Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Racist Roots of the Coup d’état Against President Dilma Rousseff

Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff

Note from BW of Brazil: Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, or just don’t really tuned into news coming out of Brazil, you know that President Dilma Rousseff was removed suspended from the Presidency for a period of 180 days and replaced by her Vice-President Michel Temer. This writer’s official position on major political parties and politicians is that they are ALL dirty and have skeletons in their closet. These are just the facts of how politics work. Do your own research and you’ll surely come to the same conclusion. As such, the object of this post is not the defense of Dilma or her Workers’ Party that has ruled Brazil since 2003. Within the struggle for rights of afrodescendentes (people of African descent) in Brazil, there are numerous problems with justifying Afro-Brazilian full support of Dilma or the PT (seehere and here). The fact is, the PT has been called out by a number of black voices who see the party as exploiting the huge Afro-Brazilian demographic to continue its reign without promising anything in return for the community’s support. No, today’s post is in no way an endorsement of Dilma or the PT’s policies but rather a recognition that something more is at play here.

The coup d’état against Dilma is racist

By Dennis Oliveira

Why is the coup d’état being mounted by the opposition, with (President of the Chamber of Deputies/Speaker of the Lower House) Eduardo Cunha (1) at the front, racist? Many will say, after all, Dilma is not black. And others, that the policies to combat racism developed in her government and that of (former President) Lula (da Silva) are timid and insufficient.

I completely agree. Dilma is not black and, therefore, it’s not due to her person that they want to remove her. And this Quilombo column has heavily criticized the anti-racism policies developed in government for their timidity and lack of resources.

But whoever wants to remove the Dilma government doesn’t do so because of this. It is precisely because they don’t even accept the few racial and social inclusion policies made in recent years.

The argument of the impeachment request is “fiscal pedaling.” Note that the argument focuses on alleged misuse of budget funds to account for social programs. The government supposedly used, wrongly according to the TCU (Tribunal de Contas da União or Federal Court of Accounts), between 2012 and 2014, R$ 40 billion financed by public banks for the payment of social and welfare benefits, such as Bolsa Família unemployment insurance and subsidies to agricultural production.

A question that doesn’t offend: if these “undue” resources had been used to save bankrupt banks, would this controversy be going on? I doubt it.

For the golpistas (supporters of the coup), the fact that 73% of the Bolsa Família beneficiaries are black and that 68% of beneficiary families are headed by black women bothers them.

And that 80% of beneficiaries of the program “Água para Todos” (Water for All) (construction of cisterns) are black. In the Luz para Todos (Lights for All) Program, the percentage of blacks among the beneficiaries is also 80%.

In Pronatec (Programa Nacional de Acesso ao Ensino Técnico e Emprego or National Program of Access to Technical Training and Employment), 68% of the registrations recorded in 2014 were jovens negros (black youth). The “Minha Casa, Minha Vida” (My House, My Life) program has among its beneficiaries, 70% famílias negras (black families).

Not to mention the racial quota programs and ProUni (Programa Universidade Para Todos or University for All Program) which also allowed a record access of young blacks to higher education.

Small advances? No doubt. Problems persist, mainly because in the government an effective anti-racism program, institutional strengthening of the agencies responsible for that – there was a setback with the ending of the Seppir ministry – the establishment of goal setting plans and constant evaluations, the actual combat, beyond rhetoric, to thegenocide of black youth (the Juventude Viva – Youth Alive program just came out with of a letter of intent), among others still have yet to crystallize.

But the coup against Dilma is racist because it is supported precisely by people who feel uncomfortable with these small advances. They are those who are uncomfortable with black people frequenting university campuses and sharing space with the children of the elite. Or that they find in lines at airports those black women who should be their servants. Or those who shout against “consumerism” mainly due to seeing the mall with many more black faces than they would like.

These same golpistas advocate the reduction of the legal age of criminal responsibility. They maintain that the woman who aborts is criminal and must be arrested. That favelas(slums) should be besieged by police.

Racism is not only the explicit behavior of disliking blacks, racism is also a political attitude that forbids the social inclusion of black men and women. Therefore, thesegolpistas are racist. And the coup against Dilma is racist.

Source: Revista Fórum

Cunha has been indicted in the scandal known as Lava Jato (Operation Car) Wash involving the state-owned oil company Petrobras. Cunha was suspended as speaker of the lower house by Brazil’s Supreme Court on 5 May 2016 due to allegations that he attempted to intimidate members of Congress, and obstructed investigations into his alleged receipt of bribes. Source

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