Aletho News


Online Petition Forces Review of Dilma Rouseff’s Impeachment

teleSUR | July 29, 2017

Brazilian senators will have to review the controversial procedure that led to the former president Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment last year, after an online citizens’ petition gathered more than 46,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

The survey is being carried out on the Senate’s online platform E-Cidadania, and required a minimum of 20,000 signatures by November before it could be formally converted into a “legislative suggestion” to be considered in the higher house.

It poses two questions: firstly, that the loss of her mandate as the constitutional president was the consequence of a coup d’état.

And secondly, that the ‘failure’ of her successor Michel Terner’s government means that the only solution is to reinstate Rouseff into her elected post which should never have been taken away from her.

Last August, Brazil’s Senate voted to remove her from office for manipulating the budget.

Rouseff protested her innocence and promised not to give up the political struggle against poverty and inequality.

The petition is similar to another one which has been drawn up by the National Movement for the Anullment of the Impeachment, MNAI.

It’s supporters include the former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the national president of the Workers’ Party, Gleisi Hoffmann and the singer and composer Chico Buarque.

The MNAI hopes to gather 1.3 million signatures in order to pressure the Federal Supreme Court to revoke the result of the trial against Rousseff.

The Brazilian President Michel Temer’s approval ratings have plummeted to less than five percent as the corruption allegations against him and other politicians refuse to go away.

While opponents of his government’s controversial labor and pension reforms are still demanding his resignation.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Brazil Mainstream Media Admits Spreading Fake News About Lula

teleSUR | May 23, 2017

The mainstream media channel has long claimed that both former leftist presidents were involved in the massive corruption scandal.

Brazil’s largest television channel, Globo, has admitted that is has divulged false information about former Brazilian presidents Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.

Globo journalist William Waak acknowledged on television Tuesday that previous reports about Lula and Rousseff, allegedly owning offshore accounts, were inaccurate.

The mainstream media channel has long claimed that both former leftist presidents were involved in the massive corruption scandal involving Joesley Batista, owner of JBS, Brazil’s largest meat packing company.

“We said that Joesley Batista had claimed in the awarding statement that he deposited fines on two current accounts abroad, in the name of the ex-Presidents Lula and Dilma Rousseff,” Waak said.

“In reality, however, Batista said that the account is in his name, but that money was going to be allocated to Lula and Dilma’s campaigns.”

The correction did not repair damage caused to Lula and Rousseff’s image, since many international agencies and foreign newspapers have since echoed Globo’s false claim, failing to correct them.

Last Friday, Batista confessed that de-facto President Michel Temer had requested and received bribes from his company since 2010.

Batista, the protagonist of a wiretapping scandal incriminating the unelected Brazilian leader, exposed the arrangement to the Brazilian attorney general’s office. He claims he paid Temer roughly US$1 million in 2010 alone. Another US$921,000 was requested by the embattled president in 2012 to support Gabriel Chalita’s bid to become mayor of Sao Paulo.

Batista also claimed that during the impeachment process against ousted former President Dilma Rousseff, Temer requested a payment of more than US$85,000 dollars for online political marketing expenditure.

Temer has repeated that he has no intention of resigning. Contrarily, he’s considering a lawsuit against the owner of JBS in order to strengthen his defense.

May 24, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

‘Rousseff’s impeachment – sad day for Brazil & democracy’

RT | September 1, 2016

Was the impeachment process against Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff justified? Is interim President Michel Temer credible? How will the people of Brazil react and are we likely to see protests escalating?

Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was impeached on Wednesday, after the final vote in Senate. She was ruled to have mishandled Brazil’s budget, and misrepresented the state of the economy prior to her reelection in 2014.

Michel Temer, former Vice President under Rousseff, became acting president of Brazil in May after the start of the impeachment of Rousseff.

Watchdog groups say about 60 percent of the country’s lawmakers, as well as interim President Temer, who may potentially form a new government, have been accused of corruption and fraud.

Maria Mendonca, professor at the University of Rio de Janeiro called the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff “very sad for Brazil” and “a very sad day for democracy”. The result of the 2014 elections, when Dilma was reelected, “was not respected.”

“It is a process that reminds us of the military coup in 1964. That was not a real trial, because most Senators already had a position – they made up their minds even before the whole trial started. There was no legal basis for the impeachment. The public prosecutor already had cleared Dilma of all charges in terms of the mechanisms of basically issuing debt to pay for social programs, which is a regular mechanism in Brazil and also in other countries,” she told RT.

In her opinion, the impeachment was “a way for unpopular corrupt politicians to take power without going through an electoral process.”

According to Mendonca, it is now difficult to predict how the situation is going to develop and whether protests by Rousseff’s supporters – that have been going on for days now – may escalate.

“I think we’re going to stay in a situation of limbo for a while, of uncertainty, because the main rules of democracy were broken,” she said.

She added though that “the media in Brazil can manipulate public opinion,” and has been doing so since the beginning of the impeachment process.

“But once people realize that we’re going to have more instability: cuts in social programs, in health care, education, and we’re going to have more serious economic crisis, then people will realize that this was a manipulative process to get rid of a president that was democratically elected; and to implement austerity measures that would make the situation even more unstable politically and economically,” Mendonca said.

Good for Brazil in longer term

David Riedel, economic analyst from Riedel Research Group argues that Rousseff’s impeachment “is a good move” for Brazil as in the longer term it would benefit from a more “business friendly government.”

Dilma Rousseff has run “a very populist regime; she’s been giving a lot of support to social programs and other things,” he told RT. “I think you’ll probably see some social unrest, as those goodies and those free benefits start to be taken away from the population. But it’s a good move for Brazil in the medium and longer term. They needed to take this step. They were successful with the Olympics, which were great, and now they need to be successful in this transition of power to, I would argue, a more business friendly government, which is going to be very good for investors.”

If Michel Temer – who is running the country at the moment and is likely to become the next Brazilian President – “takes advantage of this populist, very expensive spending that the Rousseff and [Luiz Inacio] Lula [da Silva], before her, administrations had under way – that can protect the currency; it can help improve the investment environment,” Riedel said.

“International investors want Brazil to be a success – so they will give them the benefit without doubt if they see things headed in the right direction. So if they are business friendly and investor friendly and cut back on the profligate spending that has been such an issue across Latin America, I think that investors would give them a second look,” the analyst said.

Absolutely no justification

An independent investigation found there were no grounds for launching action.

Political scientist Daniel Shaw from the City University of New York says there’s “absolutely no justification” for the impeachment “from the prospective of millions of Brazilians who voted for Dilma Rousseff and now see the democratically elected president unconstitutionally removed from power.”

