The Establishment, rocked by widespread corruption scandals, clings desperately to power in the face of a growing rebellion by the organised and determined masses, writes Francisco Dominguez
At least eight ministers in his cabinet are investigated on corruption charges. The incumbent supreme court’s president Rodrigo Janot appointed judge Edson Fachin to investigate and Fachin has produced a list of politicians involved in corruption.
Apart from the eight ministers, this list includes 24 senators, 39 deputies, three state governors and dozens of other cases now before lower courts. The investigation focused on the widespread corruption consisting of “commissions” paid to politicians who acted as facilitators of big companies in procuring state-financed contracts usually for infrastructure works.
Janot became supreme court president after his predecessor Teori Zavascki — appointed by president Ignacio Lula — was killed in a highly suspicious plane crash off Rio de Janeiro.
Janot’s broad anti-corruption sweep has reached none other than Aecio Neves — Brazil’s right-wing 2014 presidential candidate defeated by Dilma Rousseff.
He is being charged with corruption after being recorded requesting £474,500 from JBS. Neves has been suspended as senator by the supreme court. His sister, Andrea Neves and cousin Frederico Pacheco were also arrested as part of the same investigation. Andrea Neves cashed a cheque for £140,000, the origin of which she has been unable to explain.
Neves not only a is senator, he is also the president of the right-wing PSDB (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira).
Another high-level PSDB member and foreign affairs minister in Temer’s government Jose Serra resigned amid allegations of corruption.
The latest is that Temer himself is the subject of yet another corruption investigation prompted by the recording of a secret meeting with multimillionaire Josley Batista, owner of JBS, a large corporation that had benefited from illicit Petrobras contracts.
In the conversation Temer requested hush money payments to Eduardo Cunha — former president of Brazil’s congress and architect of the impeachment process that ousted Rousseff — who is currently serving a 15-year jail sentence for having at least five secret accounts in foreign banks, with millions of dollars he could not explain.
The noose is closing around Temer. At the beginning of June the police arrested tourism minister Eduardo Henrique Alves for bribery relating to the construction of a stadium for the 2014 World Cup. On the same weekend, Temer’s aide, Rodrigo Rocha Loures, was also arrested and stripped of his congress seat. When arrested he was carrying a suitcase with £120,000 inside.
In a move that typifies Brazil’s kleptocracy, Temer allies — Brazil’s elite political establishment — are now floating the idea of seeking the impeachment of supreme court president Janot, on the farcical grounds of political persecution.
Recently Temer’s government approval rate has stood at 4 per cent.
In a recent TV interview Batista, the JBS millionaire owner, who recorded Temer’s conversation requesting bribes from JBS, said: “Temer is the chief of Brazil’s most dangerous criminal gang.”
The reason the Temer government has survived this long is because the ruling class in Brazil is divided as to what course to follow once the unavoidable fall of Temer takes place. There are two options: comply with the existing constitution and call for direct presidential elections, or use their current parliamentary majority to have “indirect” elections, namely deciding the next president by a simple majority vote. The latter would be unconstitutional.
The candidate they have in mind is right-wing economist Henrique Mireilles. Their main problem with the general election is that Lula, the people’s choice, currently enjoys an approval rate of over 40 per cent.
There is a second very important reason that divides Brazil’s elites as to what to do in the nearing post-Temer scenario — the mobilised masses are in the streets and the mood is very militant with a simple demand: “Diretas Ja!” (Direct elections now).
They mobilised to defend their elected president Rousseff and they have not stopped after she was removed in a “constitutional” coup d’etat.
They have also defended former president Lula from the blatant political persecution he has been subjected to by Establishment judge Sergio Moro, who after over three years of investigation has no evidence of any kind that would incriminate Lula.
The organised working class staged a very impressive general strike in April 2017, involving 45 million workers from nine national trade union federations, which brought Brazil to a standstill.
At the same time secondary and university students have occupied campuses and schools, confronted police repression and have become a focal rallying point for Brazil’s youth.
Additionally, there is the MST (Landless Movement) led by the experienced social fighter Pedro Stedile.
There is also the MTST (Movement of the Homeless) who bring into action the mass of the poor of urban Brazil in huge rallies demanding: “Fora Temer!” (Temer out).
Women — who in Brazil have strong organisations — have also staged rallies and demonstrations in many cities throughout the country and particularly in defence of Rousseff.
The indigenous communities have mobilised under “Fora Temer” to demand respect for their ancestral lands and against their illegal appropriation by Brazilian or foreign companies. Recently they marched on Brasilia — Brazil’s capital city — where they met ferocious police repression. Unlike in the past, however, all the indigenous groups in Brazil now have the support of most of the nation.
The organised working class intends to harness all of these social movements and stage another bigger general strike scheduled for June 30.
Two demands will be at its centre: “Temer out!” and “Direct elections now.” They will not stop until democracy is returned.
We must give them all our support and solidarity.
This article was originally published by the morning Star at: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-9464-The-struggle-to-bring-back-democracy#.WUwJ7mjyvIV