Tag Archives: Dilma Rousseff

Judicial warfare or Lawfare

By Oscar Laborde * from Pagina12

The constant persecution of ex-President Cristina Kirchner and the attempt to imprison Lula in Brazil are examples of a new tactic in the non-conventional war known as Lawfare.

The laws of our region have been adopted in recent years as the favoured mechanism to defeat popular governments and reviling the people running them, with the objective of replacing them in the government, imprisoning them or at least discrediting them cruelly. In this war there has been undue use of legal instruments for the purposes of political persecution, destruction of public image and disabling a political adversary. It combines apparently legal actions with wide press coverage to pressure the accused and those around them, including family members, in such a way that they are more vulnerable to the accusations without proof.

So what does Lawfare mean? The term describes “a mode of non-conventional war in which the law is used as a means to obtain a military objective” and is used in this sense in Unrestricted Warfare, a book from 1999 on military strategy. In 2001 the concept started to be used in places other than the U.S. armed forces after the publication of an article written by the Air Force General, Charles Dunlap of Duke Law School. The U.S. is one of the leading providers of assistance for the reform of the legal apparatus in Latin America and the U.S. Department of Justice has strengthened their ties with their equivalents in the region in recent years to combat corruption. One of the most important actions was the so-called “Bridges” project, which consisted of training courses for members of the judiciary of Brazil and other countries of the region. The star alumni is Judge Sergio Moro, behind the Lava Jato operation, who convicted Lula to nine years in prison.

This requires an obliging justice system and for the media to work in absolute agreement with the objective of breaking down the will of the people and politicians who take part in the attack, always propelled generously by the media and who then capitalize on the results of defeating, disqualifying and discrediting the usually left-wing representatives who confront the interests of big business

In recent years the judiciary in our countries has been converted into a powerful force where, almost without limits, destabilization and political persecution strategies are deployed, far from the republican principle of balance of powers. It is the only one which does not derive from the will of the people but rather from complex mechanisms of political designations and contests, added to the privileges which the other powers do not have. This allows them to operate politically under the institutional mantle. The one constant argument is corruption. Its base is that the State must be eliminated, appealing to the “good practices” of the private sector of efficiency and transparency, to displace the logic of the public, which is associated with the waste and mismanagement of politicians, to be replaced by apolitical technicians.

The activity of the mass media is more widely recognized and evident. In an outburst of unusual sincerity an editorial writer at Clarin characterized it as “war journalism”.

Politicians denounce corruption, the media echo it, politicians and media demanding swift justice, a mechanism of judicial power that discipline or exclude independent judges, who convict, without evidence and imprison without due process. This is what we are living under in Latin America. This is how Manuel Zelaya was ousted in Honduras, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, Dilma Rousseff in Brazil and how the Vice-President of Ecuador, Jorge Glass and hundreds of supporters were imprisoned. This is to silence those representatives of the people by persecution and imprisonment who can intercede in their plan to undo the gains of recent years.

* Director Ideal-CTA. Parlasur representative.

The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/06/22/the-soft-coup-and-the-attack-on-the-brazilian-people/

In 2016, when former President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff was removed from office, I asked my dad- a New Yorker who religiously reads the morning paper- what he thought about the political situation in Brazil. He had read a New York Times article about the alleged corruption scandal, about the mismanagement of money and how the greedy Workers’ Party had been stealing money from the Brazilian people. Sitting here in the US, this is the image of current Brazilian politics: greed, corruption, mismanagement, and embezzlement of funds. You hear of a leftist administration incapable of governing its people, of the poverty-stricken masses in need of salvation. That is, if you hear anything at all. According to this narrative, the new administration (the Brazilian Democratic Movement or MDB) took over to save the day and save the Brazilian people from government corruption. When Dilma was impeached on August 31, 2016, Temer- then Vice President- took over the Presidency.