But in the minds of the Brazilian rich, the bourgeoisie –“they feel like they don’t need justification to continue to push things in a rightward direction and to continue to exploit the majority of Brazilians,” he said.

WikiLeaks has revealed that Brazil’s new interim president, Temer, was an embassy informant for US intelligence.

Some also suggest that the US could have orchestrated the “coup” against Rousseff.

Commenting, Shaw said: “If we look critically at the history of US foreign policy and how they’d been involved in supporting dictatorships from Pinochet to Somoza across Latin America, when all of the FOI requests are complete in 10-15 years, there’s no question there’ll come out the role that the US State Department played.”

“They are against the leftward trend that’s been going on since 1999 with Venezuela at the helm and, of course Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador. This is a blow, an attack not just on the Brazilian people but on the entire progressive current that was sweeping across Latin America,” he added.

September 1, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

Brazil’s Rousseff vows snap elections if survives impeachment

Press TV – August 17, 2016

Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff has pledged to hold early elections if she survives a vote on her removal from office in an impeachment trial that is expected to conclude this month.

Rousseff, accused of illegally manipulating finances to hide a growing public deficit ahead of her reelection in 2014, is due to stand trial in the Senate on August 25, four days after the Rio Olympics end.

The Globo news organization reported that the actual judgment vote could take place between August 30 and 31.

In a letter to the federal Senate and Brazilian people that she read out on Tuesday, Rousseff said Brazil’s political and economic problems could only be resolved “through popular vote in direct elections.”

“The full restoration of democracy requires that the population be the one to decide what is the best way to expand governability and perfect the Brazilian political and electoral system,” Rousseff said.

“It’s the only way out of the crisis,” she wrote.

Rousseff admitted she had made mistakes, but said she had done nothing worthy of impeachment.

“I have listened to the tough criticisms of my government, for the errors committed,” she said. “I accept these criticisms with humility and determination so that we can build a new way forward.”

Rousseff further said that forcing her out through impeachment amounts to “an unequivocal coup.”

Rousseff impeachment: A timeline

October 9, 2015: Brazil’s federal audit court rules that Rousseff broke the law while managing the 2014 budget, paving the way for opposition groups to argue that the leader should be impeached.

December 2, 2015: Eduardo Cunha, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, agrees to start anti-Rousseff impeachment proceedings.

December 11, 2015: Rousseff presents a petition before the Supreme Court to stop the process.

March 17, 2016: The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Brazilian National Congress, elects a special impeachment commission, which has a majority derived from the ruling coalition, including the Workers’ Party and the Democratic Movement Party (PMDB).

March 29, 2016: The PMDB leaves the ruling coalition, in a split that hurts Rousseff’s chances of derailing impeachment proceedings.

April 6, 2016: The special impeachment commission publishes a report recommending Rousseff’s impeachment.

April 11, 2016: The impeachment commission decides, in a 38 to 27 vote, to let the Chamber of Deputies vote on the president’s impeachment.

April 15, 2016: The Brazilian Supreme Court rejects Rousseff’s motion to stop the process.

April 17, 2016: A total of 367 out of 513 legislators in the parliament’s lower house vote in favor of Rousseff’s impeachment.

May 12, 2016: Senators vote 55 to 22 to suspend the president for 180 days and hold an impeachment trial in the Senate, the upper house of National Congress, with Rousseff slamming the vote and saying she was “being judged unfairly.”

Michel Temer becomes interim president and announces his new cabinet.

May 24, 2016: The interim government is rattled by a leaked audio tape suggesting a plot against Rousseff, a scandal that forces a number of key ministers in the new cabinet to resign.

June 28, 2016: An investigation by a team of independent auditors, comprised of career Senate budget technicians, concludes there is no evidence that Rousseff participated in budget manipulation.

July 18, 2016: Cunha resigns less than three months after he orchestrated the impeachment.

August 16, 2016: The Senate votes to hold an impeachment trial for Rousseff, pushing her one step closer to dismissal from office. Her trial is due to take place in the week after the Olympics closing ceremony.

A week ago, the Brazilian Senate voted to hold an impeachment trial for the country’s first female president.

A two-thirds majority of the Senate, or 54 votes, would be needed to see her permanently removed from office.

If the trial acquits Rousseff, she will be allowed to serve out her term until 2018. But if it removes her permanently, then acting President Temer will become the full-fledged president until the next election in 2018.

Rousseff is also under fire over a graft scandal at state oil company Petrobras, where she was the manager before taking office as president in 2010.

The embattled leader has denied the allegations and repeatedly asserted that she has fallen victim to a plot by the extreme right.

In recent months, Brazilians have held numerous counter rallies in support of and against the impeachment process.

August 18, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Leaked Audios Reveal Plot to Oust Dilma Rousseff

By Aline C. Piva | Council on Hemispheric Affairs | June 6, 2016

The already fragile legitimacy of Michel Temer’s interim government in Brazil took a huge blow last week. Leaked audios involving Temer’s closest allies revealed a plot to oust democratically elected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff as part of a plan to put an end to Operation Carwash (Operação Lava Jato), the operation that is investigating the scheme involving bribery and kickbacks in Petrobras, the Brazil state-owned oil company. [1][2]

On May 23, the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo published the transcripts of a conversation between Romero Jucá, Planning Minister in Temer’s interim government, and Sergio Machado, former Senator and President of Transpetro, another Brazilian state-owned oil company. This conversation – and other records leaked since then – were recorded in March, before the first vote of the impeachment process that took place in the Chamber of Deputies.[3]

After discussing their own involvement in the Carwash investigation –both are being investigated for corruption-, Jucá states his solution for the “problem”: “We have to change the government to be able to stop this bleeding.” Machado followed by agreeing: “The easiest solution would be to put in Michel [Temer].”[4]

A “National Pact” to topple Dilma Rousseff

In this conversation, Jucá talked about a “national pact” to impeach Dilma and stop the investigations of the corruption scheme. This included justices of the Supreme Court, the compliance of the military forces and the pacts amongst the opposition forces in Congress. These clandestine arragements were formed in complete disregard for the political will expressed by the majority of Brazilians at the ballot box. According to Jucá, important members of Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (the Brazilian Social Democratic Party; PSDB), the center-right party that lost the last four presidential elections in Brazil, were aware that Dilma’s removal was an imperative to stop the “bleeding” brought on by Lava Jato.[1]

