Chris Williamson highlights the situation in Brazil at the closing address of Latin America ADELANTE 26/11/2016
NO COUP in Brazil had a strong presence at this year’s Latin America conference where we held two workshops, screened films and provided a range of speakers to give in depth accounts on the current situation in Brazil with topics including the coup itself, the effect on culture and the 20 year freeze in healthcare and education spending.
Our first session ‘Emergency in Brazil & Argentina’ featured Brazilian Worker’s Party (PT) representative Julia Felmanas and Gabriel Rodriguez from the International Transport Federation (Argentina) and highlighted the growing movements of resistance against the hard line austerity policies of the coup Government and Argentina’s new right-wing President. Gabriel drew attention to the campaign being waged against the popular former PT President Lula da Silva to discredit him and stop him running against the coup instigators in 2018.
The workshop was at capacity, with over 60 in attendance, and also screened a report on the Brazilian street protests against the neo-liberal government which showed a mass demonstration being repressed by armed police.
The afternoon session ‘No to the Coup in Brazil’ focused on the disastrous policies of Temer’s illegitimate government and the effects they are likely to have on the Brazilian public. Different aspects of the topic were covered by our speakers: Marcelo D’avilla, Brazilian cultural, LGBT and trade union activist; Victor Fraga (PT) and Dr Francisco Dominguez, Head of Latin America studies at Middlesex University.
The session also featured a trailer for the upcoming documentary ‘A very Brazilian coup: Rousseff & the Ghosts of 64’’ from Brazil based filmmaker Daniel White examining the similarities between today’s coup and the military coup that led to decades of military rule in 1964.
Brazil featured heavily in the main plenary with Ken Livingstone, sporting a brand new ‘no coup in Brazil’ badge, raising awareness of the situation and other plenary speakers condemning the coup.
It was Chris Williamson though who stole the show with the closing address, explaining just what is at stake in Brazil by highlighting the progressive gains made in 14 years under the PT including massive poverty reductions and wide scale social, health and housing programmes. He explained how these gains have come under attack from the new conservative Government through dangerous austerity measures including a 20 year spending cap and finished with a rallying call for support for our campaigning initiatives in the year ahead.
Latin America ADELANTE is held annually and is Europe’s largest Latin America event to find out more visit: https://latinamericaconference.wordpress.com/