Brazil: attempted Bolsonarist coup frustrated

Bolsonaristas invade Brazil's National Congress building (Image: TV BrasilGov | CC BY 3.0)

On Sunday 8 January a mob of Bolsonaro fanatics rampaged through the Presidential Palace, vandalising the empty Congress and Supreme Court buildings of Brasilia, demanding the removal of the country’s president Lula, newly installed on 1 January. In this imitation of Donald Trump’s supporters’ rampage into the then working US Congress on 6 January 2021, we again see in Brazil the violent forces of open political reaction.


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Brazil - Lula is back

The narrow but unprecedented victory won by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva over incumbent far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, in Brazil’s presidential run-off election on 30 October, prompted a wave of congratulations from the leaders of the imperialist states as they fretted at the country’s deepening political crisis and the enormous damage done to the Amazon by Bolsonaro’s regime.


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Brazil: Bolsonaro condemned

President Bolsonaro’s disastrous mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 612,000 deaths and over 22 million cases, has likely condemned him to defeat in the 2022 elections. On 26 October, a Brazilian Senate commission recommended criminal charges be brought against him, including crimes against humanity, for his Covid-19 policies. 


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Brazil: Bolsonaro under pressure

A protester with a microphone and mask reading 'fora Bolsonaro' (photo: Mídia NINJA | CC BY-NC 2.0)

Brazil's Parliamentary Investigative Committee (CPI) investigating the government's mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic announced on 6 October that it planned to accuse President Jair Bolsonaro and members of his cabinet - some 30 people overall - with ‘crimes against humanity’ and even ‘genocide’ of indigenous peoples. Without judicial powers, the CPI will deliver its report to the Office of the Prosecutor and the House of Deputies on 15 October. Impeachment procedures may then start against the president. By 12 October, there had been more than 21.5 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Brazil, with 601,442 Covid deaths, a number second only to that of the United States.  Alvaro Michaels reports.


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Brazil: impeachment calls sharpen ruling class divisions

Outdoor projection on building in city at night reads 'Fora Bolsonaro'

On 30 June 2021, Congress members across the political spectrum, social groups and lawyers filed a collective impeachment request against President Jair Bolsonaro. This follows more than 120 others, which have all been blocked by the speaker of the lower house of Congress. In the face of a pandemic which he has deliberately ignored, Bolsonaro has created a series of disastrous obstacles to the saving of thousands of lives, whilst at the same time being entangled in a series corruption and criminal charges involving his political allies and family. Since January 2019, when he took office, Bolsonaro has made 2,187 false or distorted statements, more than four a day.[1] Bolsonaro, his ministers or close advisers made 464 public statements attacking or undermining journalists. There were 254 attacks on journalists and communicators in 2020, 123 by police and officials; 20 were serious cases, such as murder and attempted murder and death threats. On 26 July Bolsonaro hosted the German deputy Beatrix von Storch, from the neo-fascist Alternative for Germany party.


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Brazil: Bolsonaro keeps lying and the poor keep dying

Cartoon shows Bolsonaro saluting by a pile of bones on which grim reapers raise a Covid-19 flag (credit: Genin)

The wretched Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has proved himself the accomplice of death in Brazil. Tens of millions of Brazilians are facing hunger or food insecurity as the country’s Covid-19 crisis drags on, killing thousands of people every day. The bourgeoisie in Brazil has now reluctantly understood that it may have to jettison Bolsonaro, but Brazil must expel the entire gang that supported him.


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Britain and Bolsonaro

Indigenous Brazilians protest

In 2020, Brasil Wire revealed a strategic partnership between the British government and Bolsonaro from 2016. Brittany Kaiser (ex-Cambridge Analytica employee) reported unrecorded meetings in 2016 between the British Consul General in São Paulo and Mark Turnbull, the managing director of Cambridge Analytica’s subsidiary, SCL group. Freedom of information requests forced the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to provide dates, but all details of these ‘informal’ meetings were withheld. The discussions with Cambridge Analytica coincided with the disinformation strategy used by Bolsonaro’s campaign committee. Cambridge Analytica helped with the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and with Brexit.


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Brazil: Bolsonaro joins hands with Death

Symbolic crosses draped with Brazil flags represent Covid-19 victims. A person in PPE gear holds a spade.