When asked what he meant by “bleeding”, Jucá said that he was referring to the economic effects of Operation Carwash. Interestingly, he never mentioned the economic situation in Brazil in this conversation. In fact, the dialogue begins with Machado speaking about the risk that plea bargaining deals would become more frequent, which could implicate even more politicians and their close allies. Machado then asked to set up “a structure” to prevent this from happening, should he be prosecuted. In the context of preventing the Lava Jato’s prosecutors from getting Machado’s confession, Jucá suggested that they needed to “stop the bleeding.”[2]

In the audio, Jucá goes even further in demonstrating the possibility of foul play as he describes the role of the military and various members of the Brazilian Supreme Court. Jucá stated that the military supported the coup: “I’m talking to the generals, the military commanders. They are fine with this, they said they will guarantee it”. Temer’s short-lived Planning Minister also affirmed that the military is “monitoring the Landless Workers Movement”, one of the largest Brazilian popular movements that has been at the forefront of protests against the impeachment process. Jucá also has claimed that he had access to a “small number” of the Supreme Court Justices, and that he discussed the extent of the investigations with them. According to Jucá, the justices told him that the corruption investigation – and the popular and media pressure for it to continue – would not stop as long as Rousseff remained in power.[3]

Another two audio leaks, published by Folha, from Renan Calheiros and José Sarney – both had been speaking with Machado, who recorded the conversations – reveal that the plans to stop the investigations of Operation Carwash were in the works for a long time now.

José Sarney, former Brazilian President who now holds a seat in the Brazilian Senate, confided to Machado that key figures of the opposition were reluctant about the idea of a transition government headed by Michel Temer. He also indicated that Michel Temer was negotiating “certain conditions” (not spelled out in the audio) with those opposition representatives, in order to constitute his government. Sarney also made it clear that there was “no way out” for Dilma, except being impeached, and expressed the need to stop the plea-bargaining deals within Operation Carwash. [4]

Renan Calheiros, the President of the Brazilian Senate and former close ally of Dilma Rousseff’s government, also expressed his concerns on the plea-bargaining deals in Operation Carwash. In his conversation with Sergio Machado, Calheiros said that he supported changes in the laws that regulate plea bargaining deals in order to prevent someone who had already been incarcerated from becoming an informer, which is one of the main procedures used by Operation Carwash’s prosecutors for obtaining information on the corruption scheme. This change would benefit many politicians involved in the scandal.[5]

Calheiros also suggests that, in order to deal with this matter, they would have to “negotiate” with members of the Brazilian Supreme Court about the “transition” of Dilma’s government. Effectively, there are now eight different proposals being discussed in the Brazilian Congress on how to change the way plea-bargain deals are made. [6]

Most recently, Sergio Machado leaked his conversations with Fabiano Silveira, former counselor of the Conselho Nacional de Justiça (National Justice Council; CNJ), which is responsible for supervising the Judiciary, and newly appointed Minister of Transparency, Superintendence and Control in Temer’s government. In this audio, Silveira criticizes Operation Carwash and guides Renan Calheiros on how he should prepare his defense for the charges of corruption. The Minister of Transparency has supposedly also sought members of the Lava Jato task force to request information on the investigation involving Calheiros.[7]

These statements alone are serious indications that what is taking place in Brazil is a coup with the purpose of stopping the corruption investigations in the country. Also, one is witnessing a blatant attempt to implement a political project that has been repeatedly defeated in democratic elections since 2002 (recent polls also show high rejection rates for Temer’s government), and there are many other indications that the ouster of Dilma was, in fact, a political plot.[8]

O Estado de São Paulo reported that, during the past 12 months, over 80 members of both houses of the Brazilian Congress held regular meetings to discuss Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment. Among them were former senators José Serra, now Minister of Foreign Relations, and Mendonça Filho, now head of the Ministry of Education. Nelson Jobim, former president of the Brazilian Supreme Court also attended many of these meetings “to help deepen the technical and jurisdictional comprehension of the impeachment.”[9]

The Corruption Narrative

This report and the content of the leaked conversations show that Dilma’s impeachment is the result of a carefully planned and executed plot to benefit a small political group threatened by Operation Carwash. Temer and his closest allies played an important role in this scheme. Moreover, the nomination of his cabinet also reflects how the impeachment process was likely motivated in order to stop the anti-corruption investigations: a third of Temer’s ministers are either under investigation or being charged for corruption or bribery; the leader of Temer’s government in the lower house of Congress is under investigation for homicide; and Temer himself was found guilty last May of mismanagement of his campaign budget, and deemed ineligible to run for office for eight years.[10]

Evasion of corruption charges is not the only motivation behind the impeachment show put on by the various pacts besides the obvious involvement of many of Temer’s ministers in corruption schemes and other crimes. The choosing of those politicians makes it clear that their target is to impose a political agenda that has been repeatedly rejected by the Brazilian people on the ballot box. The leaked audios with compromised conversations signal a political motivation different from the allegedly legal argument presented to the Brazilian Congress for the impeachment. Together with a speedy process of reversing social, economic and cultural policies of the Dilma administration, these are clear signs that what took place in Brazil was an illegal alteration of the constitutional order – and not the result of a democratic process.

The audios are hard proof that the political elite behind Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment perceived that removing her from office was the only way to keep themselves from being held accountable for their illegal deeds, and to maintain their profitable scheme of corruption. They demonstrate what impeachment opponents have been saying from the beginning: rather than to “clean” the Brazilian government of corruption, the oust of Dilma was the only way to guarantee that those under investigation would be shielded.[11]

[1] “Por Que Foi Um Golpe – Crítica Constitucional.” Crítica Constitucional. Accessed May 27, 2016.

[2] “Folha De S.Paulo.” Jucá Não Falou Sobre Economia Ao Citar ‘sangria’; Ouça. Accessed June 01, 2016.

[3] “Folha De S.Paulo.” Em Diálogos Gravados, Jucá Fala Em Pacto Para Deter Avanço Da Lava Jato. Accessed May 27, 2016.

[4] “Folha De S.Paulo.” Leia a Transcrição Dos áudios De Sarney E Do Ex-presidente Da Transpetro. Accessed May 27, 2016.

[5] “Folha De S.Paulo.” Em Conversa Gravada, Renan Defende Mudar Lei Da Delação Premiada; Ouça. Accessed May 27, 2016.

[6] “[Lupa] Tramitam No Congresso Oito Projetos De Lei Para Alterar Uso De Delação Premiada.” Lupa Tramitam No Congresso Oito Projetos De Lei Para Alterar Uso De Delação Premiada. 2016. Accessed May 27, 2016.

[7] “Em Gravação, Ministro De Temer Critica Lava Jato E Aconselha Renan”. Accessed May 31, 2016.

