Tag Archives: Politics

Interpol accuses Sergio Moro of violation of human rights

Photo: William Volcov

By Miguel do Rosário

Jorunalist Bob Fernandes alerted, via Twitter:

CLOSE ATTENTION. In article 54 one of the reasons of Interpol withdrawing Tacla Duran from the red alert list: doubts about the conduct of the judge responsible (Moro) sufficient to violate article 2; cooperation can only be given with fundamental rights guaranteed. https://t.co/l3UsvQcs04

— Bob Fernandes (@Bob_Fernandes) 4 August 2018

Interpol understood that Sergio Moro violated article 2 of Interpol’s own Constitution.

Article 2 (1): To ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries and in the spirit of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights

From the newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo

Interpol takes Tacla Duran off the international wanted list

The investigation agency complied with a request from the lawyer and suspended the international red alert against his name since September 2016

Jamil Chade CORRESPONDENT / GENEVER Katna Baran, O Estado de S.Paulo

4 August 2018

Interpol, the international investigation agency, took the lawyer Rodrigo Tacla Duran off the body’s international wanted list. At the request of the defence, the agency suspended the red alert against his name since September 2016 made at the request of Brazilian Justice. Tacla Duran’s defence placed in check the impartiality of Judge Sérgio Moro to judge the case. The argument was the fact that the judge had cited the lawyer during the programme Roda Viva on TV Cultura.

Tacla Duran presented three arguments to Interpol to justify his request that the red alert on his name be withdrawn: his case had been transferred in part from Brazil to Spain, the rights to due legal process in Brazil had not been fulfilled and to complete the case, Spain had rejected his extradition from there.

According to Interpol, Tacla Duran presented “evidence that was easily verifiable from open sources”, that Moro “spoke publicly about him during an interview” about the case, placing the impartiality of the Lava Jato judge in Curitiba under suspicion.

“The Commission then considered that the allegations presented (by Tacla Duran) which, given the behaviour of the judge responsible for his case in Brazil, sufficient doubts had been raised of the fact of a violation of Article 2 of the Interpol Constitution”, the agency indicated in a document obtained by O Estado. Article 2 refers to the need for the institution to promote cooperation between police from different countries, provided the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is respected.

The case makes reference to the interview given by Moro on Roda Viva on the TV Cultura channel on 27th March. As a fugitive in Spain, Duran accused Moro of receiving undue amounts of money through a friend to favour plea bargains in the operation. In the interview on Roda Viva, the judge said he believed it was just an attempt to remove him from the case.

The Interpol Control Commission has been evaluating the case since July. After an evaluation and in consultation with authorities in Brazil and Spain, the newspaper O Estado found that the commission indicated that the elements presented by Tacla Duran were in fact “new” and would have to be considered. According to the agency, such data could have led Interpol to a “different conclusion” about the suspect.

The decision does not mean that Interpol questions the Brazilian judicial system. But it does indicate that an evaluation should be made on each case before maintaining the lawyer’s name on the list. “The Commission notes that the guarantees of Access to Justice, as well as principles of equal treatment before the law, the impartiality of the Judiciary and fundamental rights, such as full and adversarial defence are in fact rooted in the Brazilian Federal Constitution and in the country’s legal system”.

The agency therefore established that the data on Tacla Duran must be “deleted from the Interpol files”. The body also noted that Spanish Justice “did not ask for the alert to be maintained”.

Tacla Duran has lived in Spain ever since the first indications of his involvement in the corruption scheme at Petrobras were revealed by Lava Jato. According to the investigations, the lawyer was an operator for Odebrecht in the payments of bribe monies abroad. Firstly, he was the subject of a preventive arrest warrant in the 36th phase of Lava Jato in November 2016. At the time, Tacla Duran was already out of the country and was not arrested.

He is wanted in a process of investigating crimes such as corruption, money laundering and criminal conspiracy in a scheme involving construction works worth more than R$ 1.8 billion with the Pipe-Rack Consortium at the Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex (Comperj).  He is also a defendant in another process, also dismembered, investigating crimes of corruption against Petrobras and an investigation involving concession and highways in Paraná state.

The 13th Court of Curitiba requested the extradition of Tacla Duran to Brazil for crimes, which was denied by Spain due to the lawyer double nationality. On April 11th 2018, Moro decided to transfer part of this process to the Spanish authorities, considering treaty provisions and the use of a company set up in Spain to carry out the crimes investigated.

