Tag Archives: Politics

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.

Report of the Facts and Plots to Oust President Dilma Rousseff

This is the translated chapter of a book available online in Portuguese, “Brazil 2016 – Recession and Coup” published by the Perseu Abramo Foundation, reporting on some of the tricks and illegalities that were used to overthrow the then President, Dilma Rousseff.

My intention in publishing this article is to promote understanding of what is going on in Brazil now, by giving an explanation in part of how we got here. It shows that there was deliberate effort against the project for the country implemented by the Worker’s Party (PT) and how this relates to the imprisonment without evidence of Lula, the President of Brazil prior to this coup. This imprisonment has been done in order that he not be able to stand in the national elections again in October of this year, where he is clear favourite in the opinion polls, with more votes than all other contenders combined.

The full list of chapters is as follows:

Political Crisis of Alliances and the Construction of Public Opinion

Economic Impasses

Construction of Coup

The Programmatic Agreement

The International and Regional Picture

Report of the Facts and Plots to Oust President Dilma Rousseff

The Coup Against the State

The Anti-social Policy

The Economic Policy

The Coup d’État Against Regional Development

The Political Struggle After The Coup

Report of the Facts and Plots to Oust President Dilma Rousseff

On the 2nd of December 2015, the then President of the Congress in Brazil, Eduardo Cunha, of PMDB party for Rio de Janeiro, authorized the opening of the impeachment process of President Dilma Rousseff. The coup was thus for­mally begun, which was to be consummated on the 31st of August 2016, with the final voting in the Federal Senate, culminating in the definitive removal of the elected President. This chapter relates the succession of facts that led to that result, demonstrating the putschist offensive and the consequent overthrow of the democratically elected government.

FROM THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS THROUGH TO THE SETTING IN MOTION OF THE PROCESS IN THE CHAMBER

The month of December 2015 showed the outline of how the coup against President Dilma Rousseff would be. The leadership of Eduardo Cunha (PMDB) in this effort became evident, from the acceptance of the impeachment through the most diverse attempts at manoeuvres in favour of the process, demonstrating his activity as Presi­dent of the Lower House as determinant in weakening the Dilma government and for the consummation of the coup. The tone was set for the coup attempt by the PMDB and by Michel Temer, as well as the media, and the most diverse inter­ventions by the Supreme Federal Court (STF) in the process.

The President of the Lower House, who had already received various motions for impeachment from the opposition, himself had a process underway against him in the Council of Ethics for having lied in the Commission of Inquiry into Petrobras when he affirmed not to have accounts abroad1. Bargaining for his political survival, he blackmailed the Worker’s Party (PT) caucus within the Council, but they did not accept his proposal and declared their vote in favour of his disenfranchisement. On the same day, Cunha accepted the motion for impeachment filed by Janaina Paschoal, Miguel Reale Junior and Hélio Bicudo. The justification for this motion, a process which in accordance with the Federal Cons­titution requires proof that the person has committed the crime non-compliance, accused the President of the Republic of acting against the Law of Fiscal Responsibility and the attributions of the Execu­tive by delaying the passing of funds from the State banks and that these funds were used in the Budget without authorization from the National Congress, the charge merely being the excuse for the coup being plotted.

Less than one week afterwards, a letter was published from the then Vice-President Michel Temer to Dilma Rousseff breaking off their relationship. Temer, who months before had left the post of political articulator in the government, declared in his letter that he felt like a “decorative Vice-President”, affirming to the President that she “had no confidence in myself and the PMDB, now and will not have tomorrow”. The loyalty Temer attributed to himself and to the PMDB was not sustained by the facts, with the right to launch a plan for government through the foundation of the party, called the “Temer Plan”, the document “A Bridge to the Future” (Fundação Ulysses Guimarães, 2015). The party had been divided for some time around the support for Dilma Rousseff2, with intense pressure for more posts and ministries, always attended to by the government. Meanwhile, Temer intensified his talks with the putschist opposition. According to the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, Temer had left the post of political articulator in the Dilma government in August 2015, to come closer to the opposition and the right-wing PSDB party and to guarantee support for a future government (O Estado de S. Paulo, 2015). Thus, it became clear that the Vice-President’s inten­tion was to conspire against the voting alliance he had been part of and against the programme on which it was elected.

The day after the letter was published, there was the first attempt at manoeuvring by Eduardo Cunha in favour of the impeachment, as well as the first interference by the Federal Supreme Court in the process: in articulation with the opposition, Cunha opened a gap for dis­sident Congressmen within his own party to form an alternative alliance in­dicated by the caucus leadership. This enabled a distortion, which meant that the Special Commission that would analyze the motion to be with a pro-coup majority, which did not reflect the composition of the House at that time, as the government still had a sufficient majority to block the process. In reaction to the manoeuvre, the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) filed a suit in the Supreme Court questio­ning the whole method of formation of the Commission, which included a secret vote, division of the commission into blocks and not into parties, as well as the absence of indication of leadership by the caucuses. The action was received by the Justice Edson Fachin, who suspended the impeachment process for definition of the whole set of rules and formalities that regulated the process. Thus, the composition of the commission as articulated by Cunha was annulled.

In less than ten days, the Supreme Federal Court defined what the procedure was to be adopted during the impeachment process of President Dilma Rousseff. Thus, the process in Congress was to be run according to the following rules: otherwise than as articulated by Cunha, the Impeachment Commission was to be chosen through the sole ballot sheet indicated by the party leaders, with open voting. After the setting up, Dilma would have ten sessions to defend herself, and the final report was to be voted on after five sessions, and afterwards by the plenary. If approved by the House, the Senate would decide on continuing the process or otherwise, removing the President in the former case. After the removal, a judgement would be begun by the Senators to define the definitive condemnation or absolution. Despite the formal definitions of the impeachment procedure, the Supreme Court did not judge the merits, i.e. the veracity of the facts about coup, providing a false air of legality to condemn a President who had not committed any crime of responsibility.

