Thursday, May 12, 2016

"Soft coup" in Brazil and Thursday

The "institutional coup," aka, "soft coup" in Brazil took place on Thursday. It's a really bad sign for democracy in Brazil and more broadly in Latin America.

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks gives a rundown on the story in Brazillian [sic] Impeachment Is Actually A Corporate Coup 05/12/2016:

His description of the new President, Michel Temer, is pretty amazing. He's legally banned for running for any public office in Brazil as part of a legal penalty for corruption charges. But the Brazilian oligarchy just installed him as the President of one of the largest and most populous countries in the world. This is not a good thing.

Formally, the Brazilian Senate has voted to conduct and impeachment trial of elected President Dilma Rousseff. But under the Brazilian Constitution, that means she's temporarily removed from power, in this case for up to six months. (Jonathan Watts, Dilma Rousseff suspended as senate votes to impeach Brazilian president The Guardian 05/12/2016)

Rousseff called the action a "modern coup" carried out by the "traitor" Temer. (Democracia suspendida Página/12 12.05.2016)

The new President isn't wasting a moment in implementing standard neoliberal (Herbert Hoover/Angela Merkel/Mauricio Macri) economic policies. Jonathan Watts reports in Michel Temer takes reins as Brazil's president with pledge to rebuild country The Guardian 05/12/2016:

Although he promised to maintain welfare programmes such as bolsa familia poverty relief, he has touted balancing the budget and getting inflation back under 10% as his priority.

In a sign of his commitment to austerity, Temer has slashed the number of cabinet posts from 31 to 22. But he may find it hard to cut other costs ahead of municipal elections and with unemployment already in double digits.

Whether this tough task can be achieved will depend largely on new finance minister Henrique Meirelles, who gained considerable kudos as central bank president under the first two Workers’ party governments. He will be charged with reining in expenses and encouraging other ministers to push ahead with privatisation, outsourcing and weakening stringent labour and pension laws.
Oh, and of course he is inviting the Confidence Fairy to come in and boost the economy. (Brazil's Temer calls for unity, confidence for Brazil recovery) The phrase "con man" is short for "confidence man." I'm just sayin'. (Lisandra Paraguassu and Alonso Soto, Brazil's Temer calls for unity, confidence for Brazil recovery Reuters 05/12/2016)

Brazilian resident Glenn Greenwald reports on the "soft coup" in Brazil’s Democracy to Suffer Grievous Blow as Unelectable, Corrupt Neoliberal is Installed The Intercept 05/11/2016, on which Cenk relies in the video report above. He calls attention to the malign role the major media in Brazil have played in this:

Beyond its obvious global significance, the reason I’ve spent so much time and energy writing about these events is because it’s been astonishing – and unnerving – to watch it all unfold, particularly given how the country’s dominant media, owned by a tiny handful of rich families, allows almost no plurality of opinion. Instead, as Reporters Without Borders put it earlier this month: “In a barely veiled manner, the leading national media have urged the public to help bring down President Dilma Rousseff. The journalists working for these media groups are clearly subject to the influence of private and partisan interests, and these permanent conflicts of interests are clearly very detrimental to the quality of their reporting.”

This Reuters story provides some background, though it doesn't explain how transparently phony the impeachment charges are, Trials and errors: how Rousseff lost Brazil Buenos Aires Herald 05/12/2016.

I'm sure it's pure coincidence. But Liliana Ayalde, the current US Ambassador to Brazil, served as US Ambassador to Paraguay from 2008-2011. A very similar "institutional coup" took place in Paraguay in 2012. (Benjamin Dangl, Behind Paraguay's coup Aljazeera 07/26/2012)

See also:

BBC News, Brazil impeachment: New leader Temer calls for trust 05/13/2016

Darío Pignotti, La noche que la democracia entra en suspenso Página/12 12.05.2016

Darío Pignotti, Dilma luchará contra los usurpadores del Planalto Página/12 13.05.2016

Kleber Tomaz, Temer é ficha-suja e fica inelegível por 8 anos, diz promotora eleitoral 05.05.2016

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