Less than two years later, however, Michel Temer of the MDB holds the presidency with just a 5% approval rating. This makes Temer the least popular president in Brazilian history. Since his appointment, Temer has also been accused of corruption scandals, the alleged reason for which former president Rousseff was impeached, and the very reason that he assumed office. Every measure of social wellbeing has plummeted as Temer’s administration has passed sweeping austerity measures and cut funding the social programs implemented by the Workers’ Party that are credited with making Brazil a main power on the global stage, increasing social inclusion in higher education, growing the middle class, and decreasing hunger and homelessness (more on this later). Despite his abysmal approval rating, mass protests, public criticism, and a tanking economy, Temer is still in office. And now, the main leftist candidate, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (also known as Lula), who has consistently led in the polls by wide margins, is in prison serving a 12-year sentence for a legal proceeding that has yet to be concluded.

When we think of coups, most of us imagine an image of the past or, at the very least, a clear and undeniable use of force. Large guns. Military intervention. Blood. The brutal overthrow of an elected government. (Think: Chile in 1973, Honduras in 2009, Argentina in 1976). What has been deemed a ‘soft coup’ in Brazil in 2016 stems from the same motive—the protection of corporate, foreign, and imperialist interests over the interests of the poor and working people and their right to self-determination—but comes wrapped in more palatable packaging that makes it easier to deny the violation of democracy. As Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research discusses in their recent dossier “Lula: The Battle for Democracy in Brazil,” the foreign and national elite used a series of legally sanctioned measures to remove the Workers’ Party from office under the guise of corruption. Though the legal case against former president and current Presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and former President Dilma Rousseff is full of holes (a lack of evidence, unreliable and changing quid-pro-quo testimonies given in exchange for lighter sentences, illegal wiretapping, etc), it allowed the bourgeoise- operating through the Brazilian courts- a means to sentence Lula to prison and remove Dilma from power. Quoting law professor Carlos Lodi, Tricontinental defines lawfare as the ‘process of using the law to produce political results. Opponents are removed by use of the legal system rather than the constitutionally valid electoral process’. This is a major strategy behind Brazil’s ‘soft coup’ and the assault on Brazilian democracy.

During the ongoing legal battle, media giant Globo consistently and frequently produced news stories that validated the unproven corruption allegations against the Workers’ Party and presented a slanted perspective that set the stage for and legitimized the coup. According to scholar Teun A van Dijk, 45 of the 60 main front page headlines in Globo from March and April 2016- the months leading up to Dilma’s impeachment- were about Lula, Dilma, the PT, impeachment, or Dilma’s government. The slandering of the Workers’ Party, despite their vast social advances and the lack of evidence behind the legal claims, is reminiscent of other notable moments in Latin American history. Leading up to the violent overthrow of socialist Chilean president Salvador Allende in 1973, the CIA and other forces colluded to cause economic destabilization and chip away at Allende’s popularity in order to justify his removal from power and Chile’s realignment with the interests of foreign and domestic capital. Under these conditions, it was easier to oppress the masses and divert the social progress that Allende’s government had made. Forty-three years later in Brazil, the Brazilian and foreign bourgeoise- acting through media and legal channels- have sought to detract from the advances against hunger and poverty made by the Workers’ Party and use the alleged corruption scandals to regain power.

What does the right have to gain in arresting the country’s leading Presidential candidate, arguably one of the most popular historical figured in Brazilian history? What threat do Lula and the Workers’ Party represent to the Brazilian elite? The Workers’ Party dared to reclaim Brazil’s natural resources—mainly the pre-salt oil reserve—and invest it in the public good, rather than for the profit of the elite. During the thirteen years of the Workers’ Party administrations, from Lula’s election in 2002 to the ‘soft coup’ in 2016, the country experienced enormous gains in measures of social well-being. Under Lula, Brazil’s GDP increased by 20%, bringing the country from the 15th largest in 2002 to the 6th largest economy in the world by 2013. This gain was felt by Brazil’s poor and middle class and its most marginalized communities, with the per capita income increasing from $2,500 to $11,000 during the same period. Programs such as Bolsa Familia and Minha Casa, Minha Vida lifted 22 million people out of poverty, provided 2.6 million housing unit to 10 million low-income people, and halved the rate of extreme poverty. Not only did the number of public universities increase during this period (from 45 universities with 148 campuses in 2002 to 65 universities with 327 campuses in 2015), but scholarships and quotas also increased for marginalized black and indigenous communities, resulting in a 286% increase in afro-Brazilians attending institutes of higher education. The list goes on.