Interpol refused to comment officially on the document. Federal Justice affirmed that his preventive detention had not been revoked in Brazil. The media office said they would not comment officially on the matter involving Moro, nor on the Interpol decision.

The Federal prosecution service declared that the preventive arrest warrant against Tacla Duran remained in effect and valid. In a motion for habeas corpus filed by the lawyer, the 4th Federal Regional Court (TRF-4) maintained the warrant, recognizing its legality. “The Federal prosecution service continues to adopt all due legal measures for it to be fulfilled, including abroad”.

Boaventura de Sousa Santos unpicks the neo-liberal siege of universities

Boaventura de Sousa Santos

“The idea that the sole value of knowledge is the market value will kill the university. A university that is ‘sustainable’ because it finances itself is an unsustainable university as a common good, because it becomes transformed into a company”, the Portuguese sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos warned in one of the central talks of the Latin America and Caribbean Regional Higher Education Conference (CRES 2018), which ended today in Cordoba. With a doctorate in the sociology of Law and professor at the universities of Coimbra and Wisconsin-Madison, De Sousa Santos is – and he defines himself as – “a university activist” and has dedicated himself to the subject in various texts, the first in the mid-1990’s, and the last published this year.

The report is by Javier Lorca, published on Pagina/12, 15-06-2018. The translation from Spanish was by Cepat.

“If the students of 1918 were here today, He began, if we were these students, what reforms would be needed?” In a charming Spanish with a Portuguese accent, De Sousa Santos initially drew a parallel with Maio Frances, specified the progressive gains and characterized the present as a time full of dangers for public universities: “We are going through a conservative and reactionary global cycle controlled by neo-liberalism, which is nothing less than total domination by financial capital”. This is a more complex scenario than that faced by the rebellions of 1918 and 1968, for one reason: “Then, the global context allowed the thought that there was an alternative to capitalism. Now, it seems that capitalism has beaten its adversaries, and it is capitalism without fear”.

The neo-liberal project, he explained, aims at the construction of a “capitalism of the university”: “It started with the idea that the university should be relevant in creating the skills the market required”, followed by the proposals for taxation and privatization. “The final phase is the idea that the university should itself be a market, the university as an enterprise”. If the university is a just another good, it has to be measured: giving rise to the global rankings.

The neo-liberal ideology thus collides with the idea of “university as a common good”, the child of the gains obtained after the Reformation. “It is a difficult time for various reasons, and one of them is that there is no political attack, but rather depoliticized one. It is an attack which has two dimensions: budget cuts and the fight against the supposed inefficiency or corruption, which is a very selective fight, because we know that the public universities in general are well managed in comparison with other institutions”.

Boaventura de Sousa Santos identified three reasons for university being the target of the neo-liberal regime.

– its production of independent knowledge and critical questioning “the absence of alternatives that neo-liberalism tries to produce in our heads every day. If there are no alternatives, there is no politics, because politics is only alternatives. That is why many of the measures against university do not seem like politics, but rather economics, budget cuts, or juridical, the fight against corruption. What is behind this is the idea that university can be a tool for alternatives and resistance”.

– Neo-liberal thought seeks an eternal present to avoid all the tension between the past, present and future. University has always been, despite all the limitations, the possibility to criticise the present in relation to the past and with a view to a different future”.

– “University helped to create national projects (obviously, excluding the original peoples) and neo-liberalism does not want national projects. In its turn, universities have always been internationally solidarity, on the basis of the idea of a common good. But university capitalism wants another type of internationalism: the franchise, where the universities can buy academic products all over the world”.


The second part of the conference summarized a series of proposals to refound universities based on the Reform of 1918, but overcoming their limitations and radicalizing their democratizing spirit.

“The domination today has three heads: capitalism, colonialism and hetero-patriarchy”, De Sousa Santos postulated. “Our dilemma is that this domination is integrated. Capitalism works together with colonialism and the patriarchy. But the resistance is fragmented. Universities can be a field where thought articulates the resistance. That is also why universities are a target for neo-liberalism”.

What can be done? The first step, he said, is an epistemological break. “There is an enormous plurality of knowledge outside of universities: rural, urban, popular knowledge, that of women. Why have universities never taken these into account? Because the universities have not been decolonized. Their content, their social sciences, their history, are colonialist. To defend them as a public good, universities must carry out a deep self-criticism, on themselves. They have to abandon the arrogant idea that they are the only source of knowledge, open themselves up to a dialogue with other sources. We need to create Epistemologies of the South”.

