U.S. foreign policy is all about empire building and world dominance with an eye on the dollar. We constantly repeat phrases such as 'democracy' and 'human rights' as good things worth fighting for and we demonize words like 'leftist' and 'socialist' which we have equated with 'communist' and lead our thinking to match those words with the concept of a brutal dictator ruling a country. It is all very deceptive and seems to work wonders in our own nationalized mental state.
Brazil Cannot Be Allowed to Fall
by Andre Vltchek - Dissident Voice
Pacific Free Press
Send tanks to the streets; park them in front of the Congress, Dilma! Restore order and restore democracy.
Enough weeping! Latin America has wept incessantly, continuously, for years, decades and centuries. Its people robbed of everything since the days of Columbus, since Potosi.
Tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions have been slaughtered here, in the last five centuries; first by the conquerors, then by their descendants and serfs, and finally by the Empire of Lies as well as the treasonous local ‘elites’.
Enough weeping, comrades! It is time to use force.
Whenever people stood up, whenever true Latin American heroes liberated their lands, by reason or by force, the bloodbath was administered almost immediately, from across the seas, or from the North.
Tanks rolled through the avenues and squares, and combat airplanes and helicopters sprayed bombs and bullets all over Presidential palaces, as well as the countryside. People were hunted down like animals, dragged to stadiums and factories, to underground cellars, and there they were violated, tortured and slaughtered.
That’s their democracy! Thank you, but no more of that.
Why did all those horrors take place? Because there was always a clear consensus among the rulers in Washington, in most of the European capitals, and the reigning classes in all Latin American countries: Latinos are here to serve the West, to be governed from the North. If some Latin country opted to act ‘irresponsibly’ (to paraphrase Henry Kissinger), it had to be reminded where it belongs: it had to be smashed to pieces, bathed in blood and thoroughly humiliated.
Such treatment was administered on countless occasions, and it happened virtually everywhere – from the Dominican Republic to Chile, and from Brazil to Nicaragua.
During the last twenty years things changed.
Venezuela stood up. It roared, clenched its fists and won, sending tremors of hope to all corners of the World. It could be done; it really could be done after all, carajo! Bolivian people shouted in a clear, indignant and beautiful voice: this is our land and these are our indigenous colors; this is our air and our water! Then they fought, and some died but the nation won. Ecuador rose from its knees, changing the lives of millions of historically oppressed people. Argentina refused to pay unjust debts, and instead attempted to build a just and socialist society. Chile, step by step, was shedding its horrid legacy of the Pinochet era, throwing many of those responsible for its macabre rape into prisons.
In so many different ways (from the quiet and slow Uruguayan way, to the militant revolutionary way chosen by Venezuela), a once broken continent with the greatest disparities on Earth was gradually resurrected. What a beautiful mosaic! All of a sudden, it broke its shackles, and then threw them into the smelters, casting new iron and steel, so the plows and powerful foundations for new hospitals and schools could be erected.
And who could forget Brazil!
Dilma Rousseff, whatever your foes are saying, whatever the Empire is uttering in its toxic and cynical voice, the Workers Party (PT) changed absolutely everything!
Just a few months ago, last year (2015), I travelled throughout your vast and beautiful land: from the capital city Brasilia to the depth of the tropical forest near Manaus. From the ancient port city of Belem, to Recife, Fortaleza and Salvador Bahia; I spent days listening to the people in Sao Paulo, and then in the countryside.
I knew the Brazil of twenty and thirty years ago, but this was an absolutely new land!
I sat with teachers at so-called floating schools, in Amazonia. They spoke about the progress and hope that had arrived to the most remote indigenous communities. I spoke to fishermen, single mothers, even smugglers. I talked to children. Had life improved since Lula took power? Yes, of course! Who could doubt it?
I went to the slums of Salvador Bahia. Like in Venezuela, in all the poor neighborhoods there was great progress, all sorts of programs designed to eliminate poverty and inequality, great optimism and activism.
The infrastructure was improving with lighting speed, from public transportation to airports. In many cities, art had become totally free. In Manaus I attended a brilliant modern ballet performance, depicting the struggle to save Amazonia’s environment. Even that stunning Opera House where Caruso used to sing in the distant days of the rubber boom was not charging any entrance fee. And in Belem I sat through yet another free performance, this time of Verdi’s opera, in a fabulously restored municipal theatre.