By 23 March 2021, Brazil had the second highest number of deaths and cases of Covid-19 in the world: 300,000 deaths and 12.13 million cases had been recorded, after the US’s 544,000 deaths and 30 million cases. President Jair Bolsonaro has now had four different Health Ministers and despite a recent Supreme Court ruling, has no clear prevention and vaccination plan. For Bolsonaro, avoiding an economic shutdown has been the priority, wilfully promoting the spread of this deadly infection, imposing mass deaths across the country and creating a hotbed of viral mutations with international consequences. Annaís Berlim and Alvaro Michaels report.


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Brazil: setback for Bolsonaro

Manuela d'Avila and Guilherme Boulos of the PCdoB celebrate election gains

The reactionary Jair Bolsonaro government suffered severe setbacks in municipal elections on 15 November. One hundred and fifty million voters were able to elect mayors, vice mayors and councillors from 5,568 municipalities, while Brazil suffers the third highest number of coronavirus cases and second highest number of fatalities in the world.  More than 168,000 Brazilians have died so far because of Covid-19, and the vote expresses condemnation of Bolsonaro’s attack on the health service and his refusal to direct a programme to protect the working class.  Alvaro Michaels reports.


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Bolsonaro’s attack on teachers

Protests on Teachers Day, 2013 in Brazil were marked by repressive policing

15 October was ‘Teachers' Day’ in Brazil. This year the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a survey showing that Brazil ‘leads’ the world in aggression against educators. The ‘day to honour teachers’ is now almost a caricature.


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Brazil production, profit and death

The resignation of health minister Nelson Teich, on 15 May, in protest at the preposterous medical suggestions of President Bolsonaro, less than a month after his predecessor was sacked, has shaken Bolsonaro’s position. The previous minister, Luiz Mandetta, refused to back Bolsonaro’s demands that shops and schools reopen. With more than 24,500 reported Covid-19 deaths (27 May), in a country where such reporting is hopelessly inadequate, Bolsonaro has sought to keep everyone working, whatever the personal cost. His contempt for workers’ lives is undeniable; when asked about the deaths he replied, ‘So what?’

The Covid-19 outbreak has dramatically exposed capitalism, and so its ruling classes, to a simple choice: protect workers or force them to work, irrespective of the consequences. Desperate to renew accumulation, plans to return to work are concocted everywhere. What we see is the basic demand of capital: work, whatever the conditions, or starve. In the imperialist states, there exists a thin cushion of state credit to suspend the exploitation of workers for a few months. In Brazil this barely exists. Bolsonaro represents the real pressure of capital on labour; work and be damned. For example, in the slums of Brasilia unemployment, hunger and lack of money will see major riots, with inevitable looting, if the shutdown continues. The favelas have been abandoned by central government – 70 million people live in Brazil’s slums – many areas lacking water, making the fight against the coronavirus impossible. The health system is incapable of dealing with the load, thousands dying without treatment. The poorest, and so weakest, are hit first, whether working or not. Black Brazilians successfully went to court in Rio on 4 May to get details of the ethnicity of Covid-19 victims recorded. These details were excluded from a third of reports, concealing the class impact of disease.

Bolsonaro denied any problem. Only from 17 March did individual states begin declaring a variety of responses, but with Bolsonaro calling the pandemic a ‘little flu’, insisting it was all an exaggeration and that everyone could carry on as normal. However, just in case, he has blamed the Chinese Communist Party. Polls indicate that 64% of the population reject his handling of the crisis and some 49% want him impeached. On 19 May a virtual demonstration was organised by five ‘left-of-centre’ political parties – Sustainability Network, Green Party, Brazilian Socialist Party, Democratic Labour Party and Citizenship calling for the president’s impeachment. Pot -banging protests from shutdown neighbourhoods are regular. Ex-president Lula accused Bolsonaro of ‘leading Brazil to the slaughterhouse’.

Teich’s resignation came after that of ex-justice minister Sergio Moro. Moro is trying to salvage his own reputation following exposures by The Intercept of his collusion as judge with prosecutors in Lula’s trial. Abandoning a sinking ship, Moro seems to be preparing himself to be Bolsonaro’s successor, under a typically rightist ‘anti-corruption’ flag.

Moro resigned claiming that Bolsonaro was interfering in police investigations into allegations that one of his sons, Carlos, who runs an online fake-news network, called for a shutdown of Congress and the Supreme Court. On 19 April, supporting these calls, Bolsonaro had climbed onto a lorry outside army headquarters in Brasilia to attack these very institutions. These acts have prompted a formal probe into the president, which could lead to his impeachment, alongside other criminal investigations into the family’s associates. Brazil’s Supreme Court released an expletive-laden video of Bolsonaro demanding that he could choose the police officers he wanted.