In the midst of such a huge impasse, with the Legislature going into recess, the government replaced the Minister of Finance, Joaquim Levy, for the then Minister of Planning, Nelson Barbosa, as a way of reverting the economic situation, damaged after the fiscal adjustment. Only in February 2016 was the impeachment to be given a new look after Congress appealed against the definition of the procedure in the full Supreme Court, adding further delays to the process. Thus, a breach was opened for further damage to the government, with its support base diminishing and the votes that would have guaranteed its survival migrating little by little to the opposition, with intense efforts by Temer and his allies negotiating posts and ministries in the composition of his future putschist government.

In the three months it took to define the procedure setting up the Commission in the House, the putschists spared no efforts to damage the legitimate government: the media ope­rations concerning the Operation Lava Jato were intensified with the clear purpose of attacking and sabotaging the Dilma government, the Worker’s Party and ex-President Lula, as will be explained further. With all the pyrotechnics at their disposal, the marketer João Santana and his wife were imprisoned, whilst the media published on magazine covers, in their headlines and prime time reports the contents of the illegal leaking of the plea bargain by ex-Senator Delcidio do Amaral, filled with unfounded accu­sations. In the midst of this huge attack by the putschists, large demonstrations were organized against the government and in favour of impeachment, which according to the opinion poll studies carried out by Perseu Abramo Foundation Public Opinion and Studies Nu­cleus, were far from representing the “people”, as people within their number and enthusiasts bragged. According to the studies, those present were mostly men (54%), white (70%) and upper-middle class (68% earned more than five times the minimum wage), a profile quite distinct from the Brazilian population (Perseu Abramo Foundation, 2016). Nevertheless, recordings were later published in a report on the UOL portal of one of the leaders of Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL) in which it was affirmed that the group obtained funding for these demonstrations from political parties such as DEM, PSDB and PMDB. At the time, the PMDB had not yet officially split from the Dilma government. According to the report:

“The movement also negotiated finan­cial assistance with the PSDB Youth for their logistics, such as payment of food and rental of buses, and was supported by DEM ‘party machinery’. […] The PMDB had paid for the printing of leaflets for the MBL to publicize the pro-impeachment demonstrations that took place on March 13th.” (UOL, 2016)

The joint action by the various putschist forces united around the overthrow of the democratically elected government was decisive in advancing the impeachment process, and this became evident during March 2016. Prior to the protests, on March 4th, the most media savvy opera­tion up to that point was carried out during the 24th phase of Lava Jato: ex-President Lula was coercitively arrested to make a statement at the Federal Police (PF), without him ever having refused to make a statement. Lula, who was one of the principal targets of the putschist front within the Judiciary and investigatory bodies, the Federal Police and Public Prosecutor Office, was confronted by many cameras and journalists already primed and waiting to record the occasion. The reaction from supporters, however, intensified the struggle in the social movement sectors against the coup, generating greater mobilization against the coup on March 18th. According to Datafolha, about 95,000 people gathered to defend democracy in São Paulo.

In the midst of such turbulence, after the Supreme Federal Court denied an appeal from Congress, the impeachment was allowed to proceed in Congress. With the aim of strengthening the political articulation of the government in relation to members of the Legislature, President Dilma announ­ced the nomination of ex-President Lula as her Cabinet Chief of Staff on March 16th. However, the putschist front immediately reacted in one of the most lamentable episodes in Brazilian republican history: Sergio Moro, the first instance judge responsible for Operation Lava Jato, published a recording of a telephone conversation between the President and Lula on the prime time Globo network national news, in which they were arranging the details of the swearing in of the ex-President as a new minister. The recordings were widely disseminated and the media dedicated to constructing the narrative that the aim of the nomination was to provide legal immunity to Lula, i.e. the right to be judged solely in the highest instances of the Judiciary. Immediately, putschist sectors of the right-wing took to the streets to protest against the nomination in an automatic and hardly spontaneous manner. With the argument that this was a distortion of its purpose, a federal judge suspended the swearing in of Lula as a Mi­nister, and this position was reinforced the next day by Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Men­des, who in a injunction ruled to accept the motion by the PSDB and PPS parties. Nevertheless, the recordings were of a conversation with the President and made without judicial authorization. Afterwards, Judge Moro apologized to the Federal Supreme Court for the publishing of the recording.

Such concern from Judge Sergio Moro in leaking facts to the media was not repeated a few days later. After the leaking of a spreadsheet from the engineering company Odebrecht, one of the leading ones investigated in Ope­ration Lava Jato, which contained many politicians benefiting from large amounts of money, including many names from the opposition and from the putschist front, when he decreed judicial secrecy so as not to generate “premature conclusions”.

In the same week, the Bar Association of Brazil (OAB) filed another motion for impeachment in the House, joining the group of entities calling for the coup, notably led by the National Confederation of Industry (CNI), the Federation of In­dustries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp), the Federation of In­dustries of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Firjan), the National Confederation of Commerce of Goods, Services and Tourism (CNC), the National Confederation of Transport (CNT), the Agriculture and Stock Confederation of Brazil (CNA) Força Sindical, amongst others. One day after the position taken by the OAB, on the 23rd of March 2016, the PMDB announced their official breaking with the Dilma Rousseff government.

As a counterpart to the impeachment of Dilma, the pro­gressive wing filed two motions for impeachment against Michel Temer in April. After the recusal of Cunha in opening the process, the Federal Supreme Court intervened and Justice Marco Aurelio obliged the President of the Congress to set up the commission to analyze the impeachment of the then Vice-President. One of the motions was filed by Cid Gomes, of the PDT party. By the end of 2016 the process against Temer had gone nowhere. In the same week, the rapporteur of the impeachment process in the House Special Commission, Deputy Jovair Arantes of the Brazilian Worker’s Party of Goias (PTB-GO) gave his report in favour of impeachment process being heard.

In the same week, the then Federal Attorney-General, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, filed the defence, demonstrating that the process had been faulty from the start in being motivated by personal vengeance by the President of Congress, Eduardo Cunha. Cardozo also tried unsuccessfully to obtain a ruling against the impeachment in the Federal Supreme Court, which refused to interfere on the merits of the process. On the same day as the report was approved by the Commission by 38 votes to 27, a recording was published of the Vice-President Michel Temer talking as if the impeachment had already passed, causing embarrassment and demonstrating that that there never was any option, and that the coup was already taken as a given for some time. Little by little, the parties were leaving the support base of the Dilma government and were adding their voice for her impeachment, despite all the efforts to maintain a minimum of support that would guarantee the 172 votes against the coup. Temer and his allies, including Ministers and ex­-Ministers of Dilma, negotiated behind the scenes bargaining for posts and indi­cations to ensure the coup would pass with ease.