Once dangerous and hopeless, Belem was transformed into a city of grand public spaces, promenades and endless cultural venues.
In Salvador Bahia, near the famous lift, I stumbled into yet another cultural center, which was being taken over by vocal protesters, demanding improvement of medical care in Brazil.
I asked: “hasn’t free medical care in Brazil improved, during the last years?”
“It has,” I was told by organizers. ‘But we want it to be much better!’
The huge hall where protesters had gathered was absolutely public. Nobody had to pay rent to use it. Practically, it was almost as if the government of Dilma was actually paying for demonstrators to come and protest against her policies.
That’s our democracy!
The better things got, the more violent the outbursts of the ‘opposition’ – of the ‘elites’ became. Hundreds of NGO’s, some sponsored ‘from abroad’, have been leading their well-organized campaigns of disinformation and agitation, aimed at discrediting the government and destabilizing the country.
Previously, I have witnessed the same actions in Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina and elsewhere.
Almost all mass media outlets were still in the hands of the right-wing conglomerates.
Money was shamelessly spread all around, buying votes. As a result, corrupt and right wing lawmakers continued to literally inundate the Congress.
At some point, the huge paradox became insufferable: something had to give way, to collapse:
On one hand, (and despite the recent economic decline), Brazil has been growing and improving for most of its people.
Thanks to Dilma and her PT, tens of millions are now living better, longer lives and enjoying much better education. When asked direct questions, people were readily confirming this.
On the other hand, a great number of Brazilian citizens have been claiming that ‘the government and Dilma have to go’.
There is no logic uniting these two beliefs. Except… Except that those constant negative campaigns, the Machiavellian manipulations and shameless anti-Left propaganda has finally managed to produce a decisive impact on the Brazilian psyche!
People have been manipulated into an extremely bizarre, irrational way of thinking: “We are doing better, but we don’t like those forces that have been improving our lives.”
One day, riding the brilliant Sao Paulo metro with my good Cuban friend, I uttered: “This is much better than the public transit systems in Paris or London.”
“Really?” he asked, sarcastically. “But people here think that it is absolute shit! They are being fed with constant criticism. Whatever this government does, it is always described as wrong!”
Let’s not forget where all this comes from. The propaganda is manufactured abroad, and only then modified and calibrated in Sao Paulo and elsewhere, for local consumption. All this is extremely professional, potent and destructive stuff, and it is dispersed all over Latin America. The goal is simple: to stop Latin American revolutions! To uphold the status quo.
Now the Congress has opened doors for impeachment of the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff.
If this drama is allowed to go on, it may be the beginning of the end of the cautious Brazilian revolution, and of the rule of the people (the corrupt lawmakers who are trying to overthrow her government don’t really represent much more than their financial and selfish political ambitions).
Even some of the Western press couldn’t hold it back any longer. The British Daily Mail wrote on 18th April 2016, right after the vote:
The decision delivered a major blow to a long-embattled leader who repeatedly argued that the push against her was a ‘coup’.
While Rousseff herself has not been personally charged with corruption, many of the lawmakers who decided her fate on Sunday have been.
Congresso em Foco, a prominent watchdog group in Brasilia, said more than 300 of the legislators who voted – well over half the chamber – are under investigation for corruption, fraud or electoral crimes.
As they cast their vote, some lawmakers said the next politician to be impeached should be the man leading the proceedings, Speaker Eduardo Cunha. He is charged with corruption and money laundering in the kickback scandal involving Petrobras, and he also faces an ethics inquiry over undeclared Swiss bank accounts.
‘God have pity on this nation,’ Cunha said as he cast his vote in favor of impeaching Rousseff.
What did Dilma really do wrong, apart from defending the interests of the poor Brazilians (although that is already an arch crime in the eyes of ‘elites’ and the Empire!)?
‘Official’ accusations are: Rousseff was using ‘accounting tricks’ in managing the federal budget to maintain spending and shore up support. She did not steal anything, never traded cash for favors. Nobody accuses her of corruption.