The courts may not back Moro, and fighting back, Bolsonaro has abandoned his earlier pledge not to give legislators benefits, such as government jobs for their allies, in exchange for political support.

The stupid economy

The World Bank reckons Brazil’s economy will shrink 5.3% this year due to the pandemic, the biggest crash in over 50 years. In fact, this crisis came in two stages: the economic recession from 2014 and its failed recovery and now the slump provoked by the pandemic. Brazil’s desperate economic situation demands a major assault on the working class. Bolsonaro’s agenda is saturated with a desperate sentimentality for the 1964 to 1990 period of military government. Seven military men sit in his cabinet of 22. The economy minister, ‘Chicago Boy’ Paulo Guedes, wanted to slash spending, simplify taxes and privatise state enterprises. Horrified, he now has to promise monthly payments of US$116 (R$600) to tens of millions of informal workers and US$232 to mothers responsible for supporting their families. The impact of the aid is expected to be US$8.5bn for three months. By 26 March, the total stimulus package was US$150bn, more than the projected savings from his pensions’ reductions. On 7 May Congress ratified a constitutional amendment, allowing the central bank to begin the ‘emerging market’ world’s biggest quantitative easing programme, to finance the spending. Direct ‘monetary financing’ was previously banned. It can now provide cash for a range of private and public assets, including both government and corporate bonds. State debt will rise to about 90% of GDP this year, up from 76% last year, and the government will have to force down the interest rate to reduce debt costs. None of this will stop the deepening polarisation between the poor and rich, already the worst in the world, and the political crisis accompanying it.

Alvaro Michaels

The Amazon

During the recent rainy season, the Amazon had just 75% of typical rainfall. With less rain, it is easier to deforest because machinery can enter the forest. Land grabbers deforest one year, set fire the next, to transform forest into farmland and pastures. The soil is now drier, temperatures are higher, and groundwater is depleted. This context has made the Covid-19 crisis much worse, with Manaus, capital of the region, severely hit by the virus. Within the forests, movement of loggers and miners has spread the sickness to the indigenous tribes. These people are medically abandoned by the state, (they were being treated by Cuban doctors, now expelled). They suffer constant assaults on their lands and lives from small farmers clearing the way for the larger companies, all encouraged by the tragically dangerous Bolsonaro.


Brazil: A year of Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro’s deceitful and hate filled campaign of 2018 to seize the presidency in Brazil, importantly backed by Brazilian mining and agricultural capitalists, has provided the reactionary right wing of the Congress – the ‘ruralistas’ – with a year to carry out devastating attacks on the Amazon and the reduction of state pension rights, with the aim of increasing profits at the expense of the Brazilian masses.


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Brazil: guns and violence against women

Marcha das Margaridas, August 2019

On 14 August 2019 the sixth ‘Marcha das Margaridas’ took place in Brazil, bringing more than 100,000 women out onto the streets demanding an end to gender-based violence and oppression. Movements organised and led by women have been in the forefront of challenging ultra-right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro and his reactionary government since his election on 28 October 2018. Huge numbers of women had taken to the streets across Brazil and in dozens of cities across the world in September 2018 before the election with the slogan: ELE NÃO - NOT HIM! Bolsonaro openly praises the 1964-1985 military dictatorship responsible for the torture, rape and murders of hundreds of its left-wing opponents. His election victory has brought tragic consequences, not only for the Amazon rainforest and peoples, but for all workers in Brazil – especially women.


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Brazil - massive attack

On 15 May millions of school and university students, their teachers, professors, and other staff in more than 180 cities across Brazil, demonstrated against education budget cuts, the first mass protests since the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro took office in January. Alvaro Michaels reports.

The president’s education minister, Abraham Weintraub, announced budget cuts across all levels of public education on 30 April, having threatened to reduce funding for universities that ‘promoted rackets’ and that ‘are just making a mayhem’ instead of improving their academic performance. 30% of ‘non-mandatory spending’ is cut for federal universities, payment for all the outsourced workers such as cleaners and security staff, spending on build-ing work, on equipment and even water, electricity, and internet bills.