In this sense, the second break concerns the radical reform of the social alliance that universities have to seek, not just with the urban bourgoisie classes, but with “the popular and impoverished classes, the victims of colonialism and the patriarchy, the racialized and sexualized bodies”. For this reason, he explained, “extension work has never been so important as it is today. Through the influence of neo-liberalism, extension work has been diverted to the obtaining of funds. This is perverse, this is not extension work, it is prostitution. Real extension work should be directed at the populations who are not solvent”. His proposal consists of inverting extension work, “it is not taking universities outwards, it is the bringing of non-university knowledge within”, and in turn, “articulating the different types of popular knowledge, because there has usually been prejudice between the different movements” (workers, feminists, peasants, LGBT).

Universities, he concluded to applause, must be restored, use their autonomy counter-hegemonically and “be transformed into a pluriversity. But the attack from neo-liberalism is so great that perhaps should change itself into subversion (subversity)”.

Originally published at: http://www.ihu.unisinos.br/579979-boaventura-de-sousa-santos-destrincha-o-assedio-neoliberal-as-universidades

“Lula knew it wasn’t going to work, from the posture from Justice and the media”

Lula Gulliver

Interview: Lígia Bonfanti / Editor: André Zanardo

“He is serene. From the attitude that justice and the media have adopted, he already knew that it was practically impossible”. This was how the ex-Minister of Justice Eugênio Aragão described the state of spirit of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, after the episodes on Sunday 8 June, in an exclusive interview with Justificando.

The conversation with Justificando took place after the visit by Aragão to the Federal Police Superintendency where he met with and talked to Lula. The ex-Minister gathered the facts that took place on Sunday, and classified the activities of the rapporteur of the process against Lula in the 4th Federal Regional Court, Pedro Gebran Neto, of Judge Sérgio Moro and of the President of the 4th Federal Regional Court, Carlos Eduardo Thompson Flores, as “acting like kids”.

Lula was to wait in Curitiba for the Court’s decision, because he knew that the duty judge’s decision is absolutely transitory. But they resolved to jump in head first and thus trample on all the rules of jurisdiction and competence.

Unlike the ex-President, Aragão was not calm during the interview, and was strongly critical of the judges, who as far as he is concerned, unduly interfered in the case, clearly revealing the practice of “lawfare” against Lula.

I do believe that Moro, Gebran and Thompson Flores should answer for this to the National Council of Justice, and if justice is to be taken seriously in Brazil, they should be punished administratively for what they got up to yesterday. This is shamelessness, everyone should be dumbfounded. I have worked for over 35 years in Justice, and I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen anything like this before. As far as I am concerned, this is scandalous. They threw justice into the mud. They should have been patient. Where could Lula run to?

Eugenio Aragão

Photo: Lula Marques / Agência PT

See the interview in full:

How was your talk with President Lula?

He is serene, tranquil. In fact, in this time he has spent in prison, he has acquired the patience of a Tibetan monk, a tranquillity. At the outset he knew this was practically impossible, from the posture from Justice and the media have systematically adopted against him, so he was not there nursing any hope or anything. He was tranquil, really very tranquil.

How was Lula’s day yesterday throughout this whole episode? Was there any actual movement?

No, at no time was he anxious or anything, he was laughing, he thought this whole situation was funny, and he was accompanying it, sometimes on television, sometimes with the police who came to tell him of this whole attitude of “revoke, don’t revoke”. So he was accompanying the whole thing, but he was very tranquil, very serene. I think he will, at the right time, write a letter manifesting his position.

What is your evaluation on the events of yesterday?

The truth is that amongst all those who manifested themselves yesterday in this whole process, the only one who was right was the duty appeal judge Rogério Favreto, because he undoubtedly had the jurisdiction as the duty appeal judge.

The question was not at all about what had been judged, it was something completely new. What was being discussed was Lula’s right to campaign for the election. So this was what was being put, nobody was talking about provisional execution of time to be served or anything, it was a completely new question. So there was no overlapping with the other judgements.

But Judge Sergio Moro, there from Portugal, became involved without the process to hand, without paper or anything. He starts making calls desperately, calls the superintendent here in Brazil not to obey the order from the appeal judge. Then he issues a completely senseless dispatch, because he could not even say that he “thought” he had the jurisdiction. Because a week and a half ago he was told off by the Supreme Court Justice Dias Toffoli in relation to José Dirceu, because after the Supreme Court ordered the release of Dirceu, he demanded that Dirceu should wear an ankle monitor. At that time Toffoli had already told him he had no jurisdiction. This situation of Lula was identical. He had already been told off for this. Now he decided on a show-down, that is, really decided on sedition. This is sedition, what he did. Really, he decided to face-off against the appeal judge.

