It is necessary to warn all Brazilians, to inform them in a clear and objective way, so that even the waterfalls of the San Francisco River can understand, that:
1.The demand for the destitution of President Dilma Rousseff has nothing to do with the Lava Jato operation (‘Operation Car Wash’), nor with any other initiative to combat corruption. Dilma is not accused of having robbed even one cent. The pretext used by opposition politicians to try to displace her from government is the so-called “fiscal makeup”, a procedure of management of the public budget that is routine at all levels of government – federal, state and municipal – and was adopted under the mandates of Fernando Enrique Cardoso and Lula without any problem. She simply put money from the Federal Caixa Econômica into social programmes, in order to close the accounts and the following year returned the money to the Caixa. There was no personal benefit involved and even her worst enemies are not able to accuse her of any act of corruption.
2.Precisely for this reason, the request for impeachment is a coup, since the president can only be removed from power if she is shown to have committed a crime – and this crime has not happened, to the point where Dilma’s name has been excluded from all the investigations of corruption, since there does not exist even a minimal suspicion against her.
3.Contrary to Dilma, the politicians who seek her impeachment are dirtier than a chicken roost. Eduardo Cunha (PDMB-RJ), who as president of the chamber of deputies is responsible for this process of impeachment, received more than R$ 52 million from Petrobras corruption alone and allegedly holds millions in deposits in secret accounts in Switzerland and other tax havens. In the parliamentary committee that will analyse the request for impeachment, 37 of the 65 members (more than half!) are under judicial investigation for corruption. If they succeed in impeaching the president, they hope to receive, in exchange, impunity for fraud committed.
4.The campaign for impeachment is being led by the PSDB, the opposition party defeated in the presidential elections of 2014. Their candidate, Aecio Neves, hopes to attain in the process the political result that he was incapable of achieving at the ballot boxes, disrespecting the vote of 54,499,901 Brazilians who voted for Dilma (3.4% more than those who voted for Aecio in the second round).
5.If the coup is successful, the opposition will apply all the authoritarian and elitist proposals that Aecio planned to implement if he had won the election. The putschist president would almost certainly change labour legislation, to the detriment of wage earners; revoke the policy of indexing the minimum wage; implement the out-sourcing of labour without restriction; hand over the pre-salt petroleum reserves to transnational corporations (as defended by Senator José Serra); privatise the Bank of Brazil and the Federal Caixa Econômica; introduce paid education in federal universities, as a first step towards their privatisation; suppress social movements and freedom of expression on the Internet; expel the Cubans who work in the Más Médicos (More Doctors) Programme; give a green light for agri-business to seize indigenous lands; and eliminate independent foreign policy, downgrading Brazil to the role of servant of the US. It is this, much more than the mandate of Dilma or the political future of Lula, that is at stake in the battle of impeachment.
6.It is a major deceit to think that the economy will improve after a change in the presidency of the republic. All the factors that brought the country to the present crisis will continue, with various aggravating factors. Political instability will be the rule. The leaders of the present coup campaign will struggle for power like piranhas after a piece of meat. And Dilma will be replaced by a weak figure, Michael Temer (currently vice-president), who is more interested in ensuring his future (presumably a place in the Supreme Federal Tribunal) and in protecting himself from accusations of corruption, than in being able to govern effectively. Inflation will continue to rise, as will unemployment.
7.At the political level, Brazil is submerged in a chaotic period of great instability. The overthrow of an elected president sanctified by the vote, would bring the country to a point where, for the first time since the military regime, the executive will be an illegitimate leader, rejected by a great part of society.
8.Conflict will be the tone on the social scene. Fascist tendencies, inflamed by the coup, will feel free to put into practice their violent impulses, symbolically expressed in the images of hanging dolls bearing the caps of the MST (Landless Workers Movement) or the star of the PT (Workers Party) and, in a more concrete manner, in the invasions and attacks against unions and political parties, in savage attacks against people whose only crime is to wear a red shirt. The leader of this extreme right current, the Deputy Jair Bolsonaro, has already openly defended, in one of the demonstrations in favour of impeachment, that every big landowner should carry a rifle to shoot militants of the MST.
9.The trade unions and social movements will not stand with their arms crossed in the face of the belligerence of the right, and the offence of government and business bosses against social rights won over the past two decades. They will resist in every way – strikes, land occupations, blocking highways, occupying buildings and much more. Brazil will become a torn country, on account of the irresponsibility and the boundless ambition of a half dozen politicians who are incapable of coming to power by the popular vote. This is what awaits us if the coup against Dilma is consummated.
10.But this will not happen. The mobilisation of citizens in defence of legality and of democracy is growing, with the adhesion of more and more people and movements, independent of their political affiliation, religious beliefs or whether or not they support government policy. The opinion each of us holds about the PT or the Dilma government is no longer what is important. What is at stake is democracy, respect for the result of the ballots and the constitutional norms that prohibit the application of a political trial without the existence of a crime that would justify such an extreme measure. More and more Brazilians are aware of this and are in the streets against the putschists. This March 31, democratic resistance will engage in a decisive battle.
The participation of all, in every corner of Brazil, is essential. We must all be in the streets, in defence of legality, of the Constitution and of social rights. All together! Fascism will not succeed! There will be no coup!
Igor Fuser is Professor of International Relations in the Federal University of ABC (UFABC), Santo Andre, Sao Paulo, Brazil..
(Translated by Jordan Bishop for ALAI)