Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Political Crisis in Brazil: There Is No Light at the End of the Tunnel
By Ivonaldo Leite

It is not possible to understand the Brazilian crisis and the farce of impeachment without taking into account some basic issues.

Actions speak louder than words. This phrase defines the current Brazilian political situation very well. After the right-wing opposition to president Dilma Rousseff denied that her impeachment was a coup, several hidden recordings show exactly the opposite. Yes, it was a coup, a conspiracy of corrupt Brazilianpoliticians to block investigations they are involved in.

The impeachment process is a farce. The president is not implicated in the corruption cases that are being investigated, and she is has not personally benefitted from diverted public money. The budgetary processes irregularities of which she is accused are a common practice in Brazil, and are in fact a mere pretext to carry out her deposition.

It is not possible to understand the Brazilian crisis and the farce of impeachment without taking into account some basic issues.

The first issue is the mistake by the Workers Party and Lula of making political alliances with backward forces. Thus the Workers Party denied itself political perspective and history. These alliances were made without taking into account the possible ethical consequences. The price paid by the alliances with the former Brazilian political of establishment resulted in corruption cases in which also involve members of the Workers Party. But faced with this situation, President Dilma Rousseff has behaved rigorously, she was fully supporting the investigations carried out by the Federal Police.

The second issue is about the role played by the media. The major newspapers and television channels have acted like a political party, supporting the opponents of President Roussef. In this sense, the examples of the Globo television and the Veja magazine can be highlight. This shouldn't be a surprise because many TV channels, radio stations and newspapers in Brazil are the property of legislators, senators and governors who use them for their political interests.

On the other hand, the interim government of President Michel Temer has been a grotesque fraud, intending to adopt a program which was not approved by the people in elections. Similarly, it intends to eliminate social benefits that are fundamental pillars of incipient welfare state in Brazil.

It is difficult to conjecture about what will happen in Brazil in the near future. But sometimes the impression we have is that the country's situation is bizarre, but that there is something like a light at the end of a tunnel. So the best bet is mobilization of society to enforce the light of democracy.

Ivonaldo Leite is a Sociologist, Ph.D from the University of Porto, Portugal and a Professor at the Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil.

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