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Plague of reaction threatens Brazil

Women and LGBT activists protesting against Jair Bolsonaro's vicious homophobic views

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 268 February/March 2019

Once installed as President of Brazil on 1 January 2019, Jair Bolsonaro immediately extended the assault begun by stand-in predecessor Michel Temer on the many previous hard-won gains of the working class. Bolsonaro ‘disinvited’ the Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan presidents from his inauguration, at which he declared that the country would start to ‘free itself of socialism’. He now aims to implement the grim list of threats made in his election campaign. The outcome depends entirely upon the resistance and fight back that must be waged by the working class. Alvaro Michaels reports.


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Brazil’s elections: deepening reaction, anger and fear

A woman spits on a picture of Jair Messias Bolsonaro

UPDATE: On 28 October, far-right Jair Bolsonaro won the second round of Brazil’s presidential election with 55.54% of the votes, whilst Worker’s Party candidate Fernando Haddad, garnered 44.46%. Abstention was 22%.  On claiming his election victory, Bolsonaro reiterated his pledge to move Brazil’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, whilst confirming his hostility to Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, the so called ‘troika of tyranny’ alleged by US National Security advisor, John Bolton. Reaffirming his support for Donald Trump and US imperialism Bolsonaro promised  ‘We will stop praising murderous dictatorships, and we will stop scorning or even attacking important democracies like the USA, Israel and Italy’. In response to the election results, anti-Bolsonaro protests swept Brazil’s major cities declaring ‘we will resist-no one is giving up’. Bolsonaro will assume the presidency on 1 January 2019.


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Brazil: Lorry drivers halt the country

Striking lorry drivers protest against rising fuel costs in Duque de Caxias, Brazil

On 21 May, one million lorry drivers stopped work in Brazil and brought the country to practically a stand still within four days. Blockading highways in 24 states as part of their protest against a continuous rise in diesel and petrol prices, drivers stood firm for four days. The drivers are split between those who work as employees for haulage firms – some 300,000 who had effectively been locked out as their employers sought cuts in the cost of fuel – and the 700,000 self-employed drivers organised in the Brazilian Association of Truckers (Abcam). By the fourth day of the stoppage, the government had capitulated in a deal which the government can ill afford, given the economic crisis gripping Brazil expressed in a steady fall in the exchange rate of the Brazilian real. While the employers’ associations almost immediately agreed the terms on offer from Prime Minister Temer’s coup government, Abcam to date has not. Temer is expected to offer further concessions at a meeting on 27 May.


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Brazil: Marielle Franco assassinated

On 14 March, Marielle Franco, an outspoken representative of the Brazilian poor, was murdered with her driver in Rio de Janeiro after she had spoken at an event to empower black women. A city council member elected in 2016, she campaigned against police brutality. She became an expert on police violence at a time when one presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro – now second in the polls for October’s election – declared that ‘a policeman who doesn’t kill isn’t a policeman’. Tens of thousands of people in Rio de Janeiro and other cities across Brazil demonstrated in the days following her murder, demanding answers to the killing.


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Brazil: Lula’s appeal rejected, electoral tensions rise

Former president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, also known simply as Lula

On Wednesday 24 January a Federal appeals court upheld the conviction of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on corruption charges – on the word of a construction company executive engaged in plea bargaining over his own corrupt practices. That this trial is the result of machinations by corrupt establishment politicians is undoubtable, and started when they manoeuvred to expel Dilma Rousseff as president in 2016.


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Brazil: ‘Pet food’ for the poor


In Sao Paulo prosecutors have opened an enquiry into plans to feed school children and poor people with a flour – farinata – made of freeze-dried leftover food, often processed near its sell-by-date, dubbed ‘human pet food’. It also comes in pellet form.

The conservative mayor Joao Doria, of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), and Catholic cardinal Dom Odilo Schere, said the scheme would alleviate hunger at no cost to the city when they defended the plans on 18 October. It has not met safety or nutritional standards.


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Brazil: corrupt president forces the pace of exploitation

temer brazil

On 14 September Brazil’s prosecutor general’s office laid new charges of bribery against President Michel Temer and six other leading politicians from his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, involving $188m. Three are already in jail. Temer and two other men are further accused of obstructing justice. The day before, the prosecutor general Rodrigo Janot survived a challenge in the Supreme Court to remove him from leading the Temer investigations. Temer is now accused of having acted as the leader of a criminal organisationsince May 2016. Denying all charges, Temer publically insulted Janot as a personal failure, and has shamelessly ploughed on with his scheme to plunder the country.


