Is interim President Michel Temer credible? How will the people of Brazil react and are we likely to see protests escalating?

Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was impeached on Wednesday, after the final vote in Senate. She was ruled to have mishandled Brazil’s budget, and misrepresented the state of the economy prior to her reelection in 2014.

Michel Temer, former Vice President under Rousseff, became acting president of Brazil in May after the start of the impeachment of Rousseff.

Watchdog groups say about 60 percent of the country’s lawmakers, as well as interim President Temer, who may potentially form a new government, have been accused of corruption and fraud.

Maria Mendonca, professor at the University of Rio de Janeiro called the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff “very sad for Brazil” and “a very sad day for democracy”. The result of the 2014 elections, when Dilma was reelected, “was not respected.”

“It is a process that reminds us of the military coup in 1964. That was not a real trial, because most Senators already had a position – they made up their minds even before the whole trial started. There was no legal basis for the impeachment. The public prosecutor already had cleared Dilma of all charges in terms of the mechanisms of basically issuing debt to pay for social programs, which is a regular mechanism in Brazil and also in other countries,” she told RT.

In her opinion, the impeachment was “a way for unpopular corrupt politicians to take power without going through an electoral process.”

According to Mendonca, it is now difficult to predict how the situation is going to develop and whether protests by Rousseff’s supporters – that have been going on for days now – may escalate.

“I think we’re going to stay in a situation of limbo for a while, of uncertainty, because the main rules of democracy were broken,” she said.

She added though that “the media in Brazil can manipulate public opinion,” and has been doing so since the beginning of the impeachment process.

“But once people realize that we’re going to have more instability: cuts in social programs, in health care, education, and we’re going to have more serious economic crisis, then people will realize that this was a manipulative process to get rid of a president that was democratically elected; and to implement austerity measures that would make the situation even more unstable politically and economically,” Mendonca said.

Good for Brazil in longer term

David Riedel, economic analyst from Riedel Research Group argues that Rousseff’s impeachment “is a good move” for Brazil as in the longer term it would benefit from a more “business friendly government.”

Dilma Rousseff has run “a very populist regime; she’s been giving a lot of support to social programs and other things,” he told RT. “I think you’ll probably see some social unrest, as those goodies and those free benefits start to be taken away from the population. But it’s a good move for Brazil in the medium and longer term. They needed to take this step. They were successful with the Olympics, which were great, and now they need to be successful in this transition of power to, I would argue, a more business friendly government, which is going to be very good for investors.”

If Michel Temer – who is running the country at the moment and is likely to become the next Brazilian President – “takes advantage of this populist, very expensive spending that the Rousseff and [Luiz Inacio] Lula [da Silva], before her, administrations had under way – that can protect the currency; it can help improve the investment environment,” Riedel said.

“International investors want Brazil to be a success – so they will give them the benefit without doubt if they see things headed in the right direction. So if they are business friendly and investor friendly and cut back on the profligate spending that has been such an issue across Latin America, I think that investors would give them a second look,” the analyst said.

Absolutely no justification

An independent investigation found there were no grounds for launching action.

Political scientist Daniel Shaw from the City University of New York says there’s “absolutely no justification” for the impeachment “from the prospective of millions of Brazilians who voted for Dilma Rousseff and now see the democratically elected president unconstitutionally removed from power.”

But in the minds of the Brazilian rich, the bourgeoisie –“they feel like they don’t need justification to continue to push things in a rightward direction and to continue to exploit the majority of Brazilians,” he said.

WikiLeaks has revealed that Brazil’s new interim president, Temer, was an embassy informant for US intelligence.

Some also suggest that the US could have orchestrated the “coup” against Rousseff.

Commenting, Shaw said: “If we look critically at the history of US foreign policy and how they’d been involved in supporting dictatorships from Pinochet to Somoza across Latin America, when all of the FOI requests are complete in 10-15 years, there’s no question there’ll come out the role that the US State Department played.”

“They are against the leftward trend that’s been going on since 1999 with Venezuela at the helm and, of course Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador. This is a blow, an attack not just on the Brazilian people but on the entire progressive current that was sweeping across Latin America,” he added.

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