Even if ‘accounting tricks’ really took place, this is hardly a crime. Some would say, every Brazilian president has done it at one point or another. Almost all Western politicians do it, constantly.
Right before this essay went to print, International The Daily Telegraph printed: “Nato target met by ‘creative accounting. Ministers have only met the Nato target on defence spending by “modifying” accounting practices, MP’s said…” No calls for impeachments in the West!
Even the International New York Times could not remain silent. On 21 April 2016 it lashed at Brazilian lawmakers in the article written by Celso Rocha de Barros:
In the hourslong televised session on Sunday, members of Congress explained their decisions as they voted for impeachment: “They voted “for peace in Jerusalem”, for the truckers”, for the Free Masons in Brazil” and “because of Communism that threatens this country”. Very few members of `Congress based their votes on the charges that have actually been brought against the president: that she violated regulations regarding public finances… real reason the president is being impeached is that Brazilian political system is in ruins. Her impeachment will provide a convenient distraction while other politicians try to get their house in order.
Washington & Wall Street Fight BRICS Challenge In Brazil
By Eric Draitser, www.mintpressnews.com
Despite all the fancy anti-corruption rhetoric, the assault on President Rousseff’s leftist government is the result of a coordinated campaign by business interests tied to Washington and Wall Street.
from popular resistance: NEW YORK — (Analysis) The last decade has seen a remarkable coalescing of non-Western nations in both economic and political partnerships. These multilateral institutions have been championed as alternatives to Western organs of political and economic power such as NATO, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.
From the growth of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union, China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy to link much of the Eurasian landmass via trade and investment, and most recently the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, many have viewed these developments as essential for the decentralization of global power away from the imperial centers of Washington, Wall Street, London and Brussels.
But perhaps none of the emerging Global South international groupings has been more promising in terms of both public relations and real economic partnership than that of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
BRICS countries account for 46 percent of the world’s population – over 3 billion people, as of 2015 – making it the single largest bloc in terms of human capacity among global alliances. The scope of BRICS, combined with its increasing assertiveness as an economic power unto itself, has undoubtedly ruffled a few feathers in Washington and elsewhere in the West.
It should come as no surprise that major moves have been taken in the last 12 to 24 months to undermine each BRICS member nation and destabilize them through political and economic means. And it is no coincidence that those leaders shown smiling and shaking hands at recent BRICS summits are now either the targets of destabilization efforts and subversion – as in the cases of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa – or are a target of a military and political charm offensive, as in the case of India. In each case, the United States and its allies benefit significantly from the latest developments.
Brazil in the crosshairs
One of the U.S. empire’s tried and true methods of destabilizing a targeted country is through manufacturing and promoting political scandals and/or political movements that appear oppositional but whose interests, whether consciously or not, align with the ruling establishment in the West. Both of these elements are at play in Brazil, which has been moving toward increased economic, and consequently political, independence in recent years.
Aw oman shows poster written in Portuguese “There will not be a coup” next to a picture of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, during a rally in her support and of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, March 18, 2016. Silva has been targeted in an alleged corruption investigation involving the Brazil oil giant Petrobras.
In Brazil, the government of Dilma Rousseff is facing a major destabilization campaign orchestrated by powerful right-wing elements in the country and their U.S. backers. Under the always convenient banner of “anti-corruption,” millions have turned out in the streets to demand the ouster of the twice-elected Rousseff government on the heels of a series of revelations about alleged corruption pertaining to the quasi-state, quasi-private Petrobras oil company.
According to the allegations, a number of leading political figures, some of whom are connected to President Rousseff and the Workers’ Party, have skimmed at least 3 percent of the billions in oil revenue from Petrobras, illustrating the still active tradition of corruption in Brazil.
The latest target is former President Lula da Silva, who was forcibly removed from his home in an ostentatious show of force by law enforcement authorities meant to humiliate the 70-year-old founder of the Workers’ Party. Because of his working class background, the former president was seen as the hope and pride of the left in Brazil, and the public removal from his home earlier this month sparked the latest round of protests.
But what — or who — is really behind the soft coup in Brazil?