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Brazil: increasing exploitation

 brazil protests.jpg 1718483346

On 12 July, Lula, ex-President of Brazil (2003-2010), was convicted of being gifted an apartment in São Paulo valued at $300,000 by a business contractor. The use of the apartment against Lula was one of five cases prepared against him. This is another huge blow against the Workers’ Party (PT) following the expulsion of Dilma Rousseff as president, and hits its chance of winning the presidency again with Lula in 2018. The PT has called Lula's conviction and sentence ‘an attack on democracy’. Lula has denied all charges and was given leave to appeal and released.

Two weeks before Lula’s sentencing, the same judge, Moro, sentenced Antonio Palocci to 12 years in prison for corruption. He had been a minister in the Lula and Rousseff governments. Palocci was named in the giant corporation Odebrecht’s list of politicians regularly taking bribes in exchange for lucrative contracts with the state oil corporation Petrobras. This ‘Operation Car Wash’ scheme mostly developed when Lula's PT was in power, from 2003 to 2016. $10m of this was directed to Lula’s PT campaign finances.

The last three years of deep economic crisis, working class austerity and political scandals has created a situation where the candidates from the big political parties like the conservative Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) are widely detested. On 6 June police arrested the former tourism minister, Henrique Eduardo Alves, of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), charged with bribery in the construction of a 2014 World Cup stadium in Natal. The previous weekend President Temer’s aide, Rodrigo Rocha Loures (PMDB), was arrested having previously been stripped of his congressional seat and consequently of parliamentary immunity, for being caught with a suitcase containing 500,000Reais (over $100,000) of alleged bribe money received from the meat packing giant corporation JBS. It is claimed that he was acting as Temer’s interlocutor with JBS to ‘resolve’ its problems. In mid-June Temer (PMDB), the current unelected replacement president, was acquitted of financial irregularities in the 2014 election campaign, when he ran as vice president, in the Superior Electoral Court by a four to three vote. The day after, he was forced to deny damaging press allegations that the country's secret security service, ABIN, had spied on the justice overseeing the ‘Operation Car Wash’ investigation. He still faces charges of corruption and obstruction of justice. He received a miserable 7% public approval rating in the June opinion polls.


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Brazil: Ruling class in crisis

fora temer

On 17 May, in the latest blow to the Brazilian ruling class, unelected President Temer was finally exposed in the establishment newspaper O Globo, caught on tape in March endorsing the payment of hush money to ex-speaker of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha. Joesley Batista, chairman of JBS, the world’s biggest beef exporter, was paying Cunha monthly to keep quiet about JBS’s role in the associated ‘Car Wash’ scandal, the payment of a percentage of state contract monies to political parties in return for receiving contracts. Cunha is already serving 15 years for taking $1.6m in bribes in the Petrobras scandal. Alvaro Michaels reports.

Brazilian politicians are absolutely discredited. The revelations now emerging have highlighted the shameless hypocrisy of those who forced Dilma Rousseff out of office last year. Rousseff was impeached on charges concerning manipulation of government budgetary accounts; a minor offence compared to those committed by the gang now clinging to office.


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Brazil: growing resistance

Capital can no longer accumulate in Brazil without removing even those small gains for the poor made possible by the commodity boom prior to 2015.  The new austerity imposed by the government of the unelected President Temer on the working class is fast bringing rebellion. Unemployment and poverty have risen dramatically.

In the 12 months to January 2017, more than 1.28 million jobs were lost, with a dramatic increase of 608,000 from November 2016.  The unemployment rate hit 12.6% in January, with 12.9 million people out of work. Industrial production fell 6.6% last year, after falling 8.3% in 2015, all in all 17% over the last three years.  Overall GDP fell 3.6% last year. Lower commodity prices, for oil and iron ore, hit the state’s budget, provoking aggressive cuts to spending.


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Brazil: drained of its wealth

brazil prison

Brazil’s new coalition government, now shorn of any Workers Party members, has increased the maximum permitted working hours to 12 per day and sharply reduced regulations on temporary worker employment. A widespread attack is underway against the Brazilian working class which is being made to pay for the crisis of a system rooted in the drive for private profit. Meanwhile, Teori Zavascki, the Supreme Court judge running Brazil’s enormous Lava Jato (Car Wash) political corruption probe, was killed as his plane inexplicably crashed into the sea off the Rio de Janeiro state coast, conveniently stalling the investigation.