On April 17th 2016, in the longest session in the history of the Congress, Brazil watched a horror show on national TV, with the impeachment being approved by 367 votes to 137, and was then sent to the Federal Senate. Transmitted on the national TV networks, mobilizing those in favour and against the coup, lamentable scenes were shown, with votes in favour of the impeachment being justified by the most absurd reasons: Jair Bolsonaro, for example, then deputy of the Social Christian Party for Rio de Janeiro (PSC-RJ), dedicated his vote to Colonel Brilhante Ustra, a notorious torturer in the military dictatorship who had committed abuses against President Dilma Rousseff herself in the period when she was imprisoned and tortured by the regi­me. Innumerable deputies dedicated their vote to family members, to political friends and even to God. Deputy Raquel Muniz, of the Social Democratic Party for Minas Gerais (PSD-MG) dedicated her vote to her husband, Ruy Muniz, then Mayor of Mon­tes Claros, highlighting his supposed ethics and example of good management. The day after the voting, he was arrested and imprisoned by the Federal Police. Cases such as this demonstrated the absence of worth and the type of person who helped oust a democratically elected President.

In the middle of the voting on the impeachment, with the Dilma government’s base of support in ruins, a new coalition of parties was formed who remained completely faithful to the government in the voting, consisting of the Worker’s Party (PT), the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) and the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL). Another party which supported the government in the voting was the Democratic Worker’s Party (PDT), with 63.2% of their votes against the impeachment.

Besides the opposition led by the Brazilian Social Democra­cy Party (PSDB), with 100% of votes in favour of the coup, various parties making up the allied opposition base supported the impeachment en masse: the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB), 100% of votes for impeachment; Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), 88.1%; Progressive Party (PP), 84.6%; Social Democratic Party (PSD), 78.4%; Brazilian Worker’s Party (PTB), 70%; Republican Social Order Party (PROS), 66.7%; Republic Party (PR), 65%. All these headed Ministries and actively took part in the government they helped overthrow. Such positions made up a new support base which would work for the future putschist government of Michel Temer.

THE IMPEACHMENT IN THE SENATE: REMOVAL, INTERIM GOVERNMENT AND CONSUMMATION OF THE COUP

After the voting on April 17th 2016, the impeachment proceeded to the Federal Senate, delivered by hand by the President of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, to the President of the Senate, Renan Calheiros, PMDB Senator for Alagoas. In accordance with the formal procedure, after having received it the Senate would have 48 hours for the parties to indicate their representatives to the Special Commission for Impeachment to draw up a report which, if favourable and if approved, would decide whether the legislature would open the process against Dilma Rousseff or not.

The Commission consisted of 21 Senators, and ten days after being set up would have to decide on the admissibility of the impeachment process, to be voted in plenary session, requiring only a simple majority (41 votes) of all the Senators. During these ten days, the sides for the prosecution and the defence would be respon­sible for trying to convince the Senators of their arguments. However, the process was clearly already defined before being set in motion, without the right to a full defence. The putschists were already disposed to overthrow Dilma at any cost, without hearing the defence and without abiding to the charges. The rapporteur chosen, for example, was Senator Antonio Anastasia of the PSDB-MG, a notorious ally of Senator Aecio Neves, one of the leaders of the opposition and defeated candidate in the 2014 elections. The selectivity and partiality of the judgement was laid bare when Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, of the Sustainability Network (Rede) of Amapa, questioned the accuser Janaina Paschoal about the content of the budgetary decrees emitted by Michel Temer, without mentioning that he had signed them as Vice-President, identical to those which were the basis used to accuse Dilma of committing the crime of responsibility. Paschoal, who had affirmed there was no legal basis for any move to impeach the putschist Vice-President, responded to Rodrigues that such decrees were a crime and should be punished with impeachment, to which Randolfe responded: “You have just given the very reasons by which the impeachment of Vice-President Michel Temer should also be proceeded. What I have just described were acts carried out by the Vice-President” (Folha de S. Paulo, 2016), to the embarrassment of Janaina.

In the midst of voting on the report, a new fact emerged: Justice Teori Zavascki of the Federal Supreme Court ruled on an injunction and stripped Eduardo Cunha of his parliamentary mandate and removed him from the Presidency of the Congress on May 5th 2016. This intervention was in response to a motion filed by the Attorney-General Rodrigo Janot in December. The delay seen in this motion of almost six months led to discontent when compa­red with the speed with which the Supreme Court dealt with cases that deeply affected the government, such as defining the impeachment procedure in less than a fortnight, or suspending the nomination of Lula to Chief of Staff in less than two days. Such delay, allowed Cunha to exercise his influence and power to manoeuvre the whole impeachment process in favour of the putschist side led by him and by Michel Temer. According to Janot, in the motion filed, Cunha used his post to obstruct investigations and to intimidate those involved in the process. After his removal, the Presidency of the lower house of Congress was occupied by Waldir Maranhão, from the PP party of Maranhão.

When he took on the Presidency of the Congress, something which sur­prised everyone, Waldir Maranhão annulled all the impeachment sessions in the House, attending to the motion from the Attorney-General of the Republic (AGU). According to the AGU, the parties could not have oriented the caucus Congressmen to vote, and the defence should have spoken last in the session. However, one day later, Waldir did an about turn and the impeachment continued as normal.

In the Senate, the report had been approved on May 6th, and on the 11th the session was opened to approve the opening of the impeachment process against Dilma by 55 votes in favour and 22 against, removing the President from exercising her mandate for up to 180 days. The party lines seen in the lower house was practically repeated: only the Senators for the PT, PCdoB and Rede voted in their blocks against the impeachment. Whereas the one-time allies gave massive support in favour, giving rise to intense negotiation behind the scenes with Temer and his supporters: of the 19 PMDB Senators, 13 voted to remove Dilma. All six from the PP, four from PR, one from PRB, as well as part of the PSD caucuses (three of four) and PDT (two of three) also voted to have Dilma descend the ramp of the Planalto Palace.