In a clear realignment away from a people’s agenda and towards the protection of capital interests and the status quo, since the coup in 2016 Temer’s administration has frozen investment in areas such as health and education for the next 20 years. As a result, unemployment rates, hunger, poverty, and infant mortality have already worsened, with infant mortality rates increasing for the first time in 13 years (for more on the impact of Temer’s austerity measures, read this study). In the words of Frente Brasil Popular in their Declaration to the Brazilian People,“They do not merely want to arrest Lula. They want to arrest the causes that he represents and defends: social inclusion and the promotion of the rights of the people, notably women, children, blacks, indigenous people, the LGBT population, people with special needs; the provision of living wages and the generation of jobs; support for small and medium-sized enterprises, family farming and agrarian reform; the defense of national sovereignty and the construction of a more equal and fairer country.”

Despite Lula’s popularity, his and his party’s undeniable success in improving social conditions in Brazil, and the oversights and legal breaches in the case against him, on April 5, 2018 Judge Sergio Moro denied a habeas corpus petition and demanded that Lula report to jail by 5pm the next day. Lula declared that he would turn himself in to jail to prove his innocence. Before turning himself in, Lula spoke to his supporters: “They don’t understand that there is no point in arresting me, because there are thousands and thousands of Lulas. There is no point in trying to end my ideas, they are already lingering in the air and you can’t arrest them…  They have to know that the death of a fighter cannot stop the revolution.”

To the Brazilian and foreign elite, impeaching Dilma and jailing Lula could represent a turn in the country’s investments (as we have seen with Temer’s subsequent austerity measures and labor reforms), an opening of Brazil’s resources to foreign investment and profits, and a realignment with a neoliberal agenda that places profits over people. The country has reacted with widespread protests, with Lula surrendering to Judge Moro’s prison mandate on the shoulders of thousands of Brazilian people. What will happen in the upcoming October election remains to be seen, with Lula still in prison and the people’s movements refusing the legitimize the soft coup, masked by questionable corruption allegations.

Celina Stien-della Croce is the Coordinator of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

Bob Fernandes Commentary – 18 June 2018

Bob Fernandes

On Friday, 4th March 2016. Lula is coerced to testify at the Federal Police. As he had not refused to testify, coercion without any sense.

Judge Moro said he had decided on the coercion to “avoid tumult”. At that time, there was a large pro-impeachment demonstration set for nine days later: March 13th.

There are no coincidences. There are tactics and strategy, politics and communication. The judiciary and the media feeding off each other. The co-action stirred up the news, people and the demonstration.

Only now, four years, three months and 227 coercitive arrests after the Supreme Court has decide: coercitive arrests are prohibited for questioning…

… There are no coincidences. Lula is in prison, and, albeit late, there is now the risk of affecting friends, colleagues.

There are no coincidences. Three days after that 13th of March Moro leaked a conversation between Dilma and Lula. Dilma was not under investigation. Therefore it was illegal.

And the recording went on for one hour more than the legal time limit set.

In the Supreme Court, Justices Teori Zavaski and Marco Aurelio Mello clearly defined that such actions were illegal.

But the Supreme Court did not act. Once again things had to be stirred up. There were huge repercussions from the leak and the conversations… and the Supreme Court impeded Lula from becoming a cabinet minister.

As a cabinet minister, Lula would have legal immunity, he would have been the political operator on the eve of the impeachment. Without Lula, o month later and Dilma was impeached in the lower house of Congress.

Eleven months afterwards, in a similar situation, the same Supreme Court would maintain Moreira Franco as minister.

Times of facility for some, and very hard for others. Times of labelling people to try and classify those who oppose the herds. Many have given up.

The law firm working for Lula had their telephone tapped. The operator confirmed the phone taps, according to Sergio Rodas on the site Consultor Juridico (Conjur).

The then rapporteur for Lava Jato, Teori Zavaski, reprehended Moro, Said Conjur. Moro alleged not knowing about the phone taps and “promised to destroy the recordings”.

They were not destroyed then. Only much later was this done.