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Brazil: renewed onslaught against the poor

brazil temer

The October 2016 Brazilian municipal elections saw the bloodiest campaign in the country’s democratic history, set in the worst recession in Brazil since the 1930s. At the same time the largest anti-corruption investigation in history has been running, inflaming the fractious impeachment process against former President Dilma Rousseff, which reduced the electoral campaign from 90 to 45 days. At least 20 candidates have been murdered since August. The state of Rio de Janeiro leads the list of places where candidates were shot at, threatened and killed.

These elections, in the 27 states with more 144 million voters in over 5,500 municipalities, confirmed the strength of the reactionary mass media campaign directed by a ruling class in the grip of international capital. The demonisation of the Worker’s Party (PT) by the millionaire mass media has had a profound effect. By the second round of votes, at the end of October, the left was comprehensively defeated, with the PT reaping their worst results in 20 years.


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Brazil a legal ‘coup d’etat’


On 12 May 2016 the Brazilian Senate voted 55-22 to start impeachment proceedings against President Rousseff, halting 13 years of politically fragmented coalitions led by the Workers’ Party (PT). Vice President Michel Temer, of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) under investigation for allegedly receiving more than $1.5m in illegal campaign contributions, has taken on the interim presidency, even though impeachment proceedings against him were also ordered the same day as those against Rousseff. His first coalition cabinet of 13 May was made up of 23 white males, despite the majority of the population being of African descent.

Polling shows the majority of the country wants Temer impeached. WikiLeaks revealed him to be a US Embassy informant since 2006. Temer’s finance minister is Henrique Meirelles, former chief executive of the Bank of Boston. Ilan Goldfajn, from Brazil’s largest private bank Itaú Unibanco, is the new central bank governor. The new Minister of Agriculture is Senator Blairo Maggi (Party of the Republic), ex-Governor of Matto Grosso State, who received Green Peace’s ‘Golden Chainsaw’ award for deforestation in 2005.


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The Crises in Brazil

The current political battles both within and between the governing Workers' Party coalition and the opposition parties centre on the Petrobras corruption charges (see FRFI Web October 2015). Payments extorted by Petrobras managers in return for awarding private contracts, were passed to the governing parties. Such scandals erupt regularly as the Brazilian ruling classes finance their own positions as imperialism drains Brazil’s resources.

The deepening global economic crisis has exposed both the country’s greater dependence on raw material and agricultural sector exports, and the tightening noose of international finance on its cash flows. Brazil is facing its worst recession since at least the 1930s. Industrial production plunged 12.4% in 2015. The economy shrank nearly 4% and it will contract another 3% in 2016.


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Brazil: recession and corruption

Between April and June 2015, Brazil’s economy fell into recession; GDP contracted 1.9% compared to the previous three months, the country’s worst downturn in 25 years, expected to become the worst since the 1930s. Compelled to find a way out of a deteriorating economic and social environment, the bourgeoisie are using the revelations of one of their own largest corruption scandals to hammer the Workers’ Party coalition government into moving from placating the working class to openly attacking it. Behind this stand the global investors.

To punish the government’s August proposals for a 2016 budget deficit of 0.5% of GDP ($Reals30.5bn or US$8.1bn), Standard and Poor’s aggressively downgraded Brazil’s investment grade rating to ‘junk’ on 15 September. With ‘junk’ ratings, global pension and insurance funds automatically start removing capital from a country. The ratings agency insolently demanded ‘unwavering cabinet support’ for the surplus’s planned by the former investment banker and new Finance Minister Joaquim Levy.


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Workers protest against Brazil’s sports circus

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 239 June/July 2014

On 15 May protests again erupted against the Brazilian state’s huge spending on the FIFA 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic projects. Police attacked demonstrators in 12 main cities, and teachers were joined by bus drivers and street cleaners seeking wage increases in a broader wave of strikes and protests around Brazil. The current demonstrations started on 26 January, with the Anonymous group’s ‘Operation Stop the World Cup’ campaign, when 2,500 protesters marched in Sao Paulo, of whom 100 were arrested. Then on 6 February a cameraman was killed by a police smoke canister in a separate protest in the city. On 22 February, police again fired tear gas and stun grenades at over 1,000 protesters against World Cup spending, making over 230 arrests.


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