[8] “O Que as últimas Pesquisas Revelam Sobre Apoio Ao Impeachment E a Temer?” BBC Brasil. Accessed May 27, 2016.

[9] “G-8 Do Impeachment Teve Reuniões Durante Um Ano – Política – Estadão.” Estadão. Accessed May 27, 2016.,g-8-do-impeachment-teve-reunioes-durante-um-ano,10000026435

[10] “Folha De S.Paulo.” Ministros Do Governo Temer São Alvo De Investigações Além Da Lava Jato. Accessed May 30, 2016.


“Temer é Ficha-suja E Está Inelegível, Diz Procuradoria Eleitoral.” Fausto Macedo Temer Ficha suja E Está Inelegível Diz Procuradoria Eleitoral. Accessed May 30, 2016.


“Folha De S.Paulo.” Líder Do Governo Temer é Alvo Da Lava Jato, Suspeito De Tentativa De Assassinato E Réu Em Três Ações No STF. Accessed May 30, 2016.


[11] The Intercept. “New Political Earthquake in Brazil: Is It Now Time for Media Outlets to Call This a “Coup”? Accessed June 02, 2016.

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Fact-checking the Heralded “End of the Latin American Left”

By Peter Bolton | Council on Hemispheric Affairs | May 27, 2016

Recent political developments across the region have prompted celebratory proclamations in the mainstream Western press that Latin America’s decades-long dominance by left-leaning governments is reaching its terminal stages. The landslide victory of the Venezuelan opposition in last December’s legislative elections, the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, and the triumph of center-right candidate Mauricio Macri in Argentina’s presidential election do indeed seem to point to a region-wide decline in the fortunes of the parties of the Pink Tide. But as is so often the case in the mainstream media, commentators have been too quick to make current events fit neatly into overarching seismic shifts.  The cursory and often incomplete news reports on which they are based simply do not provide sufficient support for such catchall explanations. While scholars have naturally initiated a more nuanced and detailed debate to consider whether the region is indeed witnessing the end of a progressive cycle, press analyses have struck a premature and in many cases triumphalist tone by declaring the collapse of the Latin American left both imminent and beyond serious doubt.

In reality, it is the exact opposite that is beyond serious doubt: it is far too early to write off the future of the left in Latin America. Moreover, more research is needed to understand the dynamics of these movements and how things might play out in the coming months and years. But what is most disconcerting about these knee-jerk press responses is that the people making them seem to not even have a strong grasp of the basic facts surrounding the political developments on which they base their claims, let alone of the nuance needed to develop a sophisticated analysis. In a survey of the media declarations of the purportedly imminent collapse of the Latin American left, COHA has found a shocking collection of glaring and demonstrably false statements over basic matters of fact that reveal the profoundly slipshod nature of their research.

The salience of these findings can hardly be overstated: if journalists in the mainstream media cannot even get basic facts correct, they can hardly be trusted to provide a meaningful analysis of the larger picture.

Jackson Diehl

As predictable as the jeers from the DC commentariat were, perhaps the one figure within the Beltway punditry class who could have been most counted on to react gloatingly to the recent setbacks of leftist governments in Latin America was The Washington Post’s deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl. Having been a reliable war hawk and right-wing militarist at the Post’s op-ed section since the late 1970s, Diehl was quick to turn his wrath on Pink Tide leaders and their supposedly grave threat to U.S. national security interests. In 2010 he repeated American Enterprise Institute scholar Roger Noriega’s accusation that then-President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez was collaborating with Iran in the development of nuclear capabilities.[1] In 2013 he accused the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador of “gutting democratic institutions in their countries,” and described Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa as “Latin America’s chief caudillo and Yanqui-baiter.”[2]

His characterization of the latest political developments, inexplicably posted at the Charleston-based Post and Courier rather than his home publication, fits seamlessly with this record of hysterical hyperbole and dubious accuracy. In the article’s first sentence he triumphantly announces: “The encouraging news from Latin America is that the leftist populists who for 15 years undermined the region’s democratic institutions and wrecked its economies are being pushed out — not by coups and juntas, but by democratic and constitutional means.”[3] From this outrageously loaded misrepresentation he quickly moves on to outright falsehoods by claiming that Argentina’s Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was “vanquished in a presidential election.”[4] From a simple Google search one can learn that she was in fact not even a candidate in last year’s presidential election.[5] Apparently Diehl cannot even get past his article’s second sentence without revealing his stupefying ignorance of the most basic of facts.

Aside from blatant inaccuracies, he also makes the remarkable claim that “most of the Western hemisphere is studiously ignoring this meltdown,” despite the fact that Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, has been calling for months to invoke the OAS Democratic Charter against Venezuela.[6] If he is referring not to the OAS but rather to the leaders of the region’s governments, then he is simply confusing their indifference for Washington’s isolation in its condemnations of the Maduro government. Just as the United States was completely isolated in its refusal to recognize Maduro’s election victory in 2013, so it has been alone in calling for sanctions, for which it has lobbied on the basis of largely spurious allegations of human rights violations.

To round out his diatribe, Diehl then describes the “obstacles” to getting a recall referendum to remove President Maduro as “comically steep,” despite the fact that all of the figures he cites regarding the required numbers of petition signatures (which opposition activists need to gather to trigger the recall vote) are calculated from terms set out in Venezuela’s Constitution. By representing the recall referendum as offering the “slim remaining hopes for a democratic solution,” he implies that some sort of extra-democratic methods might be necessary, and presumably also justified.[7] Keep in mind that the provision for a recall referendum to remove a sitting president is a democratic mechanism that scarcely exists in any constitution besides Venezuela’s.

Rafael Ruiz Velasco

In an article published at the PanAm Post, Rafael Ruiz Velasco is just as hasty in his passage of judgment on the fate of Latin America’s left. He announces confidently that “the results are clear: the bet on socialism in Latin America has failed.”[8] But like Diehl, Velasco makes at least one glaring factual error that undermines his already highly suspect piece. He says of Brazil: “The Olympics will be held with a politically defeated Dilma Rousseff out of office, as she faces impeachment on corruption charges.”[9] The truth of the matter is that Rousseff is in fact one of the few leading Brazilian politicians not to be facing corruption charges.[10] Her impeachment was rather premised on vague accusations of fiscal mismanagement and budgetary irregularities[11]—hardly the high crimes that under normal circumstances would merit removal from office. Her replacement Michel Temer, on the other hand, does presently stand accused of corruption, and not over minor allegations either. In addition to being implicated in the country’s ongoing Petrobras scandal, he also stands accused of illegal financing during the 2014 elections[12]; the exact kinds of things, ironically, that would normally be legitimate grounds for impeachment.