Now, at the Brazilian Criminal Law Meeting, lawyer Valeska Teixeira Zanin Martins denounced:

… Moro made more than 400 recorded conversations of ours available… there are no precedents of such a violent attitude, such an anti-democratic one in democratic countries.

This was how the prosecutors and Police had access to the defence strategies…

There are no coincidences.

Watch the original in Portuguese here.

Moro, the Clean Hands Judge, going to s**t!

moro_detonador_vitort-740x555

By Emanuel Cancella

I am an admirer of the poet Gentileza and really believe that kindness (gentileza) generates  kindness, but not with Judge Moro, who has led to countless losses for our justice system, the economy and democracy. And that is not trifling.

Judge Sergio Moro, who became famous by taking up the standard in the fight against corruption, ever more wallowing in the mud. His accomplices, such the Federal Supreme Court, are starting to abandon “Moro-Mania”, timidly.

The Federal Supreme Court prohibited the ‘forceful arrests’ that Moro used and abused, including against ex-President Lula. On the eve of voting on this authoritarian rubbish of forceful arrest, the jurist Técio Lins e Silva gave a strong performance in the plenary session of the Court.

Técio spoke of the embarrassment of taking an innocent Brazilian by force, as happened in the military dictatorship, to make a statement as Moro did with Lula, and with the journalist, Eduardo Guimarães, amongst others. Watch the entire defence by Técio in the STF, denouncing ‘forceful arrests’ (6).

Técio spoke of families who hired him professionally seeking redress to face this authoritarian rubbish that Moro used against innocent people, exposing them to ridicule, to being taken from their homes by the police.

Lava Jato, led by Moro, is accused by the Clube de Engenharia, Fiseng, Aepet, FUP and FNP of destroying the national engineering and shipbuilding industry (2 to 5). Lava Jato, as the fight against corruption, alleging overbilling, cancelled various projects, amongst them the Ceara and Maranhão refinery and halted the Comperj project.

Look, if someone really wanted to fight corruption, rather than sinking the country and favouring the competition abroad, they would have to punish the management, even imprison them, but they would keep the projects going, because in the end the ones who paid for all this were the workers. That is why Lava Jato is responsible for most of the 13 million unemployed.

Furthermore, Moro, in charge of Lava Jato, was an accomplice of the PSDB party in Petrobras. In November 2016, I denounced the omission of Lava Jato formally to the Federal Prosecution Service (MPF) in relation to the criminal management of Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Pedro Parente at Petrobras, with no response to this day.  See the denunciation in full (7).

Besides the criminal support of the media, principally the Globo network, which gave an award to Moro, as well as an award from the Brazil-United States Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps it was payback, as Lava Jato, headed by Moro, was omissive too when the neoliberal PSDB party supporter and head of Petrobras, Pedro Parente, paid R$ 10 million to American shareholders, even without Petrobras having been found culpable (9,10).

On the ruling of Moro, the thieves at Petrobras are serving their time at home, in true leisure clubs, built with the money they stole, amongst others: the ex-director of Petrobras, Paulo Roberto Costa; Fernando Baiano, lobbyist for the PMDB; Sérgio Machado, ex-president of Transpetro, a subsidiary of Petrobras and the money-launderer Alberto Youssef. Astounding! Youssef is at home despite being convicted to 82 years and 8 months in prison (1).

To favour the thieves convicted in Lava Jato even further, Moro :

“Prohibited the use of evidence obtained in Operation Lava Jato against those who made plea bargains and companies that recognised the crimes and who came to collaborate with the prosecutors in the investigations, with the decision affecting the AGU (Federal Attorney-General), the CGU (Federal Comptroller-General), Cade (Administrative Economic Defence Council), the Central Bank, the Federal Revenue Service and the TCU (Federal Accounts Tribunal)” (12)

Moro, besides discrediting the justice system in our country, their practices are criticised even by Pope Francisco, who said in a sermon:

“Obscure conditions have been created to convict one person. The media start speaking badly about people, the people who run things; with slander and defamation of these people who have been stained. Then comes the Justice system, who convict them, and in the end, a coup is implemented” (Francisco)” (13).