With the removal, Dilma made a declaration to the press denouncing the coup d’etat she was undergoing. According to the President:

“Ever since I was elected, part of the opposition who were unable to accept it, have asked for a recount of the votes, have tried to annul the elections and afterwards openly conspired for my impeachment. They have immersed the country in a permanent state of political instability, impairing the recovery of the economy with a single objective: to take by force what they were unable to win at the ballot box. My government has been the target of intense and unceasing sabotage. The obvious objective has been to impede me from governing, and thus to bring about an environment propitious for the coup. When the mandate of an elected President is withdrawn, on the charge of a crime they have not committed, the name given to this in a demo­cratic world is not impeachment, it is a coup.” (Rousseff, 2016)

Dilma was also emphatic in demonstrating the absence of any crime of responsibility and the consequent injustice. In the same speech, the President stressed that she had never been complacent about corrup­tion and that the administrative acts that her opponents used as an excuse to open a process of impeachment followed the rules es­tablished for the drawing up of budgetary supplementation decrees 3.

As a result, on the same day as Vice-President Michel Te­mer announced his Cabinet and took on the interim Presidency. In his team there were only white men, with no women or negroes in Ministerial posts, with cuts in funda­mental areas with the loss of status of Ministry or incorporation into other portfolios such as Culture, Secretariat for Women, Racial Equality, Agricultural Development, Science and Technology, Social Security, among others. Included in those nominated, in betrayal of the programme and the electoral mandate which led Temer to the post of Vice-President were names of the PSDB and DEM parties who had been defeated in 2014 and who had led the coup, as well as many of those subject to investigation in corruption scandals. Nevertheless, Temer took office with the promise to implement the plan of government im­posed by the PMDB, “A Bridge to the Future”, later complemented by the document, “Socetial Crossing”, whose impacts were described and analyzed in chapter 4, without passing scrutiny at the ballot box.

With Temer’s taking over the Presidency, various resistance movements began to put pressure on the putschist government. Sectors linked to culture principally, protested actively against the interim President and his decision to withdraw the status of Ministry from the Cultu­re portfolio. In reaction to this, various occupations spread throughout Brazil, especially in the State offices of the National Arts Foundation (Funar­te), the body responsible for carrying out public policies for the sector. The offices of the National Institute for Histori­cal and Artistic Heritage (Iphan) and of the Ministry of Culture (MinC) itself were occupied. Another grass roots movement that applied intense pressure was the Homeless Worker’s Movement (MTST), which even camped out in front of Michel Temer’s house and demonstrated in front of the Presidency office, both in São Paulo.

The Ministers nominated by Temer were:

Ministry Nominee
Federal Attorney-General Fabiano Medina Osorio
Agriculture Blairo Maggi (PP)
Central Bank Ilan Goldfajn (Banco Itau)
Chief of Staff Eliseu Padilha (PMDB)
Cities Bruno Araujo (PSDB)
Science and Technology and Communications Gilberto Kassab (PSD)
Culture Marcelo Calero (PSDB)
Audit, Transparency and Control Fabiano Silveira
Education Mendonça Filho (DEM)
Defence Raul Jungmann (PPS)
Social and Agricultural Development Osmar Terra (PMDB)
Sport Leonardo Picciani (PMDB)
Finance Henrique Meirelles (PSD)
National Integration Helder Barbalho (PMDB)
Justice and Citizenship Alexandre de Moraes (PSDB)
Environment Sarney Filho (PV)
Mines and Energy Fernando Bezerra Filho (PSB)
Planning Romero Juca (PMDB)
Foreign Relations Jose Serra (PSDB)
Health Ricardo Barros (PP)
Secretariat for Government Geddel Vieira Lima (PMDB)
Secretariat of Institutional Security Sergio Etchegoyen
  (Armed Forces)
Work and Social Security Ronaldo Nogueira (PTB)
Transport Mauricio Quintella (PR)
Tourism Henrique Alves (PMDB)

On May 23rd 2016, conversations were published between Romero Juca of the PMDB for Roraima, one of the main allies of Michel Temer, and the then Minister of Planning and ex-President of Petrobras Transporte S.A (Transpetro) Sergio Machado, recorded by him as part of a plea bargain agreement. The content was explosive and made the coup more obvious still. In the conversations, Juca and Machado referred to the impeachment as necessary to change the government and to halt the bloodletting caused by Operation Lava Jato. According to Machado, “the easiest solution was to place Michel” (Fo­lha de S. Paulo, 2016). Thus, according to what was said in the recordings, Temer would take power in an overall national agreement involving the Supre­me Court to halt everything and to limit its effects. According to Juca, Justices of the Federal Supreme Court had affirmed that as long as Dilma was in government, nothing could be stopped.

The impact of the recordings was huge, but not enough to halt the coup. The recordings, as revealed by the media, had been held by the Federal Attorney-General since March 2016, therefore whilst the impeachment process was already underway. They were made public only after the President had been ousted, because if this had been done before they would clearly have had an impact on the desired outcome. Recordings were also leaked of Renan Calheiros and Jose Sarney, attacking Lava Jato and showing their apprehension on the impact of plea bargain agreements and investigations of the entire political class. However, these leaks only served to show the conspiring and to weaken the interim government. Romero Juca resigned, and another two Ministers fell: Fabiano Silveira, nominated by Temer to the Ministry of Transparency, who appeared in one of the recordings attacking Operation Lava Jato, and Henrique Alves, nominated to the Ministry of Tourism, whose name was involved in accusations of receiving bribes, according to the plea bargain by Sergio Machado.