Either Velasco is conveniently ignoring these facts, or else just has a very weak understanding of the details of what is taking place in Brazilian politics. Indeed, much else in his article makes one wonder whether he is engaging in willful misrepresentation or is just plain clueless. To give just one example, Velasco describes Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Ignácio da Silva, as Brazil’s “figureheads of failure,” in spite of the four electoral victories they have won between them. Leveling this smear against da Silva, whose widespread popularity led to him being affectionately known as Lula, is particularly absurd given that he won both of his presidential election victories with over 60 percent of the vote and left office with 80 percent approval ratings.[13]

Antonio Sampaio

In an article for Foreign Policy magazine, provocatively titled “How Brazil’s Left Destroyed Itself,” Antonio Sampaio pulls no punches in his characterization of Rousseff’s impeachment, claiming that it “marks the final fall from grace not only of the president but also of her ruling Workers’ Party, which has run the country for 13 years.”[14] But one can only feel confounded when Sampaio concedes further down the article that “supporters of the government are right to point out that Rousseff herself is one of the few high-profile political figures who has not been accused of abusing her office for personal enrichment. (Her impeachment is related to alleged manipulation of public accounts to disguise a deficit).”[15] This stands in blatant contradiction to how he begins the article, with the claim that “the biggest corruption scandal in national history is revealing the extent to which Rousseff and her allies actively contributed to the rot of Brazil’s democratic institutions.”[16] It is simply unfathomable how he can lay the blame for the damage done to Brazil’s institutions by this scandal at the feet of Dilma Rousseff when he concedes in the same article that her impeachment has nothing to do with corruption. But in the world of Western press coverage of Latin America, this kind Orwellian doublethink does not seem to matter even when such contradictory statements are being made in the very same article.

Chicago Tribune/Orlando Sentinel

In a “Guest Editorial” in the Orlando Sentinel, the editors of the Chicago Tribune (I’m confused too) argue that the next U.S. president “will need to engage Latin America with a lot more purpose and resolve,” or else “Russia, Iran and China will.”[17] To their credit, they do concede that the recent setbacks of leftist leaders “do not necessarily mean a complete, sweeping repudiation of leftist populism,” since “the gap between the impoverished masses and the few wealthy elite still defines life for much if not all of the continent.” But rather than providing legitimate justifications for progressive policies, this grinding poverty and gross inequality apparently makes these countries “susceptible” to what they term “leftist agendas.”

But in addition to this patronizing jeer, the Tribune editors also make the exact same factual error as Jackson Diehl by claiming that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner “lost her re-election bid to Argentine center-right leader Mauricio Macri last fall.”[18] At the risk of repeating it ad nauseam, Kirchner did not stand in the election, and, moreover, was not even able to since the Argentine Constitution sets a limit of two consecutive presidential terms. Granted, her ruling Justicialist Party lost control of the executive to Macri’s rival Republican Proposal party, but the candidate for the Justicialists was Daniel Scioli[19] (a former vice-president during the administration of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s husband and predecessor Nestor Kirchner). To those who might try to dismiss this correction as mere nitpicking, imagine what people in the United States would have thought if a foreign newspaper had reported in November 2008 that U.S. President George W. Bush had lost his re-election bid to Barack Obama. Such shoddy journalism would have surely delivered an instantly fatal blow to the publication’s credibility. But when a U.S. publication demonstrates an exactly analogous ignorance of basic facts about Latin America, its unfounded pronouncements and flimsy arguments still get taken seriously.

Further revealing their risible political illiteracy, the Tribune editors claim that the setbacks for the Latin American left have “all happened with virtually no coddling or stoking from the U.S.”[20] Either the authors have never read anything about the United States’ covert funding of Venezuelan opposition candidates and its threats of sanctions against the Maduro government, the meetings between major regional right-wing figures and allies in the U.S. Congress,[21] and the United States’ use of international organizations to weaken left-leaning governments, or else they are being deliberately duplicitous (and presumably take their readers for a bunch of idiots to boot). The Tribune editors conclude with the unbelievably sweeping statement that the region’s populations are “fed up with failed leftist policies.”[22]

No Alternative?

This last statement neatly sums up the central message that these articles wish to communicate: that any policies that don’t fit the Anglo-American model of unfettered neoliberal capitalism “don’t work” and that though people might at first naively support them, they end up getting disillusioned and begrudgingly come to the realization that neoliberalism is the only viable economic system after all. Though they might not spell it out quite so obligingly, the message is essentially a repetition of Margaret Thatcher’s infamous claim that “there is no alternative” to free markets, free trade, and capitalist globalization. The presentation of the recent setbacks of Latin American left governments as confirmation of this seems to be a deliberate jibe directed at the many people the world over who hold up Latin America as humanity’s beacon of hope for providing a more just, generous, and sustainable way of life.

But though these setbacks of the Pink Tide should not be reflexively explained away and the diminishment in popular support for its parties should not be discounted, there are important distinctions and qualifiers that cast doubt on such a rash declaration of victory for neoliberal orthodoxy. Lest we forget, it was less than a decade ago that an economic crash plunged world economies into disarray and prompted no less a figure than Alan Greenspan to admit that free market ideology is flawed.[23]

First, it is important to make the distinction between a decline in support for the Pink Tide’s parties and support for their policies. Research has suggested that voting publics in Latin America have not become any less supportive of such policies, but rather are becoming disaffected with how they are being administered by those in charge. A poll by Poliarquía in the run up to the 2015 Argentine presidential election, for instance, found that 50 percent of respondents were in favor not of a return to the policies of the pre-Kirchner years, but rather “continuity with change.”[24] As Raanan Rein, a professor of Latin American and Spanish history at Tel Aviv University, put it: “The left lost more than the right won.”[25] He added: “It wasn’t that Macri became so popular, it was simply that his predecessors, the Kirchners, destroyed Peronism.”[26] In other words, what is needed is not a relapse back to tooth and nail neoliberalism, but rather a new and more effective leadership to build on the alternatives that were first attempted by the leftist old guard. The many achievements that resulted from these policies include: expanded access to public services such as healthcare[27] and education;[28] radically reduced poverty[29] and child malnutrition;[30] widespread construction of new homes for those in need;[31] and a significant pushback against the brutal realities of income and wealth inequality[32] that have long plagued the region. Many of these policies’ merits have been recognized by international organizations including the United Nations,[33] the Carter Center,[34] and even the World Bank.[35] Perhaps the most revolutionary of all the changes implemented by the Pink Tide governments were the drafting of new constitutions that guarantee social, political and economic rights to all citizens,[36] and also include unprecedented protections for marginalized groups such as women[37] and indigenous people,[38] and even for nature.[39]

To be sure, legitimate feelings of betrayal exist throughout the region and it is important to hold progressive governments accountable for their share of errors in confronting the economic downturn or failing to prepare for a rainy day. But though many voters might express their anger at the governing Pink Tide parties for their mistakes and lack of foresight by abstaining or even casting a protest vote for the right-wing opposition, this does not indicate a wholehearted endorsement of these parties’ proposals, far less a desire for a return to neoliberalism and the structural adjustment era of the 1980s and 1990s.