To leave no doubt about the dissatisfaction with the justice system in Brazil and the imprisonment of Lula, the head of the Roman Catholic church also sent an emissary  to Brazil, the country with the most Catholics in the world, to visit Lula, but who was barred from doing so, can you guess by whom? By Judge Sergio Moro!

I close with a declaration by Técio Lins e Silva to the STF, remembering the lawyer Sobral Pinto (6). Remembering, even though he was a conservative, Sobral Pinto defended the communist Senator Luis Carlos Prestes, imprisoned by the military dictatorship. According to Técio, at a certain time in a session of the Superior Military Tribunal, Sobral Pinto said: “I will denounce them to the country!” The president of the Military Tribunal then ordered him to be arrested. So I close with a message from the great Sobral Pinto to lawyers: “The law is not a profession for cowards!”

Source:
1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAzFEQYt0cA

2 – https://jornalggn.com.br/noticia/para-engenheiros-lava-jato-promovo-desmonte-da-industria-nacional

3 – https://jornalggn.com.br/noticia/documentario-mostra-como-a-lava-jato-destruiu-a-economia-em-poucos-meses

4 – https://jornalggn.com.br/noticia/para-engenheiros-lava-jato-promovo-desmonte-da-industria-nacional

5 – http://www.aepet.org.br/w3/index.php/artigos/noticias-em-destaque/item/919-lava-jato-e-desmonte-do-pre-sal-a-combinacao-que-levou-o-rio-a-falencia

6 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZWsBq4pvgo

7 – http://www.fnpetroleiros.org.br/noticias/3901/petroleiro-denuncia-a-operacao-lava-jato-ao-mpf-veja-na-integra-teor-da-denuncia-protocolada-ontem

8 – https://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/moro-ve-premio-como-reconhecimento-privado-anti-corrupcao-22686705

9 – https://www.brasil247.com/pt/247/artigos/174167/Moro-e-o-pr%C3%AAmio-da-Globo.htm

10 – http://www.redebrasilatual.com.br/politica/2018/02/parlamentares-vao-a-justica-contra-entrega-de-r-10-bi-por-presidente-da-petrobras

11 –  http://www.diariodepernambuco.com.br/app/noticia/politica/2016/07/10/interna_politica,654284/delatores-cumprem-prisao-domiciliar-em-mansoes-e-coberturas.shtml

12 –  https://www.brasil247.com/pt/247/parana247/358196/Moro-usa-lei-dos-EUA-para-blindar-delatores.htm

13 – – https://jornalggn.com.br/noticia/criam-se-condicoes-obscuras-para-condenar-a-pessoa-disse-o-papa

Rio de Janeiro, 15 June 2018.

Author: Emanuel Cancella, OAB/RJ 75.300, ex-president of Sindipetro-RJ, founder and ex- director of the Comando Nacional dos Petroleiros, of FUP and founder and coordinator of FNP, ex-national director of Dieese, and author of the book “A Outra Face de Sérgio Moro” which can be purchased at: http://emanuelcancella.blogspot.com.br/2017/07/a-outra-face-de-sergio-moro-pontos-de.html.

(Esse relato pode ser reproduzido livremente)
See the video of this post at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9KYD5iDVb4

Popular mobilization could stop the coup in the Senate!

Pro-democracy demonstration in Brazil

Change in public opinion could influence decision in the Senate, says consultancy

 

On the BBC

Despite the “probable” approval of the impeachment by the Senate, this is not guaranteed and could be influenced by a possible change in the degree of support from public opinion  for the exit of Dilma Rousseff as a result of the current process. The assessment is in the most recent bulletin from the Eurasia Group, one of the consultancies that attempts to translate for their clients from various parts of the world the political and economic crisis faced by Brazil.

“The government has obtained gains in the battle for public opinion against impeachment. (…) As long as all eyes are looking at the negotiations in Congress, public opinion may play an important role”, says the note.

Citing the results of the Datafolha poll, the consultancy also suggests that the support for impeachment may continue to fall.

“If the Planalto Palace and the Worker’s Party are able to continue to ‘hammer’ home the message that the impeachment is not legitimate, focusing on the leaders of the PMDB party, such as the Leader of the Lower House, Eduardo Cunha, support for impeachment, now at 61%, may fall”, says the note, forecasting a fall in this support to below 60%.