The right wing is the driving force of the protests, despite any progressive-minded, anti-corruption sentiment being expressed by various segments of the protest movement. Two of the principal groups responsible for organizing and mobilizing the demonstrations are the Free Brazil Movement (MBL) and Students for Liberty (EPL), both of which have direct ties to Charles and David Koch, the right-wing, neocon, U.S. billionaires, as well as other leading figures of the far right, pro-business neoliberal establishment.
MBL is fronted by Fabio Ostermann and Juliano Torres, both of whom were educated in the Atlas Leadership Academy, a satellite of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which is directly funded by the Koch brothers. EPL is a direct affiliate of the U.S.-based Students for Liberty, a well-known Koch brothers outfit with deep ties to the right-wing political establishment in the U.S.
One of the leading faces of the movement is Kim Kataguiri, a 20-year-old “activist,” who is both a founder of MBL and a leader in EPL. Unabashedly pro-big business, he’s an adherent of the so-called Austrian School of Economics, the economic ideology that advocates total deregulation of the economy in the interests of private business, and a great admirer of Milton Friedman, the father of what is known today as neoliberal capitalism.
Kataguiri and his fellow right-wing activists have been quick to distance themselves from the blood-soaked legacy of right-wing coups in Brazil and Latin America for obvious reasons. Yet they espouse precisely the same economic policies as those enacted throughout the region, perhaps most famously in Chile under the brutal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, whose economic policies were directly guided by none other than Friedman.
In this March 18, 2015 photo, anti-government protest leader Kim Kataguiri poses for a picture in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
As Kataguiri explained to The Guardian in 2015:
“We defend free markets, lower taxes and the privatisation of all public companies. … In Brazil, the left is still seen as cool by young people. … We want to destroy this idea that if you defend free markets then you’re an old man who is asking for a dictatorship. … Unfortunately, we don’t have any big sponsors. The government and some sectors of the press say that we are financed by rich people. We would have no problem in being financed by rich people.”
Unfortunately for Kataguiri, Ostermann, Torres and their colleagues, the truth about their connections to powerful finance capital and business in the U.S. and throughout Latin America is well known. Still, the corporate media whitewashes these connections, presenting the protests as some sort of pure expression of people’s discontent, rather than a manufactured form of political manipulation and destabilization which has seized upon difficult economic times to cynically exploit public opinion. Brazil’s economic downturn over the past two years has made this much easier.
Other influential groups such as VemPraRua (“Come to the Streets”) are directly funded by powerful right-wing business interests inside the country, including Brazil’s richest man, Jorge Paulo Lemann. As Bloombergnoted in a 2013 profile of Lemann:
“In the U.S., Lemann is virtually unknown, even though he and his two longtime partners, Marcel Herrmann Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira, now control three icons of U.S. consumer culture: Heinz ketchup, Burger King, and, after the $52 billion takeover of Anheuser-Busch in 2008, Budweiser beer. The combined market value of the companies they run is $187 billion—larger than that of Citigroup.
In Brazil, Lemann is a business-class hero. … Worth some $20 billion, Lemann is No. 32 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, seven slots behind George Soros and three ahead of Carl Icahn.”
Meanwhile, the reactionary, pro-U.S. elements inside (and outside) Brazil are particularly angered at the Workers’ Party and, more broadly, the left. This is not because of corruption – though corruption undoubtedly remains a problem – but because of the ascendance to power of political forces representing working class and poor Brazilians.
As the North American Congress on Latin America correctly assessed in April 2015: “Don’t believe the right-wing media’s emphasis on corruption—the recent demonstrations are motivated by entrenched elite discontent over expanding economic and political inclusion for the nation’s majority.”
Bringing BRICS to heel
In short, despite all the fancy anti-corruption rhetoric, the assault on Rousseff’s leftist government is the result of a coordinated campaign by business interests tied to the U.S. Washington and Wall Street that see in Brazil a dangerous precedent in which a left-wing government sympathetic to and allied with Bolivarian movements in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and until recently, Argentina, was able to gain power and preside over an economic boom.
A graph demonstrating the correlation between expansion of anti-government sentiment and the stagnation of GDP growth.
A graph demonstrating the correlation between expansion of anti-government sentiment and the stagnation of GDP growth.