Of course, there is also the natural and universal tendency in all societies for people to gradually tire of their governments (regardless of success or failure), to take for granted the gains that were made, and to forget the bad aspects of what came before. All governments, like all human enterprises generally, are deeply imperfect and are not, in Latin America least of all, immune from risks of corruption and other malign influences. But these negative factors are hardly unique to governments of the left. After all, plenty of governments of the right throughout the region have been not just corrupt, but in some cases even murderous. From the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile in which thousands of people were “disappeared”[40] to the torture and extrajudicial executions that took place during Venezuela’s Andres Perez administration,[41] such governments hardly compare favorably to those of the Pink Tide.

Secondly, it is important to make a distinction between left-leaning governments and the social movements and popular sectors that thrust them into power. The continued energy of these movements demonstrates that their drive to resist neoliberalism and fight for social change is as fierce as ever. Indeed, one of the most basic mistakes of these shallow op-ed columns is their failure to consider, let alone grasp, the workings of the internal dynamics of these movements and their relationships with their national governments. If anything, the fall in support for Chavismo in Venezuela among some of its traditional base has more to do with the failure of the Maduro government to maintain its engagement with the popular sectors rather than a newfound enthusiasm on their part for a return to neoliberalism and a repeat of so-called structural adjustment.

Thirdly, it is important to remember that the parties that have opposed the Pink Tide governments have been pressed to the left and have, at least publicly, adopted much of the language and ideas of their political adversaries. During the 2012 and 2013 presidential elections in Venezuela, for instance, opposition candidate Henrique Caprilles Radonski presented himself as a social democrat and the standard-bearer of the moderate left ideas of Brazilian President Luiz Ignácio da Silva[42] (who incidentally endorsed the Chavista candidate[43] in both cases[44]). His campaign also used some of the enduring symbols of Chavismo, calling itself the “Bolivarian Command” and promising to not discontinue the social missions, but rather make them more efficient and less ideological. Though leaked documents subsequently revealed his plan was to make a swift about-face after the election and impose a brutal neoliberal agenda once in office,[45] Caprilles at least understood that the immense popularity of then-President Chavez’s policies meant that he had to publicly present himself as a center-left progressive in order to stand a chance of winning. The Venezuelan opposition has also moved to the left on social issues and even fielded three LGBT candidates in the 2015 December legislative elections.[46] Likewise, Mauricio Macri presented himself during the presidential campaign in Argentina as a pragmatist and moderate technocrat rather than a free market absolutist.[47] As was the case with Caprilles, there is good reason to think such pronouncements were insincere (he has already rekindled Argentina’s relationship with Wall Street[48] and filled his cabinet with bankers[49]), but it at least demonstrates that the political center of gravity amongst Latin American publics is way to the left of the traditional forces of the right.

Fourth, we should not forget that circumstantial factors have created problems for left-leaning governments that are not of their own making. Global drops in commodity prices have made life difficult for all leaders in a region that has long been heavily based on extractivism. Whether it be oil in Venezuela, copper and zinc in Bolivia, or soybeans in Argentina, global downturns have caused problems for these governments which would have been just as pronounced had their right-wing rivals been in power instead. Dependence on exports of raw materials long predates the Pink Tide and moving out of this legacy would have been a challenge for any government.

Fifth, there is a tendency to characterize the policies of Pink Tide governments as “unsustainable.” The unsustainability argument appeals to basic intuition but is based on a false analogy—that a country’s financial situation is akin to a household budget. One could just as easily point out that with the resource wealth and technological sophistication of today’s world, there is clearly the means to provide for every person on planet earth many times over. That we are not doing so is not a failure of the left, but rather of capitalism and explicable largely in terms of the lasting legacy of colonialism and its lingering power structures. These pressures bear particularly heavily on Latin America given its long history of colonial oppression, not to mention its proximity to the major force in the world that has worked to maintain this status quo and long treated the region as its “backyard.”

Finally, therefore, it is important to consider the superpower’s lasting impact on the region. Meddling by the region’s hegemon and its internal allies has consistently caused damage to Pink Tide governments and their efforts at social reform. The United States’ aggressive stance against them is understandable given the threat they pose to its hemispheric dominance and the preeminence of its favored international organizations. Pink Tide governments have established new international bodies to realize the vision of the decades-long struggle for regional integration and provide a buffer against U.S. imperialism. The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are attempts to transcend Washington’s “free” trade orthodoxies and forge an alternative to the Organization of American States (OAS). The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) was founded to mediate regional conflicts and could in the future provide a framework for military cooperation or freedom of movement for citizens of member nations. The monetary fund BancoSur, though still in its nascent stages, is hoped to provide an alternative source of lending free from the dictates of the IMF and the World Bank. Taken together, these organizations have provided a hope that international relations can in the future be based more on international cooperation, rather than competition, and mutual, rather than solely national, interests. This phenomenon is essentially the expression in the international realm of what Roger Harris of the Taskforce on the Americas has described as “the threat of a good example.”[50]

Though it does not completely explain away the failures on the part of progressive governments, there has nonetheless been a clear pattern in terms of the treatment they have received from United States: the more successful Pink Tide governments have become at helping their citizenry and providing an alternative to Anglo-American neoliberalism, the greater the incentive has grown to crush this threat. When the sabotage is successful it provides a double benefit for the United States and its internal allies: in addition to making a different path unviable it also makes these policies appear as intrinsically unworkable, and thereby “proving” that the neoliberal status quo is the only way forward.

Clearly this ghost of Thatcher haunts the minds of mainstream media commentators, explaining both their lazy treatment of the facts and dogmatic commitment to making all news events fit the neoliberal agenda. What is truly important, therefore, is not so much the immediate electoral fortunes of the Pink Tide governments, but rather the efforts to defend the spirit of the movements on which they are based and the intellectual legacy of their principles. A heavy burden lies on those of us who strive to counter the new neoliberal offensive and the mendacity of its propaganda foot soldiers.