Whilst the interim government applied its neo-liberal agenda, abolishing rights and liquidating social programmes, as shown in other chapters of this book, the impeachment proceeded in the Senate. In accordance with the procedure defined by the Federal Supreme Court in April 2016, the process should go on with the same rules used in the impeachment of ex-President Fernando Collor de Mello in 1992. Thus, the then Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court, Ricardo Lewandowski, chaired the Federal Senate to guide the process. A long phase of witness testimony was begun with accusation and defence. In the midst of this stage, the expert testimony in the Senate was notable exempting Dilma of responsibility in the emission of the budgetary supplementation decrees. According to the testimony:

“From the analysis of the data, the documents and the information relating to the Safra Plan, no deliberate acts were identified of the President of the Republic which had contributed directly or immediately to delays in the payments to take place.” (Federal Senate, 2016)

The farce of the judgement, which should have entailed the right to a full defence, was demonstrated by the complete lack of interest of most of the Senators in hearing the witnesses for the defence, or even in the expert testimony in the Senate. According to the report by Gustavo Maia on the UOL portal, at one point the opposition Senators stopped asking questions of witnesses in order to sped up the process (UOL, 2016b). Witnesses for the defence were called such as the economist Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo, ex-Minister of Finance Nelson Barbosa, law professors Ricardo Lodi Ribeiro and Geraldo Prado. On the 28th of July, Jose Eduardo Cardozo filed the closing arguments for the defence to the Special Commission for Impeachment to the Senate, which emphasized the legality of the decrees emitted and the lack of participation of Dilma Rousseff in their emission, as the expert testimony had already affirmed to the Senate. However, ignoring the arguments for the defence, the Commission recommended by 14 votes to five, that Dilma be judged. The report was approved in ple­nary, by 59 votes to 21, leading the impeachment to its final phase. There, the legitimately elected President Dilma Rousseff would have the oppor­tunity to defend herself before the 81 Senators.

On August 29th 2016, Dilma appeared before the Senate to make her defence. The President reaffirmed her commitment to Brazilian democracy and to the liberal democratic state of law. Remembering history and the coup attempts against Getulio Vargas, Juscelino Kubitschek and João Goulart, the President said:

“Whenever the interests of sectors of the economic and political elite have been lost at the ballot box and there are no legal reasons for le­gitimate change of power, conspiracies were plotted resulting in a coup d’etat. [… ] Now, once again, when the interests of sectors of the economic and political elite have been hurt at the ballot box, we find we are at the breaking point of democracy”. (Rousseff, 2016b)

The President showed in her speech that the charges made against her were mere excuses to overthrow an elected government and to put in its place a putschist and usurper government, to destroy the gains won by the Brazilian people in the 13 years of governments by the PT. She reaffirmed that the coup was the reaction of the opposition, in an anti-democratic manner, to overturn the elections of 2014:

“Ever since the announcement of the election results, the parties that supported the defeated candidate in the elections did everything to impede my taking office and the stability of my government. They said the elections were fraudulent, seeking an audit of the ballots, they questioned my election accounts, and after my taking office, sought facts by any means that might justify the rhetoric for an impeachment process.” (Rousseff, 2016b)

Dilma also explained the intense sabotage suffered by her government, whose economic agenda against the crisis was dismantled by Eduardo Cunha, putting forward draft laws that would explode pu­blic spending and compromise any attempt to tweak the economy. She also showed that despite the sabotage, the Congress was paralyzed in 2016, impeding the government from implementing any kind of agenda. This showed her cha­racter, of not complying with anything improper of becoming involved in trade-offs to save her own mandate, and working against corruption:

“If I had been complicit with the impropriety and with that which is worst in Brazilian politics, as many now seem to not have the least problem in doing so, I would not be running the risk of being condemned unjustly. Those who are complicit with the immoral and the illegal, do not have the respectability to govern Brazil. Those who act to avoid or postpone judgement of someone who is accused of enrichment at the costs of the Brazilian State and of the people who pay their taxes, will sooner or later end up having to pay the price of lack of commitment to ethical behaviour before society and before history.” (Rousseff, 2016b)

The accusation was therefore weak and motivated by political ends, not legal ones. The decrees had obeyed all the legal rules, abiding by the Constitution and the Budgetary Directives Law. According to the President, the Federal Accounts Court changed their position on the issues after the publishing of the decrees: “The Federal Accounts Court recommended approval of the accounts of all Presidents who had issued decrees identical to those I issued. They never raised any technical problem or made the interpretation they came to have after I signed these acts.” (Rousseff, 2016b).

The disregard for due legal process, the presumption of inno­cence and the right to a defence were covered by Dilma. It was absurd, according to her, that judges affirmed that “the conviction is no more than a question of time”, as their opinions were already formed. Thus, the legal form only served to justify an illegitimate process. After the speech, the President answered questions from the Senators for 13 hours of cross-examination.

The next day, Jose Eduardo Cardozo presented the final defence of the President, questioning the Senators about what history would say about the conviction. Cardozo affirmed that he hoped that in the future a Chief Justice would ask that a public apology be accepted in the name of the Brazilian State for having convicted an innocent woman to the penalty of political death:

“I ask God that, if Dilma is convicted, a new Chief Justice has the dignity to make a public apology to her; if she is alive, to her, and if deceased, to her daughter and grandchildren. That history will absolve Dilma Rousseff if you wish to convict her. But, if you wish to do Justice to those who suffered violence from the State, judge by justice. Do not accept that our country suffers a parliamentary coup, so that Dilma does not suffer the penalty of political death.” (Cardozo, 2016)

On the 31st of August 2016, by 61 votes in favour and 20 against, the Senate definitively removed Dilma Rousseff from the Presidency of the Republic. In a kind of mea-culpa, the Senators did not withdraw Dilma’s political rights, allowing her to continue to hold posts of public office. At 4 p.m. on the same day, Michel Temer was sworn into office as President of Brazil: and the coup d’etat was duly effected. Two days after the impeachment, the Federal Senate approved a law to ease the rules for issuing supplementary credit, freeing the coming Presidents to use the same “fiscal manoeuvres” that led to Dilma being convicted.

