By Patrick Foley, No Coup in Brazil
A ‘parliamentary coup’ in South America’s largest country has prompted huge outcry from the Brazilian public and the governments of regional neighbours including Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Mass protests have rocked the streets of major cities and clashes with the police have been commonplace in the aftermath of former President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment on flimsy ground of budget manipulation.
Despite Coup leader and newly appointed President Michael Temer’s claim “There are 40, 50, 100 people, nothing more than that” involved in resistance, hundreds of thousands have taken to streets calling for Temer to step down and for new elections to take place, something Dilma advocated fiercely during the impeachment process.
The decision on August 31 of 61 Senators to overturn the will of 54 million Brazilians at the ballot box was an offensive on democracy which saw the left-wing Worker’s Party removed from power after 13 years – by a President who has himself been barred from running for office and a Ministry that faces growing corruption allegations.
Acting without a mandate since May, when Congress first suspended Dilma from office, the Temer government has implemented wide scale neo-liberal reform which has seen the Ministry of Social Welfare scrapped; planned reductions of the constitutional healthcare budget and labour laws; the downscaling of popular health, housing and poverty tackling social schemes; the selling off state assets like the utilities, airports and the post office and the easing of bans on foreign owned land by an Agricultural minister who holds the ‘golden chainsaw award’ for his unprecedented destruction of the Brazilian rainforest.
Activists and social movements voiced great concern over the lack of representation that Temer’s all-white, all-male cabinet presented to the most diverse country in the world. These fears were realised when the government eliminated the Ministries of Women, Racial Equality, Human Rights and attempted to relax the definition of slavery
Brazilian trade unions have come out strongly against Temer’s policies and the coup, with national trade union CUT leading the campaign against the impeachment. Supported by the ITUC and TUC, trade unions have stood in defence of the progressive gains of the worker’s party over the last 13 years.
To raise awareness of the situation, the new British campaigning initiative ‘No Coup in Brazil’ has consolidated international support for Brazilian democracy with the publication of statements condemning the coup.
The Statements were endorsed by over 143 leading figures including the signatures of 41 parliamentarians, 7 trade union heads, academics, artists, intellectuals, and activists.
The wide range of signatories include MPs Richard Burgon, Clive Lewis and Rebbecca Long-Bailey; British high profilers Stephen Fry, Vivien Westwood and Ken Loach; and recognisable international names Oliver Stone, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky and Susan Sarandon.
It is time for the international community to recognise the plight of the Brazilian people. They are facing an imposed austerity agenda and the suppression of peaceful protests from a leader they did not vote for. 61 Senators chose the fate of 200 million. That’s not democracy, that’s a coup.
No coup in Brazil are hosting an upcoming special discussion: Social Progress Vs Reaction in Latin America. Including a great range of speakers with Argentina’s civil aviation Secretary, a representative from the Brazilian workers party (PT) and many more. The discussion will take place Sat, 15th Oct, 1PM at Unite, 128 Theobald’s Road, London WC1X 8TN. For tickets and more information go to: http://bit.ly/2dea5oC
You can lobby your MP and find out more at: https://nocoupinbrazil.wordpress.com/
Originally published in Labour Briefing