And curiously, the strangest thing is that at 9:24 in the morning the system showed the certificate here that the decision had been made to release Lula. The “counter-order” from Moro was given at mid-day. So from 9:24 to mid-day, why did the Federal Police not release him? That means something very strange was going on: the phone calls. If you can reverse a written order by a duty judge by telephone, what justice is this? Then the lines hum. Moro makes a call to Gebran, calls Carlos Eduardo Thompson Flores, in this desperate frenzy. This is not the posture of a judge. This might be the posture of a politician, but a judge should never behave this way. A judge who behaves this way is not impartial, and thus he becomes a judge arousing suspicions, and he cannot conduct this process. That is obvious.

And as if that were not enough, he “consults” – in quotation marks, as there is no such thing in procedural law, without any jurisdiction, as he is on holiday, and even if he was not, he would have no jurisdiction, because the cognitive phase of the process has already ended. He “consults” the rapporteur, Gebran, who curiously recognizes this “consultation”, which is a non-existent act, and uses this “consultation” to give a “counter-order” in relation to the decision of the duty judge, who had the jurisdiction for the case, as Gebran was off-duty.

The correct thing to do was for the duty judge to decide, release Lula, the next day the process would go to the rapporteur, and the rapporteur would obviously give the counter-order. But no, when he was off-duty he simply goes there and gives the counter-order against the decision of the duty judge. In other words he also crossed the line.

But that is not all. Favreto goes back and affirms his competence, and he is quite right, as he is the only one with the competence at that moment, and he gives one hour for the Federal Police to fulfill the release order. Now, the whole of Brazil already knows he has given this order. The Federal Police turned a deaf ear, because behind the scenes was the Chief, Rogério Galloro, knowing through Justice Raul Jungmann that the order was not to be obeyed, because the President of the 4th Federal Regional Court, Thompson Flores had already called saying “I will decide later, hold him”. Once again, Carlos Eduardo Thompson Flores acted outside his jurisdiction, profoundly infringing jurisdictional ethics and worse, without being aware of the arguments in the case records.

So appeal judge Thompson Flores had no jurisdiction over the case?

He had no jurisdiction and did not know what it was about. The one who was speaking for the Court at that moment was Favreto. He orders Lula to be held and only at eight o’clock at night does he give his decision and in doing so, has the orders of a colleague of his disobeyed. This is a big mess, there’s no other name for it. This is stuff of kids. This is stuff of children. There is no other expression to describe what happened.

I do believe that Moro, Gebran and Thompson Flores should answer for this to the National Council of Justice, and if justice is to be taken seriously in Brazil, they should be punished administratively for what they got up to yesterday. This is shamelessness, everyone should be dumbfounded. I have worked for over 35 years in Justice, and I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen anything like this before. As far as I am concerned, this is scandalous. They threw justice into the mud. They should have been patient. Where could Lula run to? He probably wouldn’t even have left Curitiba, because he’s an educated man, he knows there are limits. Lula was to wait in Curitiba for the Court’s decision, because he knew that the duty judge’s decision is absolutely transitory. But they resolved to jump in head first and thus trample on all the rules of jurisdiction and competence.

Much has been said about the friendship between Gebran and Moro, and the impossibility of Gebran being the rapporteur of the case.

On this matter I have no great knowledge, but I heard that there is a Whataspp group between Gebran, Moro, Fachin and everyone who had dealings with the process. If that is true, that is something that is truly horrendous, because that subverts the whole rule of double jurisdiction. If the first, the second and the third instance of jurisdiction are arranging between themselves, then what is the law of double jurisdiction if that exists? Nothing. In other words, give the ruling at the first instance and then have everything arranged between themselves.

You said yesterday that Lula was “kidnapped”.

Yes, because when there is a legitimate order to release President Lula and he is held in captivity, at the whim of magistrates without jurisdiction, he is not imprisoned legitimately, he is kidnapped, he is being held in false imprisonment. He is kidnapped. This is not a legitimate prison. Legitimate prison presupposes that it has been ordered by a competent, impartial authority instituted by law. In this case, there was nothing of the sort. There was a judge in a bathing costume in Portugal, giving orders from his thighs, and another here in Brazil attending to the clamour from his friend. This is not the act of a judge, this is false imprisonment. This is kidnapping by an articulated group, which if it were some other kind of activity could be called a criminal organization.