  1. It was later proven that Cunha had bank accounts in Switzerland to receive bribe monies.
  2. In 2014, sectors of the PMDB were already defending support for Aécio Neves, as reported by Agencia Brasil, EBC: “Bancada do PMDB esta dividida no apoio a Dilma and Aécio” (Agência Brasil, 2014)
  1. “They accuse me of having issued six supplementation decrees, six supplementary credit decrees and in doing so, of having committed a crime against the Budgetary Law. This is false. It is false, as the decrees complied with authoriza­tions provided for in law. They deal with the crime as an everyday act of management. They accuse me of delaying paymen­ts of the Safra Plan. This is false. I decided nothing in this regard. The law does not require my participation in the execution of this Plan. My accusers have not even been able to say what I have done, what act? What act? Besides this, there was nothing left to be paid, there is no debt. In a democracy, a legitimate mandate of an elected President can never be broken because of legitimate budgetary management acts. Brazil can not be the first to do this” (Rousseff, 2016).
  2. The following Senators voted against the Impeachment: Angela Portela (PT), Armando Monteiro (PTB), Elmano Ferrer (PTB), Fatima Bezerra, Gleisi Hoffmann and Humberto Costa (all three of the PT), João Capiberibe (PSB), Jorge Viana and Jose Pimentel (both of the PT), Katia Abreu (PMDB), Lidice da Mata (PSB), Lindbergh Farias (PT), Otto Alencar (PSD), Paulo Paim and Paulo Rocha (both of the PT), Randolfe Ro­drigues (REDE), Regina Sousa (PT), Roberto Muniz (PP), Roberto Requião (PMDB) and Vanessa Grazziotin (PCdoB).

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

AGAMBEN, Giorgio. Estado de Exceção. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2004.

AGÊNCIA BRASIL. Bancada do PMDB está dividida no apoio a Dil­ma e Aécio. Brasília, October 8 2014. Available at: http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/politica/noticia/2014-10/bancada-do-pmdb-esta-dividida-no-apoio-dilma-e-aecio. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

CARDOZO, José Eduardo. Speech in defence of President Dilma Rousseff to the Federal Senate. Agência Senado. Available at: www12.senado.leg.br/noticias/videos/2016/08/dilma-esta-sendo-julgada-por-ter-vencido-as-eleicoes-afirma-jose-eduardo-cardozo. Accessed on 27 Jan 2017.

FOLHA DE SÃO PAULO. Na “madrugada do impeachment”, Randolfe prega peça em advogada. Folha Poder. Brasília, 29 April 2016. Available at: www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/2016/04/1766385-na-madrugada-do-impeachment-randolfe-prega-peca-em-advogada.sht-ml. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

FOLHA DE SÃO PAULO, R. Veja trechos da conversa entre Rome­ro Jucá e o ex-presidente da Transpetro Sérgio Machado. Folha Poder. 23 May 2016. Brasília. Available at: www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/2016/05/1774018-em-dialogos-gravados-juca-fala-em-pacto-para-deter-avanco-da-lava-jato.shtml. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

FUNDAÇÃO PERSEU ABRAMO. Projeto Manifestações março-comparativo – 13 e 18 2015/2016. São Paulo, 2016. Available at: http://novo.fpabramo.org.br/sites/default/files/FPA-Pesquisa-Mani­festacoes-Comparativa-2015-2016-SITE-042016-ok.pdf. Accessed on 27 Jan 2017.

FUNDAÇÃO ULYSSES GUIMARÃES. Uma Ponte Para o Futuro. Brasília, 29 October 2015. Available at: http://pmdb.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RELEASE-TEMER_A4-28.10.15-Online.pdf. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

JINKINGS, I., DORIA, K., CLETO, M. (orgs). Cronologia do Gol­pe. In: Por que gritamos Golpe? Para entender o impeachment e a crise política no Brasil. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2016.

O ESTADO DE SÃO PAULO. Em gesto ao PSDB, Temer deixará articulação política. Política. São Paulo, 21 August 2015. Available at: http://politica.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,temer-quer-deixar-articulacao-politica-mas-vai-aguardar-crise-com-cunha-esfriar,1748612. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

ROUSSEFF, Dilma. Declaração à imprensa da Presidenta da Repú­blica. Portal Planalto. Brasília, 12 May 2016. Available at: http://www2.planalto.gov.br/acompanhe-o-planalto/discursos/discursos-da-presidenta/declaracao-a-imprensa-da-presidenta-da-republica-dilma-rousseff-brasilia-df. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

ROUSSEFF, Dilma. Íntegra do discurso da presidenta Dilma Rous­seff ao Senado Federal. Brasília, 29 August 2016b. Available at: www12.senado.leg.br/noticias/arquivos/2016/08/29/veja-a-integra-do-discurso. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

SENADO FEDERAL. Denúncia por crime de responsabilidade n°1, de 2016 – Laudo Pericial. Available at: www19.senado.gov.br/sdleg-getter/public/getDocument?docverid=282deb55-fa96-4ef-d-a137-ac15f39e9a40;1.0. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

UOL. Áudios mostram que partidos financiaram MBL em atos pró-impeachment. São Paulo, 2016. Available at https://noticias.uol.com.br/politica/ultimas-noticias/2016/05/27/maquina-de-partidos-foi-utilizada-em-atos-pro-impeachment-diz-lider-do-mbl.htm. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

UOL. Com pressa, senadores pró-impeachment “ignoram” testemunhas de defesa. Portal UOL. Brasília, 15 June 2016. Available at: https://noticias.uol.com.br/politica/ultimas-noticias/2016/06/15/senadores-pro-impeachment-ignoram-testemunhas-de-defesa-e-aceleram-processo.htm. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

Why the current strategy by the West cannot win

Having studied World War II in depth and reflected on the difference between those times and these, I have come to some preliminary conclusions. What were the characteristics of those times that made that victory inevitable and what are the characteristics of these times that make the ‘failures’ inevitable up to this point and how can we swing the battle, as it were, in our favour?

The rise of Adolf Hitler was not democratic, unlike the elections of these times. He did however, bring about a kind of national unity after coming to power. Until May 1940, the Great Britain was not united but going through the dark days from September 1939 and then through the Battle of Britain in 1940 had the effect of uniting the whole country overwhelmingly behind the war effort. There was no alternative.

