Brazil and its democracy

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Brazil and its democracy

By Bruno De Oliveira


President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff, with ex-president Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva. (2011) (Roberto Stuckert Filho/PR under a Creative Commons Licence)

The media is trying to remove President Dilma Rousseff from power. It’s like what happened before in Brazil.

Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva, ex-president of Brazil, was almost arrested. A police system forced him to give evidence to the media group Globo. In the past, Globo supported the coup in 1964 and the dictatorship after this. Pedro Serrano (professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo and law expert) said that this action against Lula is the biggest crime against a former president since the military forced Joao Goulart to leave his job as president on 1 April, 1964. Serrano says that Brazil is now a lawless country. Some people do not have basic rights. They only investigate one political area.

They call this ‘Operation Car Wash’ (Lava Jato). They wanted to make Lula give evidence. And they gave information to the Globo television network in advance so that their helicopter could be over the former president’s house before the federal police arrived. The night before, the editor of Epoca magazine (which belongs to the Globo network) tweeted about what would happen the next morning. This shows the power of the media to change public opinion. It seems Globo wants a coup.

Federal judge Sérgio Moro is leading the campaign against the PT Party (the Worker’s Party), Dilma Rousseff and Lula. Moro is like Pontius Pilate (who put Jesus Christ on trial), trying to stop a leader from being in power. Moro is trying to stop ex-president Lula from running again for the presidency in the 2018 elections.

For more information, see this 2016 Brazil country profile:

President Rousseff and her government have had problems. But this impeachment (saying she has committed a serious crime) has nothing to do with corruption. That is why people need to see it as a coup. The opposition says it's because she didn’t manage money correctly. But all the presidents managed money in the same way – and it was okay then. Rousseff often put money from the Caixa Economica (government bank) into social programs. It was not for her personal benefit as many people have said.

And this is hypocrisy. Eduardo Cunha (president of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil), the man responsible for impeachment, says he is fighting against corruption. But he has (allegedly) taken more than $14 million. The money is in secret accounts in Switzerland and other tax-free areas. The Panama Papers recently said Cunha gave money to offshore companies in Brazil’s Petrobras state oil scandal.

Many people are talking about this in Brazil. They say this is to make a coup against the Brazilian democratic system possible.

There is a big difference in Brazil – in its cultural, social and political life - between the master’s ‘Casa-Grande’ (colonial mansion) and the slaves ‘Senzala’ (quarters). Sociologist Gilberto Freyre (sociologist) explains this in his book, Casa-Grande and Senzala(Masters and the Slaves). He shows how Brazilian society developed by mixing different social groups: white, mainly Portuguese; blacks of different African nations; and different local indigenous tribes.

Politics was only for the rich. And Brazilian business media, especially Globo, has supported this cultural idea for generations. Globo media is like the Daily Mail in Britain. The Brazilian political crisis is mostly white upper-middle class people trying to stop mostly black working-class getting money and help from social welfare programs.

This powerful media chooses the heroes. It says the poor are the public enemies. It supports the judges who change and adapt the laws.

The Casa-Grande will change laws and this will be bad for workers. They will make people pay for education in federal universities, stop social movements and freedom of expression on the internet, support big agricultural companies taking land from indigenous people and more.

2008-2014 was probably the best time in Brazilian history. Economic inflation was 4.31 per cent to 6.5 per cent – very good for an economy. The unemployment rate in 2014 was 4.8 per cent, the lowest ever. The PT party brought in laws to make sure that 50 per cent of all students at public universities are poor, mainly Afro-Brazilian – because they are 50 per cent of the population. Before the PT came to power, only about 5 per cent of poorer Brazilians went to public universities.

Brazil’s foreign reserves are still 10 times higher than before the PT took office. But the mainstream media hides and makes up news.

Then came the effects of the global economic crisis in 2009. Brazilian GDP went down by 2.5 per cent in the third quarter of that year. But some media did not say this was because of the global economic crisis.

Rousseff’s government increased the minimum wage to $252 for 2016. This increase is more than inflation - a rise of 77 per cent since 2003. It will put $16 billion into the economy. The increase is helping balance money between rich and poor. It will cut poverty and bring $8.5 billion from tax.

The media chooses what it reports to support what it wants. Globo needs to control democracy in Brazil. Globo has a long and dirty history of defending its politics against Brazilian governments that increased the minimum wage. Globo continues to fight against Lula and Rousseff.

Like many countries in Latin America, this is an important time for democracy in Brazil. In the last election the Brazilian people decided its president, as their constitution says they should. #NoToTheCoup.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: (This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).