Besides this, “developments in Lava Jato operation threaten to involve the leadership of the PMDB. If the PMDB is affected by allegations of corruption in the next three weeks, this may reduce support for impeachment even further”, the consultancy forecasts.

The three politicians in the line of succession for the Presidency are from the PMDB. The Vice-President,  Michel Temer, the Leader of the House, Eduardo Cunha and the leader in the Senate, Renan Calheiros, are important leaders in the party that left the government coalition and voted en mass in favour of the impeachment.

Opinion polls have shown a fall in the support for the current impeachment process, led in Congress by Cunha and focused on the so called fiscal pedalling. According to research published by Datafolha on April 10, from March to April the percentage of interviewees in favour of the removal of Dilma Rousseff fell from 68% to 61%. The rejection of Michel Temer is also reflected in the recent opinion polls which puts support for impeachment of the Vice-President at 58%.

“This suggests that the efforts of the government are working, challenging the merits of the petition for impeachment based on the accounting manoeuvres. The regional differences are also becoming more intense. Whereas in the south and south-east support for impeachment is at 66%, in the north-east it is only at 48%, with 46% against impeachment”, says the note citing Datafolha.

Why the programme of the Brazilian Worker’s Party gets up the noses of the status quo

What has the Brazilian Worker’s Party done or promise to do that gets up so many people’s noses? The answer is both simple and complex. The simple answer is that they wish to change the way things have been done here ever since Brazil was colonised by the Portuguese over 500 years ago.

The Portuguese colonists established a system of royal patronage of appointed positions and revenue earning from such positions that survives more or less intact to this day. Families who have land or assets resulting from such privilege naturally are loath to give up such benefits that derive from their inherited positions.

The Worker’s Party was largely organised by middle-class student and teacher, artists and intellectual activists who were essential in getting the party legalised under the then military dictatorship. Once they got into power with the election of Lula, but especially during the first and the current term of his successor, Dilma Rousseff, these people became in large part disillusioned and the middle-class were neglected or overly suffered the burden of government policy.

When the investigations into the Lava Jato operation meant that Petrobras and several large engineering contractors had their funds for current or future projects blocked, the country stalled economically, hurting bastions of the stability and growth and job generation that had been a continuous part of the national economy since Lula was able to invest in many infra-structure projects both in Brazil and in Africa, for example.

Brazilian law requires that a good percentage of such projects be carried out by Brazilian companies, and it is with an eye to these contracts and markets that the U.S. is now pushing for the removal of this President and her party from government.

With support for their “free market” policies already on hand in Congress, should impeachment go ahead, many of these markets would be opened up to U.S. companies.

Opposition politician José Serra of the PSDB has already promised the Chevron oil company that he will back deregulation of the Brazilian oil fields, should he achieve suitable power. He has already introduced bills to Congress to that effect, but if President Dilma is impeached, forces against the current government see the way clear to opening up markets to U.S. friendly corporate and diplomatic policies. If impeachment is successful, her nominated successor and Vice President Michel Temer, has already alluded that there will be a return to market-friendly corporate policies.

Once the economy faltered with the anti-corruption investigations restricting investment, with the loss of many jobs for engineers, managers, accountants and economists, it was a relatively easy task to turn the climate of opinion against the government by heavy-handed use of selective reporting of scandals, launching opinion as fact in such large and repeated quantities, that many middle-class people now believe such accusations as the truth.

The fact that many of these schemes have been operating since at least the 1990’s are largely ignored by the mass media, when the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso was in power, privatising many lucrative state industries in the name of good management.

This is the policy that those already manoeuvring for power openly seek, and which the backers of the current government are trying to avoid. The costs of dividing society along lines of material wealth are heavy, although the numbers actually wanting that to happen are turning in favour of the Dilma government. Internet activists and bloggers have rallied behind the pro-democracy cause, counteracting the social media campaign that brought millions of the disaffected middle-classes into the streets to call for her impeachment. However, Brazil will have to mobilise if it is to turn the tide to counteract the negative influence that is currently appearing to be winning.