There was intensive lobbying by the Churchill government of unity of the U.S. to back their war effort against the Axis Powers, with resistance at first, but it was only after Pearl Harbor in December 1941 that the U.S. came on board fully. The tactics of Total War were used to the full, including a possible allowing of the Japanese to carry out the attack on Pearl Harbor, despite knowing beforehand that it was coming, precisely in order to bring the wider U.S. population onside. The techniques of information warfare were employed to the maximum because the possibility of an Allied defeat was unthinkable and untenable. Some of these techniques were perhaps of dubious ethical standards or, in hindsight, even advisable. I am thinking here of the bombing offensive against Germany, the betrayal of Norway.

Techniques of deception were used very cunningly and very successfully. However, towards the end of the war, it became clear to Churchill and broadly speaking to the Americans that the post-war situation would be a face-off between the western allies and the Soviet Union. The same techniques of deception, intervention in the media, in elections and economic warfare were used extensively against the perceived foe, the communist threat, usually equated with any left-wing or progressive government.

It was here that the West lost its way. Without the truth on their side, these techniques were used to oppress rather than to liberate, even though the people employing them were the same. With this, the positive effect of having whole populations behind the war effort was no longer active, and those populations became the target of those techniques, of Cointelpro, of Operation Mockingbird, of the almost total surveillance, monitoring and manipulation of the populations by avoiding talking about the truth, covering up the truth, of pushing lies, with the belief that they continued to be in the right, but which ceased to be true from about 1945.

With the political climate tending to go against state intervention in foreign conflicts, the response from the private sector has been, let us take over where the state is unable, for whatever reason, to intervene, whether that is private military or intelligence contractors. But that does not address the real legal and political questions of our time, of rights to truth and justice.

Once the field of truth had been abandoned, unity ceased to prevail, and increasingly desperate efforts and sense of unease leave the feeling of running into a swamp and of being bogged down, without that compass to steer towards a clear objective, trying to repeat the early success, using the same tactics and techniques endlessly. Unity has become a battlefield rather than of de facto existence. With that, the lies of having moral certitude pushed as ‘right’ have become increasingly ridiculous and are demonstrated every day both in the media and ordinary life.

There can be no successful satisfactory outcome without that unity or truth. The divisions and heated arguments within our societies are evidence of our disunity and lack of truth. The current engagements by the West in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria cannot be won as long as the preferred methods of deception and lies are held to, however useful or right they may have been until 73 years ago.

The strategy used by the United States, the United Kingdom and many other countries is of soft power, of low-intensity warfare, because it worked during World War II. It has long ceased to be effective in solving problems and has become a liability and has to be dropped. It may work in the short term, but it can never work in the long term.

Current events are actually like growing pains

My apologies to the anti-Trumpistas and their similar equivalents in the various countries and regions, but please bear with me. One of problems has been the holding to fixed positions of what is best for us or for others, that we must be like this or that, we have to achieve this or that, although we are holding to an idea of something that is at best temporary, and it is urgent that we understand this and the perceptions of scale that are involved.

Taking a look at what is going on and the affect on people, I am drawn to the conclusion that we have misunderstood these difficult times, bemoaning the lack of resources, the withdrawal of so called rights, the lack of insight of this or that person, this or that group and so forth. There is an emerging pattern however.

As a wise man once said, opposition makes you stronger. However, it is worth reflecting that, although those opposing us are in fact helping us to grow stronger, that our opposition of another or others also makes that something or someone stronger, which may be an idea, a group, say the much vaunted elite, the cabal, the concept of the other, ‘them’.

The way I use it is that I see no point in opposing something that will be inevitable, and of course the question arises, what is not inevitable, what can be the positive influence brought to bear that will either bring about a learning situation or favour an outcome.

This was made apparent to me when I started my blog to raise awareness of the situation in Brazil as Dilma was being manoeuvred out of power. In a brash move, I repeated a phrase that was current at the time, “Não vai ter golpe’, or ‘There will be no coup’. However, events proved me wrong, but if one looks back at it and the stages of life and learning, one can see it as a process, and stop being attached to a preconceived idea of what should happen or what one must do.

There are benefits to be had from what we have taken as ‘bad’ and learning from what we have taken to be ‘good’. We have seen esteemed institutions and people being exposed as other than we thought, we have all felt disillusion at this or that. For myself, speaking personally about what I have felt and not about those I am speaking of, this has been the lack of fulfilment of the promises of Obama, the U.S. Supreme Court, the BBC, the apparent success of the bringing down of Dilma in Brazil, the exposure of widespread corruption in Brazil, and others. We are being forced to take a long hard look at our values.

However, disappointment in anything is the lack of fulfilment of an expectation that we have, and nothing more than that. It is not a reflection, necessarily in those people or institutions. That can only be ascertained after questioning, acceptance and only then deciding on how to approach something.

What we have seen is that people do not value something they have until they lose it, whether that be rights, privileges, gifts. Nor have we paid sufficient attention to that which is held to be good and already in place. We learn to value democracy when we thought it to be challenged. Was America great or any less great than before? Was it because we thought it was or it wasn’t? I suggest the answer is all of the above and none of the above, for various reasons and in different circumstances. Is he UK really united? I think these are good and useful questions to consider.

Trump is acting as a mirror for us, and to the extent that he provokes horror or a certain hope that this is for the better, we should take a more careful look at what we see and why we see it. He is showing buffoonery and dishonesty, using words that do reflect what we are like. He is like the medieval court jester, entertaining the king, but the court is also spellbound, but when those who are unable to bear what they see speak out against it, it is not that they are completely wrong, rather that the situation is so terrible that it must change, eventually finding some equilibrium and harmony.

The question of Brexit has been bothering me ever since it became obvious to some people that the bureaucracy was having a detrimental effect on the conducting of business in the broadest sense of the word, in my case about twenty years ago. However, the idea of being included in something with international scope will inevitably bring up complicated issues for many people, involving us in change, which can be uncomfortable and having to re-assess what we had taken to be true or ´right` and so forth.

I briefly celebrated the referendum decision, saying to myself or others that we, the Brits, have given the blighters a bloody nose, which we did, but a lot of people felt hurt or shocked by that result, and now we have to grow up and actually settle this like civilised people, if we are able, rather than on the school playground. Resentment is not a good basis for making decisions, although some people must see the reasons that brought the situation about.

