What’s happening in Brazil is incredibly complicated and confusing. This has not been made any less so by the competing narratives that are being put out there by people who know nothing about Brazil. I’ll do my best to unravel it from my perspective. As a dual national of both the US and Brazil, having lived there for 5 years during the CIA-backed military dictatorship and having spent 6 months out of the past 3 years in Rio de Janeiro, with my dozens of family members and friends, I think I can speak somewhat knowledgeably about the situation.
Dilma Rousseff has been impeached and forced to step aside as the President of Brazil, which was until recently the 6th largest economy in the world. Her impeachment was made under spurious legal pretenses by a Congress filled with politicians who have been indicted on very serious corruption charges by the Brazilian Justice Department’s “Operation Car Wash”. The Speaker of the Lower House, strongly-Evangelist Eduardo Cunha, who led the impeachment process against Dilma and who was third in line for the Presidency was last week ordered to step down. The Panama Papers revealed additional offshore bank accounts than had already been discovered by “Operation Car Wash”, where Cunha has allegedly been hiding his ill-gotten gains from Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras and its contractors.
Although the Russian state-sponsored news organization, RT has reported that Dilma’s impeachment is the outcome of a CIA coup d’etat, Dilma herself, has stated that the US has stayed away from the current political crisis in Brazil. Dilma would presumably know about such things, having been imprisoned for three years in the early 1970s by what was, in fact a CIA-sponsored military government.
As a guerrilla fighter against that dictatorship, Dilma was repeatedly tortured with electric shocks while hanging upside down, naked with bound wrists and ankles. The arc of her life, which later saw her elected twice as the first woman President of Brazil and in whose defiant national address last Thursday, said that she would fight the charges and that she never imagined that she would be fighting yet another coup d’etat in her country is surely the stuff of a cliffhanger Brazilian novela. (Though not well-known in the US, these shows are exported to many television markets throughout the world, notably in Latin America, the Eastern Bloc, Africa and China).
Regardless of the legal validity of this impeachment, Dilma has unquestionably lost her mandate among the people, with a 10% approval rating.
In my opinion, Dilma is taking the fall, not only for the entrenched government corruption around her but also for the Global Financial Meltdown. The latter only recently affected the previously booming Brazilian economy, mainly due to the slow-down of China, the largest buyer of Brazilian exports. This was swiftly followed by the precipitous drop in oil prices, which tremendously hurt this oil exporter.
Throughout 2008-2014, Brazil was riding higher than ever. Everything was impossibly expensive for foreigners traveling there and this began to take a toll on Brazil’s ability to sell its exports. Now, it’s the opposite. For example, it’s a great time to buy real estate, which is now worth 30-50% less than it was 18 months ago against the US dollar.
But if Dilma is unpopular, the former Vice President, Michel Temer, a first generation Christian Lebanese-Brazilian, sworn in as President last Thursday afternoon would be completely unelectable, if he weren’t being artificially installed by the Machiavellian machinations of the Brazilian Congress. With a staggeringly low 2% approval rating and having been fined two weeks ago for violating campaign financing limits, that ruling could literally make him ineligible to run for office for 8 years.
That is, if he survives potential efforts to impeach him! An amendment to the Brazilian constitution, allowing for the impeachment of a Vice President would be required and is being studied. It hadn’t been considered, when it was drafted, in 1988.
Speculations by Glenn Greenwald and others last month that Temer would appoint the former chair of Goldman-Sachs to be the head Brazil’s Central Bank are unlikely. One of three former Chairmen will be appointed – not by Temer but by his newly-appointed Finance Minister, Henrique Meirelles, who was the longest-serving President of the Central Bank under President Lula.
Some of things that Brazilians are up in arms about there are quite legal in the US and known as “lobbying”. Brazilians are justifiably upset by the massive kickback scandal involving dozens of congresspeople, the state-owned petroleum company, Petrobras, as well as the huge construction contractors with which it’s associated.