[1] Jackson Diehl, “Is Hugo Chavez a real threat to the U.S.?,” The Washington Post, September 27, 2010.

[2] Jackson Diehl, “Jackson Diehl: Will the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights be gutted?,” The Washington Post, March 3, 2013.

[3] Jackson Diehl, “Stop ignoring the implosion in Venezuela,” The Post and Courier, May 4, 2016.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Simon Romero and Jonathan Gilbert, “Election Will End Kirchner’s Presidency, Not Her Hold on Argentina,” The New York Times, October 24, 2015.


[7] Ibid.

[8] Rafael Ruiz Velasco, “The Jury Is In: Latin America’s 21st Century Socialism Has Failed,” The PanAm Post, May 19, 2016.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Marina Koren, “Brazil’s Impeachment Battle,” The Atlantic, April 17, 2016.

[11] Matt Sandy, “Brazil’s Senate Votes to Impeach President Dilma Rousseff: What Happens Now?,” Time magazine, May 12, 2016.

[12] “Brazil President Corruption Scandal,” Open Source Investigations.

[13] Daniela Blei, “Is the Latin American Left Dead?,” The New Republic, April 16, 2016.

[14] Antonio Sampaio, “How Brazil’s Left Destroyed Itself,” Foreign Policy, May 13, 2016.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] “As ‘pink tide’ ebbs, U.S. must engage: Guest Editorial,” Orlando Sentinel, May 17, 2016.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Jonathan Watts and Uki Goñi, “Argentina shifts to the right after Mauricio Macri wins presidential runoff,” The Guardian, November 23, 2016.

[20] “As ‘pink tide’ ebbs, U.S. must engage: Guest Editorial,” Orlando Sentinel, May 17, 2016.

[21] Rachael Boothroyd, “US Republican Senator Meets with Venezuelan Opposition in Caracas,” Venezuela Analysis, July 1, 2015.

[22] “As ‘pink tide’ ebbs, U.S. must engage: Guest Editorial,” Orlando Sentinel, May 17, 2016. -america-20160516-story.html

[23] Brian Naylor, “Greenspan Admits Free Market Ideology Flawed,”, October 24, 2008.

[24] Daniela Blei, “Is the Latin American Left Dead?,” The New Republic, April 16, 2016.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.


[28] Mark Weisbrot, “Why Ecuador Loves Rafael Correa,” The Guardian, February 15, 2013.


[30] James Suggett, “Venezuela Reduces Malnutrition in Children to 4%,” Venezuela Analysis, July 7, 2008.

[31] “Venezuelan Social Housing Project Delivers 700,000th Home,” TeleSur, April 19, 2015.

[32] “Venezuela, Uruguay Register Lowest Inequality in Latin America,” TeleSur, April 29, 2015.

[33] Antony Boadle, “Brazil’s Rousseff says extreme poverty almost eradicated,” Reuters, February 13, 2013.



[36] Sarah Wagner, “Women and Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution,” Venezuela Analysis, January 15, 2005.

[37] Michael Fox, “Women and Chavismo: An Interview with Yanahir Reyes,” NACLA.



[40] “Chile recognises 9,800 more victims of Pinochet’s rule,” BBC News, August 18, 2011.

[41] p. 8

[42] “Profile: Henrique Capriles,” BBC News, October 3, 2012.


[44] Tamara Pearson, “Ex Brazilian President Lula Supports Venezuela’s Maduro,” Venezuela Analysis, April 3, 2013.

[45] Jody McIntyre, “Who is Henrique Capriles Radonski?,” New Internationalist.

[46] Corina Pons, “Venezuela’s first transgender candidate to run for Congress,” Reuters, August 8, 2015.

[47] Daniela Blei, “Is the Latin American Left Dead?,” The New Republic, April 16, 2016.

[48] Benedict Mander, “Argentina rekindles its relationship with Wall Street,” The Financial Times, May 12, 2016.

[49] Astrid Prange, “Macri to take Argentina in a new, neoliberal direction,” Deutsche Welle, December 6, 2015.

[50] Roger Harris, “Venezuela: Supporting A Once and Future Revolution,” Counterpunch, June 26, 2013.

To download a PDF version of this article, click here.

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Brazil cabinet in trouble after leaks on anti-Rousseff plot

Press TV – May 24, 2016

Brazil’s interim government has been rattled by a leaked audio tape suggesting a plot against suspended President Dilma Rousseff, a scandal that forced a key minister in the new cabinet to resign.

Brazilian Planning Minister Romero Juca, a close ally of acting President Michel Temer, said Monday he is stepping down.

The decision came a day after a Brazilian newspaper published the transcript of a secretly-taped conversation between him and Sérgio Machado, a former senator.

Juca was caught on the tape saying Rousseff needed to be removed in an attempt to quash a vast corruption investigation that implicated him and other politicians, in what analysts call a first major political blow to the acting administration.

“We have to change the government to be able to stop this bleeding,” he was reportedly recorded saying.

Juca admitted earlier in the day that one of the two voices heard on the tape was his, but said his comments have been misinterpreted and taken out of context.

Later in the conversation, Juca says he talked about his plans to Supreme Sourt justices, who told him the corruption investigation and its media coverage would never come to an end as long as Rousseff remained in power.

The tape was recorded just weeks before the lower house of parliament voted to impeach Rousseff, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, which published chunks of a 75-minute conversation on Monday.

The impeachment bid was launched over allegations that the president manipulated government accounts before the last election. Rousseff, however, has denied the allegations.

Earlier this month, Brazil’s upper chamber of the National Congress voted to suspend Rousseff and begin an impeachment trial against her. Acting President Michel Temer stepped up from the post of vice-president and replaced her.

Reacting to the leaks, Rousseff said the tape proves that she has been a victim of a “political coup d’état.”

“This only confirms what we have been talking about for some time: it confirms the coup against Dilma,” said Paulo Rocha, the Senate leader for the Workers’ Party of Rousseff.

Ever since her suspension, the Latin American country has been the scene of nationwide demonstrations.

On Friday protesters took to the streets of Sao Paulo, calling for the resignation of Temer. They held banners and chanted slogans to support Rousseff.

May 24, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

UNASUR Head Says Rousseff Remains ‘Legitimate Leader’ of Brazil

The Secretary-General of the UNASUR Ernesto Samper spoke out against the impeachment efforts against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

Ernesto Samper, secretary-general of the Union of South American Nations. Photo – UNASUR
teleSUR | May 12, 2016

Ernesto Samper, secretary-general of the Union of South American Nations, told teleSUR in an exclusive interview that Dilma Rousseff remained “the legitimate leader” of the Brazilian people and maintains “democratic legitimacy” by virtue of having been re-elected in 2014.