We are in a learning situation, for the Brits that like it or not, we have a role to play in the world, for the Europeans that we have legitimate concerns, for the neoliberals and overly wealthy, that things must and will change into a more beneficially distributed system of doing things, for the anti-neoliberals, that the crystallised forms of thinking about national or class issues no longer work, for the Trumpistas, that America already is great, so why not learn that there is a whole other world out of real, actual people out there beyond the U.S. borders, for the anti-Trumpistas, that opposing something because it comes in the guise of your pet dislikes or hates does not mean that your knee-jerk reactions to it are correct or properly thought out.

On the question of national sovereignty, it is sobering to reflect that there is a kind of sovereignty already, that the Brits have the kind of government and balanced Parliament that reflects the current situation, and similarly for the U.S. and Brazil, leading us to recognise our crystallised way of thinking.

Impossible or unsustainable situations must be differentiated from the unthought of possibility that something has happened, is happening or will happen. These are often confused and although sometimes it is distasteful, we do not recognise good food unless we have known what bad food is like or its effects on us.

After I wrote this piece, I found this video by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, which echoes my thoughts.

https://www.periscope.tv/w/1OyKANQymwgGb

Impeachment – This Too Shall Pass

Even though the impeachment of Dilma has temporarily come to a reality, this cannot last. The situation, both in Brazil and in the wider world, is unsustainable. The Vice-President of Brazil stepping in has a very low degree of support within the country, and this will become increasingly evident in the coming days.

This absence of a any foundation for the stand-in government is not just political, it is also economic. The Vice-President’s economic policy rests on cutting back social policies that bring the less well-off into the mainstream of society, and cutting back on employment related benefits, in favour of the large industry organisations that helped organise and finance the coup.

This short-termist point of view, seeking gain for themselves to the detriment of others has to and will backfire, because it is against the laws of the Universe. When we fail to recognise others as similar to ourselves, as human beings, we really are acting against our own best interests, but it does inevitably take time for us to realise this.

But, there is no free lunch, however much anyone says or believes to the contrary.

The capitalist position is that money must rule or dominate the discussion, and this one has dominated the world stage ever since Margaret Thatcher took power in 1979. Just as there have been Marxist dictatorships in the east, so we are now under capitalist ones in the west.

The Marxist position is that labour must revolt because the capital will never cede its position.

Both these positions are to say the least, narrow-minded, each being blindly opposed to the other and not ceding their own point of view.

The true facts are that we are in this together and have to negotiate. The two sides have to get around the table and communicate. The situation illustrated in Brazil is that labour is being denied the right to be represented in government, because their position is that money should rule, that they should not support  government through paying taxes because the money is theirs, and that they have the right to take power.

But none of these governments with illegitimacy last, because eventually they realise that things are not working as they expected. Democracy is ultimately about sharing power, not taking it simply because you are unable to understand how the other feels. So neither the coup by force nor the revolution of the proletariat can work and last or be sustained.

In a coup of the right or revolution of the left, neither of these sides is recognising the existence of the right of the State to exist, a State which can hold the balance between the two sides. Once the two sides recognise that, a degree of harmony can be reached that is beneficial to all parties.

I am encouraged by the fact that the wider world is looking on with a certain degree of objectivity, seeing what is really happening and even outlets that can be let us say attached to or identified with a monetarist position, such as the weekly magazine The Economist, can see the absence of what we have come to expect from a democratic liberal state, the rule of law.

A story comes to mind that is useful in such situations.

A powerful king, ruler of many domains, was in a position of such magnificence that wise men were his mere employees. And yet one day he felt himself confused and called the sages to him. He said, “I do not know the cause, but something impels me to seek a certain ring, one that will enable me to stabilize my state. I must have such a ring. And this ring must be one which, when I am unhappy, will make me joyful. At the same time, if I am happy and look upon it, I must be made sad.”

The wise men consulted one another, and threw themselves into deep contemplation, and finally they came to a decision as to the character of this ring which would suit their king.

The ring which they had devised was one upon which was inscribed the legend:

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

Brazilian Congressmen articulate rewarding House Leader with pardon if impeachment is approved

Revista Forum

“Any other Congressman would not have resisted the pressures from the Planalto Palace. We are going to save him”, explained Congressman Dirceu Sperafico (PP-PR) to the site Congress in Focus.

Federal Congressmen are already articulating a pardon for the Leader of the House, Eduardo Cunha (PMDB-RJ) if the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff (PT) is approved this Sunday. Cunha is facing hearings in the House Ethics Committee for having lied to the Petrobras Hearings in March 2015, when he stated he had no accounts in any tax havens.

The articulators of the pardon argue that the role of Cunha as the conductor within the House of the process to impeach the President justifies that he be saved by his peers. “Eduardo Cunha played a fundamental role in our approving the impeachment of the President. He deserves to be pardoned”, Osmar Serraglio (PMDB-PR) defended. “Any other Congressman would not have resisted the pressures from the Planalto Palace. We are going to save him”, explained Congressman Dirceu Sperafico (PP-PR).

Despite the grave accusations against him, the Leader of the House has the backing of at least 200 Congressmen faithful to him, many of them belonging to the BBB or beef, bullet and Bible sectors. Besides the leaders of the PMDB and PSC parties, the latter party led by the evangelical sector, the pardoning of Cunha has sympathizers in the PR, PP, PRB parties, the last one being linked to the Universal Church, as well as the SD, DEM and PSDB parties.

Swiss investigators identified deposits of US$ 4.8 million and of 1.3 million Swiss francs in two accounts identified by them as belonging to Cunha and his wife, the journalist Cláudia Cruz. The House Leader is also a defendant in a Supreme Court case under accusations of corruption and money laundering.

The articulation to save Cunha has already taken its first steps within the House, with the resignation of Congressman Fausto Pinato (PP-SP) from the seat held on the Ethics Committee. He was the first rapporteur of the House Leader case and defended that the investigations be proceeded. During the elaboration of his report, Pinato made statements to the Federal Police saying he had received threats against him. Congresswoman Tia Eron (PRB-BA) was nominated in his place, an evangelist like Cunha and his declared admirer.

With information from http://congressoemfoco.uol.com.br/noticias/bancada-pro-cunha-prepara-sua-“anistia”/ Congresso em Foco

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.