August 24, 2016
Before the imminent final vote in the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff, artists and intellectuals from the U.K., the U.S., Canada and India have released a statement exhorting Brazil’s senators to respect the result of the 2014 election, and criticizing the “politically motivated impeachment.” The statement warns that if this “sustained attack on [Brazil’s] democratic institutions” is successful then it could set Brazil back decades and have negative reverberations across the region.
The statement, signed by luminaries including the legendary singer, songwriter, actor and social activist Harry Belafonte, also expressed dismay over the all white, all male replacement of Dilma’s diverse cabinet and the elimination of the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality, and Human Rights. Other signers include the Academy Award winning actor Susan Sarandon, U.K. fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen, U.S. Academy Award winning director Oliver Stone, U.K. Cannes Film Award winning director Ken Loach, the Man Booker Prize winning Indian author Arundhati Roy, the actor and director Danny Glover, the linguist and activist Noam Chomsky and the noted British actor, writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry, who in 2013 conducted a scathing interview of Jair Bolsonaro, a leading advocate of the impeachment and likely presidential candidate in the next Brazilian elections.
Brian Eno, the English composer, singer, visual artist and record producer who has worked with David Bowie, David Byrne, Talking Heads and U2, among others, also signed the statement. He noted that: “Hundreds of Brazilian musicians, actors, writers, filmmakers and other artists have bravely spoken out against the undemocratic efforts to remove the elected president Dilma Rousseff from office. . We want to show them and Brazil and the world that artists and intellectuals in the U.S., the U.K. and other parts of the world stand behind them, and support their fight for democracy, human rights and social justice in Brazil.”
This statement follows other international statements and letters denouncing the impeachment process against President Rousseff including a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signed by 43 U.S. members of Congress, a statement from 115 British public figures, including 35 parliamentarians, and a statement from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
Update: Response from highly esteemed Brazilian actor Wagner Moura
We are deeply thankful for these important words of support from our colleagues in Great Britain, the U.S, Canada and India. The corrupt politicians leading the effort to unseat Dilma should be aware that there is an international spotlight shining down on their actions. If they follow through with their plan, they will be remembered in history as the ones responsible for the most sinister assault against democracy since Brazil’s 1964 coup.
“Estamos profundamente agradecidos por essas importantes palavras de apoio de nossos colegas na Grã-Bretanha, Estados Unidos, Canada e Índia. Os políticos corruptos que lideram a articulação para depor Dilma têm de saber que há um holofote internacional iluminando suas ações. Se eles derem continuidade ao seu plano, serão lembrados pela história como os responsáveis pelo mais sinistro ataque à democracia desde o Golpe de 1964”.
The statement and list of signatories follows in English and Portuguese:
Artists and Intellectuals Support Democracy in Brazil
We stand in solidarity with our fellow artists and with all those fighting for democracy and justice throughout Brazil.
We are concerned about the politically motivated impeachment of the president, which has installed an unelected interim government. The legal basis for the ongoing impeachment is widely contested and there is compelling evidence showing that key promoters of the impeachment campaign are seeking to remove the president to stop the corruption investigations that they themselves are implicated in.
We regret that Brazil’s interim government has replaced a diverse cabinet, headed by Brazil’s first woman president, with an all white, male cabinet, in a country where the majority identify as black or mixed race. It has also eliminated the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality, and Human Rights. Given that Brazil is the world’s fifth most populous country, this is of huge significance for all who care about equality and civil rights.
We urge Brazilian senators to respect the October 2014 electoral process which over 100 million people took part in. Brazil has only emerged from dictatorship some 30 years ago and these events could set back the country’s progress towards social and economic inclusion by decades. Brazil is a major regional power and has the largest economy in Latin America. If this sustained attack on its democratic institutions is successful, the negative shock waves will reverberate throughout the region.
Tariq Ali – Writer, journalist and filmmaker
Harry Belafonte – Civil rights activist, singer and actor
Noam Chomsky – Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at MIT, theorist and intellectual
Alan Cumming – Actor and author
Frances de la Tour – Actor
Deborah Eisenberg – Writer, actor and teacher
Brian Eno – Composer, singer, visual artist and record producer
Eve Ensler – Playwright, author of The Vagina Monologues
Danny Glover – Actor and film director
Daniel Hunt – Music producer and filmmaker
Naomi Klein – Writer and filmmaker
Ken Loach – Filmmaker
Tom Morello – Musician
Viggo Mortensen – Actor and musician
Michael Ondaatje – Novelist and poet
Arundhati Roy – Author and activist
Susan Sarandon – Actor
John Sayles – Screenwriter, director and novelist
Wallace Shawn – Actor, playwright and comedian
Oliver Stone – Filmmaker
Vivienne Westwood – Fashion designer
Artistas e intelectuais apoiam a democracia no Brasil
Nos solidarizamos com nossos colegas artistas e com todos aqueles que lutam pela democracia e justiça em todo o Brasil.
Estamos preocupados com o impeachment de motivação política da presidenta, o qual instalou um governo provisório não eleito. A base jurídica para o impeachment em curso é amplamente questionável e existem evidências convincentes mostrando que os principais promotores da campanha do impeachment estão tentando remover a presidenta com o objetivo de parar investigações de corrupção nas quais eles próprios estão implicados.
Lamentamos que o governo interino no Brasil tenha substituído um ministério diversificado, dirigido pela primeira presidente mulher, por um ministério compostos por homens brancos, em um país onde a maioria se identifica como negros ou pardos. Tal governo também eliminou o Ministério das Mulheres, Igualdade Racial e dos Direitos Humanos. Visto que o Brasil é o quinto país mais populoso do mundo, estes acontecimentos são de grande importância para todos os que se preocupam com igualdade e direitos civis.
Esperamos que os senadores brasileiros respeitem o processo eleitoral de 2014, quando mais de 100 milhões de pessoas votaram. O Brasil emergiu de uma ditadura há apenas 30 anos, e esses eventos podem atrasar o progresso do país em termos de inclusão social e econômica por décadas. O Brasil é uma grande potência regional e tem a maior economia da América Latina. Se este ataque contra suas instituições democráticas for bem sucedido, as ondas de choque negativas irão reverberar em toda a região.