This Brazilian mega-scandal would be completely dwarfed by the kickbacks and the multitude ofno-bid contracts that rolled during the administration of George W Bush and “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, had these been politically exploited. But since both the Republican and the Democrat Representatives of the US are actually on the same Corporatist team, this never happened.
The truth is, Brazil can’t even begin to hold a candle to the US, in terms of corruption. Moreover, that the Brazilian Justice Department has had the power to indict former Presidents Lula and Dilma, current President, Temer and numerous members of Congress shows that there is a functional separation of the Executive, Judicial and Legislative powers in Brazil, whereas, it still remains to be seen if the FBI will bring a case against Hillary Clinton, to say nothing of psychopathic criminal, George W Bush and his shockingly deranged Administration.
I’m quite certain that the people of any number of countries in this world would love to see their leadership receive the same degree of scrutiny as these high-level Brazilian politicians!
Contrary to the conspiracy rants being widely published in the independent media, the impeachment of Dilma is populist and without a doubt supported by a vast majority of the Brazilian people. What’s misunderstood by those who don’t know Brazil is that Dilma’s impeachment actually represents an impeachment of the entire government. Temer will only be tolerated because Democracy is a very new and precious thing to them. They want to see the rule of law play out and prevail, even if this impeachment process has educated them about the defects in their current legal structure – and even if it’s also true that powerful foreign investors are happy to see her go.
There is absolutely nothing new about the exploitation of Brazil by foreign and domestic entities. Exploitation has defined Brazil, since its very origin. The only way that this situation can improve is if the country’s new democracy can be strengthened and mature through the process of overcoming the daunting circumstances now in play. The fact that this country is not now and never has been warlike is very encouraging. Optimistically, Brazil will emerge much better for all of this.
There is a call for a referendum to throw ALL the bums out of the Brazilian government. If this movement were to gain momentum, it could prove to be quite an inspiration to the constituents of virtually every other government on Earth! It’s more likely, however that the ubiquitous loathing among Brazilians for their government will ultimately be counterbalanced by their desire for economic stability, which means foreign investment and robust trade.
Despite legitimate belly-aching over an economy that retracted over 3.5% in 2015 and predicted to retract another 1.9% in 2016, Brazil’s public debt-to-GDP is currently 66%, up from 54% last year, and estimated to be 70% by next year. This would still be around 34% lower than the 104% debt to GDP ratio of the US. Also, Brazil never off-shored its manufacturing base to China. Brazil’s manufacturing was undercut in some areas but not entirely by China’s currency manipulation, which has been a major threat to manufacturers globally, over the past 3 decades.
Before China emerged in the 1990s as the massive slave labor camp of the planet, Brazil more or less held that spot. Now, after acquiring a taste for increasing wealth and improving social equality, Brazil has compulsory voting and a populace that has already survived two things that are among the greatest fears of Americans namely, martial law and hyperinflation. Having survived and thrived after these baptisms of fire, I doubt Brazil will simply cave in to the Neoliberalist agenda that is currently licking it chops over their government’s current disarray. Brazilians have been profoundly schooled by the harsh lessons of their recent past and they’re more engaged in their future than the peoples of the “First World”. They don’t suffer from the same torpor and apathy of Americans about their political process.
Unlike the denizens of Post-Industrial societies, who seem to be quietly resigned, when not completely unconscious about the direction in which they’re headed, Brazilians are exasperated but they yearn to see the enormous potential of their affable society come to fruition.
Deagel.com, an organization that monitors the world markets for military equipment and civil aviation may prove me right, by remaining bullish on Brazil.
I recommend that everybody take a look at that link, above. Deagel has absolutely no dog in this “fight”. Their forecast for 2025 is derived from a merge of the predictions of several public think tanks, the CIA, IMF, UN, and the US Government. It shows the Brazilian GDP in 2025 to be a distant second to that of China, followed by Russia, India and Germany, to round out the top five. The GDP of the US is predicted to plunge from first to 13th.
Derided by Metabunk.com, it may nonetheless be food for thought. I don’t know that I trust Metabunk over Deagel, frankly.
Instead of wringing our hands about Brazil, we might be more concerned about the future of the United States.