Indeed, this point should not be understated — namely, the economic downturn in commodities such as oil which has put the brakes on Brazil’s rapid economic progress.
In fact, recent data shows that the expansion of anti-government sentiment directly correlates to the stagnation of GDP growth, which itself directly correlates to the decline in commodities prices. As many have convincingly argued, the collapse of oil has no doubt been fomented and encouraged, if not directly orchestrated, by the U.S. and its allies in the Gulf in order to target non-Western countries whose economies are tied to oil and gas revenue — Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, and especially Russia.
Essentially, what’s unfolding in Brazil is a multi-pronged effort to destabilize the country via a variety of political and economic means, with the ultimate goal of bringing to heel a key member of BRICS. But it is not the only one.
Brazil is certainly not the only BRICS member facing an offensive by the U.S.-NATO system. The next article in this series will examine the destabilizing forces reaching into South Africa. Future pieces will examine the growing military relationship between the U.S. and India, as well as the multi-faceted strategies to contain, isolate, and destabilize Russia and China.
Yes, God have pity on Brazil if Mr. Cunha, or the corrupt Vice-President Michel Temer and his cohorts grab power! Or more precisely, God have pity on the fooled majority of Brazilian people! Who is really Mr. Cunha? He is Christian fundamentalist, a jihadist with deep roots in the darkest dictatorial past of Latin America. The Guardian described him on 21 April 2016:
Lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, an evangelical conservative and conspiratorial mastermind, started and steered the drive to remove the country’s first female leader from power as a means of reducing the risks to himself from investigations by a congressional ethics committee and prosecutors for alleged perjury, money laundering and receipt of at least $5m in bribes.
The Brazilian people elected Ms. Rousseff democratically. They voted for her so she could defend them, to improve their lives.
She should now think about her voters, only about them!
What the ‘opposition’ wants to achieve is clear. It is the same everywhere: in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. Right-wingers have already succeeded in Argentina, where they are right now busy dismantling the welfare state.
They have to be stopped.
The government reasoned with them, for months and years. They opted for this coup.
Once Rousseff was implicated (most ‘convincingly’ in the court of public opinion) for her alleged involved in “Car Wash”, the embedded pro-American regime change elements in Brazil’s government sprang into action in initiating the ‘constitutional coup’ proceedings against her. By itself and nakedly presented as a one-sided ‘anti-corruption’ inquisition, the ‘constitutional coup’ had no semblance whatsoever of domestic or international ‘legitimacy’, which necessitated a dramatic move in order to ‘justify’ it. This was the role that the nascent Color Revolution ended up playing, since without tens of thousands of people in the street, there could be no pretense of ‘democracy being served’ by her indictment. Instead, the US’ hand in all of this would be even more obvious than during Latin America’s last ‘constitutional coup’ in 2012 Paraguay. Additionally, Brazil isn’t Paraguay – it’s a leading multipolar power and a nation many times larger than its landlocked neighbor, and carrying out a regime change there requires more ‘finesse’ and ‘public relations’ manipulation in Brazil than it ever would in Paraguay.
As ugly as it may look, not acting would be much more damaging and dangerous.
One lawmaker, a far-Right representative from Rio de Janeiro, openly declared that he is “dedicating his vote to the colonel responsible for torturing Ms. Rousseff” under Brazil’s dictatorship. People like him cannot govern the country. Not again!
The nation and will of the people are not some punching bags. And freedom of speech does not mean that a bunch of treasonous media outlets and politicians should be allowed to spread lies and hate, while ruining the country.
Brazil is too big. It cannot be allowed to fall. The entire Latin America relies on it, one way or another.
Send tanks to the streets; park them in front of the Congress, Dilma! Restore order and restore democracy.
Remember: Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador, and the rest of the world, are watching.
More than 500 years, Comrade Dilma: more than 500 years of torment, looting and enslavement of Latin American people, by foreign invaders and local ‘elites. Tell your enemies, tell our enemies: “never again!
Do it by force, because the time for reason has just expired!
Do not surrender!
And LONG LIVE BRAZIL, DAMN IT!
André Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker, and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest book is Exposing Lies of the Empire. He also wrote, with Noam Chomsky, On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter. Read other articles by Andre.