Soldiers exchange guns for the ballot box


tortura-regime_militarCrédito: CEBI

Jornal do Brasil Álvaro Caldas

With a view to the coming elections, the ways of politics and the electoral game indicate the rise of a new and disquieting phenomenon in Brazilian politics: those in uniform. After the devastating experience of the military dictatorship which lasted 20 years, the military are coming back onto the national scene with a large appetite for power. They made the transition from dictatorship to democracy with the indelible marks of torture and violence against human rights. This time they are positioning themselves to take power not through the use of arms, but through the vote, entering into political activity en masse, up until now predominantly left to civilians. The place for the military was in their headquarters, where they conspired to take power.

They are presenting themselves as candidates in the wake of Operation Lava Jato, which has indiscriminately criminalized politics and politicians, and of an unprecedented economic and social crisis in the history of the country. Nauseated by the old oligarchic and corrupt leadership who have perpetuated themselves in power, the voters want change and renewal. The military are seeking a place for themselves in this space under the shabby banner as saviours of the nation. The objective of this group is to elect a conservative parliamentary caucus of “law and order”.

According to studies and research published by newspapers and magazines, about 100 retired armed forces officers, amongst them eight generals, plan to run for office in the coming elections. For the retired general, Antonio Hamilton Martins Mourão, “there is a demand, and we have decided to take part, because if we want change, there are only two ways: by force or by playing the game”. Mourão is the same officer who threatened the country with intervention by the armed forces.

They have decided to take part in the game, and the barracks are in a state of agitation. There are generals, majors and captains organizing to run in majority and proportional elections in October. Three of them are pre-candidates as governors of the Federal District, Ceara and Rio Grande do Norte. All of them are affiliated with the PSL Party of ex-captain Jair Bolsonaro, the leader of the group, with his intolerant, racist and homophobic preaching of the fascist kind.

An environment favourable to witch-hunting has contaminated the Federal Police, military police, civil police chiefs and even inspectors of the Federal Highway Police, in a military invasion never seen before in history. It is calculated that more than 400 candidates intend to swap their uniforms for politics. Weak and with no popular support, President Temer has become largely responsible for this uniformed invasion, by militarizing his government. He implemented the unsuccessful intervention by the military in Rio de Janeiro, placing officers in strategic posts and returning the Ministry of Defence to a General, after 20 years of being occupied by a civilian.

In this depoliticized climate, of unemployment, bitterness and rancour, where public security plays a large role, the population is heading for the elections with the dangerous risk of the institutions having a powerful caucus in uniform in the future Congress. These will be added to the religious caucus, dominated by the evangelists, those of celebrities, people with great exposure in the media, thus reinforcing the ammunition of the already existent guns caucus. For the most part they are police without any political tradition, formed in the unified order of the barracks and unprepared to understand complex Brazilian problems.

We are facing a situation where reality overtakes fiction. The characters in scene for this Brazilian tragedy are the same as always, this time transformed into spectres once again placing democracy at risk. Behind them, visible to the spectators, the film is passing of murder, of corruption, of social misery and political greed. These are the themes to be used by the false actors in their appeals to win votes in their campaigns.

Working on another front, but with the same objective, the head of the Army, General Eduardo Villas Boas, opened up an agenda to receive all the pre-candidates to the Presidency of the Republic in his office. In recent weeks, he has already talked to nine of them under the pretext of defending the inclusion of projects of interest of the institution in their programmes for government.

Under a democratic regime and in the middle of a troubled electoral process, the intervention by the commander makes it clear that this is to pressure and intervene in the October vote, with the risks inherent to politicization of the armed forces that the country already knows.

There were 20 years of dictatorship and State terrorism, with the resulting houses of death, murders and disappearances of internees. In its final report, the National Truth Commission points out that “the practice of grave violations was carried out in a planned and systematic manner, constituting a pattern of behaviour then adopted by the armed forces”. The country is to this day waiting for recognition of these transgressions and the asking for a pardon from the head of the Army. That would be timely, at this moment, when the soldiers are exchanging the gun for the ballot box.


Crédito: Dever de Classe

Militares trocam armas por urnas

Crédito: CEBI

Jornal do Brasil Álvaro Caldas

Os caminhos da política e do jogo eleitoral com vistas às próximas eleições indicam o surgimento de um novo e inquietador fenômeno na política brasileira: o grupo da farda. Depois da devastadora experiência da ditadura, que durou 20 anos, os militares ressurgem na cena nacional com um grande apetite de poder. Transitaram da ditadura para a redemocratização com a marca indelével da tortura e de violências contra os direitos humanos. Desta vez posicionam-se para chegar ao poder não mais pela via das armas, mas das urnas, entrando em massa na atividade politica, até aqui predominantemente destinada aos civis. Lugar de militar era na caserna, de onde conspiravam para chegar ao poder.