Even if Dilma is able to hold onto power, the problems she will face of governability and the questions of how to bring the Judiciary, the legislature and media under control remain. If this painful process of truthfulness, looking into the mirror and seeing the reflection as not being a pretty one, this could be the step needed for the country to finally make the reforms necessary a reality, only time will tell.

Brazil and BRICS – Geopolitics and the wider picture

Ever since Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, the ex-President of Brazil, won power in 2002, the foreign policy of this once slumbering giant changed the face of global geopolitics.

The battle for the impeachment of the current President, his chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff, is also about attempting to reverse this policy.

Lula’s foreign policy was to strengthen ties with neighbours in Latin America, and to forge strong ties with the BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. This has created a much stronger more active Mercosur, the Southern Common Market. President Lula’s and Dilma’s foreign policy has led to the admission of Venezuela, soon to be followed by Bolivia, with associate countries Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname.

Perhaps more importantly, in terms of the global balance of power, is the co-operation between Russia, China and Brazil, who have formed the backbone of an alliance that unseats the Washington Consensus as the basis of international politics.

An  agreement in 2015 set up an alternative international bank of finance to the World bank, the New Development Bank, which members and other emerging or developing countries may apply to for funding of infra-structure and sustainable development projects, thus sidestepping the World Bank-I.M.F. monopoly of international finance. Together with the weight of India, this has become a viable multi-polar alternative to the unipolar imbalance that the U.S. has held since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Thus China is able to obtain the raw materials it badly lacks in its domestic production, such as oil and gas from Russia, minerals and food from Brazil. In exchange, China invests in infra-structure projects, such as the rail link between Russia and China, the trans-continental rail link from the Brazilian eastern Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific and the second Panama Canal, bypassing the U.S. hegemony of the first canal.

These agreements and trade deals have outplayed the U.S. at their own game, who are more used to getting their way through the C.I.A. interference in national and regional interests, than by sitting down to negotiate. They prefer pressure tactics to negotiating. Latin America learned the hard way that assassinations, coups, torture and manipulation of the media through U.S. trained and placed editors of newspapers and media outlets was not the way forward. With their independently minded view, the U.S. has reacted strongly to defame it.

The discovery of the first mega-oil field off the coast of Brazil since the North Sea in the 1970’s, called the pre-salt because it is buried in ultra-deep waters beneath a layer of salt deposits, means that Brazil has become a strategic player and target because of this. Just as Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan became targets of the oil industry and so-called U.S. interests, supposedly of terrorism, so has Brazil become the target of a campaign to unseat the progressive Worker’s Party government, which holds a state controlled oil industry giant, and which has refused to conform to the U.S. calls for a deregulated oil industry.

This has led to renewed interest by the U.S.A. in the Latin American region, which had been receiving less attention after the invasions into Afghanistan and Iraq. The Fourth U.S. Navy Fleet was reformed after many years of being disbanded, when the U.S. had its military dictatorships in place, who would do their bidding with no arguments. More recently, more independently minded governments have been elected who do not always agree with or cede to what the U.S. wishes. The free-trade zone of the Americas, ALCA, is a prime example, which was roundly rejected by Latin America. Presidents Kirchner in Argentina and Lula in Brazil, have strengthened the Mercosur economic community and implemented policies to lift the poor out of poverty and distribute wealth. This has not sat well with the traditional elites or the ruling neo-liberals in the U.S. who are more used to compliant southern neighbours, implementing corporation friendly policies.

In Argentina, Cristina Kirchner had managed to implement the Ley dos Medios, or Media Law, regulating the media industry. There was a big outcry that this was to limit freedom of the press, led by Clarin who would have to share their qausi-monopoly in the diversified media market. There are calls for the same to be implemented in Brazil where the Globo private domination of 16.2% of the print media , 56% of broadcast TV and 44% of the paid TV market. These media outlets have been leading players in the calls for corporation friendly governments and have called unfair when regulation is discussed. That, with other associated reasons as outlined in this series of articles, is why the coup against Dilma has been launched.

Brazil, although not alone in this, has been targeted by forces not wishing that their domination be challenged, hence the move for impeachment.