Eles se apresentam como candidatos na esteira da Operação Lava Jato, que criminalizou a política e os políticos de forma indiscriminada, e de uma crise econômica e social sem precedentes na história do país. Enojado com as velhas lideranças oligárquicas e corruptas que se perpetuam no poder, o eleitor quer mudanças e renovação. Os militares buscam um lugar neste espaço com a surrada bandeira de salvadores da pátria. O objetivo do grupo é eleger uma frente parlamentar conservadora, a bancada “da lei e da ordem”.

Segundo estudos e pesquisas divulgadas por jornais e revistas, cerca de cem militares da reserva das Forças Armadas, entre eles oito generais, deverão concorrer a um cargo nas próximas eleições. Para o general da reserva Antônio Hamilton Martins Mourão “existe uma demanda, e o pessoal resolveu participar. Até porque se a gente quer mudar, só tem duas maneiras: ou é debaixo de pau ou é fazendo o jogo”. Mourão é aquele mesmo oficial que ameaçou o país com uma intervenção das Forças Armadas.

Decidiram partir para o jogo. Os quartéis estão agitados. São generais, majores e capitães que se organizam para disputar as eleições majoritárias e proporcionais em outubro. Três deles são pré-candidatos aos governos do Distrito Federal, Ceará e Rio Grande do Norte. Todos filiados ao PSL do ex-capitão Jair Bolsonaro, o líder da turma, com sua pregação intolerante, racista e homofóbica, de cunho fascista.

O ambiente favorável às bruxas contaminou delegados da Polícia Federal, policiais militares, policiais civis e até inspetores da Polícia Rodoviária Federal, numa invasão militar jamais vista na história. Calcula-se que mais de 400 candidatos pretendem trocar a farda pela política. Fraco e sem nenhum apoio popular, o presidente Temer tornou-se o grande responsável por essa invasão fardada, ao militarizar seu governo. Fez a fracassada intervenção no Rio, colocou oficiais em postos estratégicos e devolveu o ministério da Defesa a um general, depois de 20 anos de ocupação por um civil.

Nesse clima despolitizado, de desemprego, amargura e rancor, em que a segurança pública terá grande destaque, a população se encaminha para as eleições. Com o perigoso risco para as instituições de ter, no futuro Congresso, uma poderosa bancada da farda. Que vai se somar às bancadas religiosa, dominada pelos evangélicos; a de celebridades, de pessoas com grande exposição na mídia, reforçando, assim, a munição da já existente bancada da bala. Em sua maioria são policiais sem nenhuma tradição politica, formados na ordem unida do quartel e despreparados para compreender os complexos problemas brasileiros.

Estamos diante de uma situação em que a realidade supera a ficção. Os personagens em cena dessa tragédia brasileira são os mesmos de sempre, agora transformados em espectros que novamente põem em risco a democracia. Por trás deles, visíveis para os espectadores, passa o filme dos assassinatos, da corrupção, da miséria social e da ganância politica. Temas que serão usados pelos falsos atores como apelos para ganhar votos em suas campanhas.

Atuando em outra frente, mas com o mesmo objetivo, o comandante do Exército, general Eduardo Villas Bôas, abriu uma agenda para receber em seu gabinete todos os pré-candidatos à Presidência da República. Nas últimas semanas, já conversou com nove deles, a pretexto me defender a inclusão de projetos de interesse da instituição em seus programas de governo.

Na vigência de um regime democrático e em meio a um conturbado processo eleitoral, a intervenção do comandante deixa claro que se trata de um ato de pressão e interferência no pleito de outubro, com os riscos inerentes de politização das Forças Armadas, que o país já conhece.

Foram 20 anos de ditadura e terrorismo de Estado, com direito a Casas da Morte, assassinatos e desaparecimento de presos. Em seu relatório final, a Comissão Nacional da Verdade aponta que “a prática de graves violações desenvolveu-se de forma planejada e sistemática, constituindo um padrão do comportamento então adotado pelas Forças Armadas”. Até hoje o país espera o reconhecimento dessas transgressões e um pedido de desculpas do comandante do Exercito. Oportuno, neste momento, em que os militares trocam as armas pelas urnas.


Crédito: Dever de Classe

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.