During a press conference Thursday, Samper said that the decision of the Brazilian Congress to initiate an impeachment trial against President Dilma Rousseff was “compromising the democratic governability of the region in a dangerous way.”

“What has happened in Brazil, is a parliamentary political majority is challenging the citizens’ majority that expressed themselves in a clear way in favor of Rousseff,” said Samper referring to the 2014 re-election of President Rousseff.

He stopped short of calling the impeachment trial of Rousseff a rupture of democratic order, which would have triggered the possible suspension of Brazil from the regional bloc.

He added that the efforts by Brazilian politicians to oust Rousseff via impeachment were of “a political character” and criticized the lower chamber for failing to provide Rousseff with room to defend herself.

Samper called on the upper chamber, which will now preside over her trial, to respect due process.

“In this new phase, we ask that the right to defense for President Rousseff be guaranteed,” said Samper.

The secretary-general of UNASUR said it was “not their place to comment on the interim government (of Michel Temer).”

During an earlier event Wednesday, Samper said the greatest risk to governance in the region were groups who “engage in political work without political responsibility.”

The impeachment effort against Rousseff was largely driven by political, media, and economic elites in Brazil.

The support of the Globo media conglomerate was essential in stirring up support for impeachment, providing disproportional coverage of corruption allegations against members of the Workers’ Party and granting widespread media attention to right-wing rallies calling for Rousseff’s ouster.

Elements of the country’s judiciary—including Sergio Moro, the judge who is presiding over the investigation into a corruption scandal—played a lead political role, which Rousseff’s supporters said were inappropriate for a judge.

The country’s Supreme Court also refrained from intervening and stopping the coup plot, despite the fact that Rousseff was being put on trial without having been found guilty of any crime.

The impeachment effort against the ousted Brazilian president is based on allegations she manipulated budget accounts, a deed committed by most of her predecessors and by some of the very senators who voted for impeachment efforts to proceed.

The UNASUR chief previously warned that a potential impeachment scenario would set a “dangerous” precedent by criminalizing standard government budget management practices.


Dilma Rousseff Calls for Mobilizations to Overturn Coup

May 12, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Massive May Day rallies show support for Brazil’s Rousseff

The BRICS Post | May 2, 2016

Even as May Day protests were expected in cities across the world on Sunday, as economic crises and a rise in unemployment have fuelled anti-government sentiment, Brazil saw some radically different scenes.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Brazil’s main cities on International Workers’ Day in a show of support for the embattled President Dilma Rousseff.

Protests were seen in 16 of the country’s 27 states, called by Central Union of Workers (CUT) and numerous other labor and left-wing organizations.

The support for the embattled leftist leader Rousseff in Brazil was in sharp contrast to France which was on high alert after protests against planned labour changes this week sparked a frenzy, with cars set on fire and dozens of police officers being injured in Paris in clashes with protesters.

On Sunday, the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo saw the largest march with around 100,000 people, according to organizers, in three separate marches.

Rousseff appeared at the CUT march in Sao Paulo, alongside the mayor of Sao Paulo, Fernando Haddad, and the president of the Workers’ Party, Rui Falcao.

During a speech to the crowd, Rousseff announced a new policy measure, according to Brazilian daily O Globo, saying that her flagship social welfare program Bolsa Familia would be increased by 9 per cent.

Bolsa Familia is an ambitious cash-transfer scheme that has helped elevate millions of Brazilians out of poverty. Funds are channelled through the mothers of poor and working-class families.

The scheme was launched nationwide by President Lula’s administration in 2003 and its exemplary success has cemented support for Rousseff’s Workers Party among the poorest in Brazil.

On Sunday, Rousseff also announced that 25,000 new houses would be built within the Mi Casa, Mi Vida (My Home, My Life) program, the renewal of the contracts of foreign doctors in the Más Médicos (More Doctors) program, an increase in paternity leave for public officials and an adjustment to the rental tax to benefit workers.

In other cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Joao Pessoa, Recife and Salvador, Rousseff supporters marched, saying they would not allow her impeachment.

The Brazilian Senate is currently considering whether to open an impeachment trial against Rousseff, over alleged fiscal irregularities in 2014 and 2015.

May 2, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Is US-Funded Destabilization in Latin America Now Paying Off?

By Francisco Dominguez – teleSUR – April 14, 2016

Most progressive governments in Latin America find themselves under intense attack in what is evidently a well synchronized and well financed continental plan of destabilization.

Riots, street demonstrations, anti-corruption campaigns, protests about the domestic negative impact of the world economic crisis, general strikes, impeachment efforts, economic sabotage, and the like, have become the battle horses on which oligarchic forces in cahoots with Washington are riding to carry out “regime change.”

So far, conservative forces in Latin America have been successful in overthrowing President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras in 2009 and President Fernando Lugo in 2012 in Paraguay. Both presidents were ousted by oligarchic parliamentary majorities with mass support from middle class “civic associations”, in complicity with the judiciary, with the latter providing a veneer of legality.

The preconditions for “regime change” take, in some cases, years of careful preparation. This normally involves intoxicating media campaigns of demonization aimed to exacerbate political polarization to the maximum, through the instilling of fear, the staging of aggressive and sometimes violent, middle class mobilizations, the activating of many associations of civil society, and the setting up of, sometimes hundreds, of externally funded NGOs.

The aim is to question the legitimacy of the “target government” which usually involves the systematic discrediting of existing political institutions so as to foster chaos as the most conducive context for “regime change”. This strategy has been “theorized” in manuals that are mass-produced and get heavily promoted free of charge by establishment outfits.(1)

Despite the fastidiousness with which Washington and domestic perpetrators seek to enshrine their efforts at “regime change” in any one nation with the veil of legality, constitutionality, democracy promotion, regional autonomy, and virtuous legitimacy, always a powerful media apparatus is activated the world over, unleashing a barrage of negative reporting and demonization of the “target government” with one overriding message: the solution to created crisis is the ousting of the government.

The favorite demonization is to label the “target government” as a totalitarian dictatorship or in the process of becoming so, unless stopped. This is coupled with regular official condemnatory statements of the “target government” from the U.S. State Dept. and a barrage of U.S. official bodies.

In this “regime change” narrative, the ousting of the target government, being the cause of “civil society’s rebellion”, is fully justified. Thus for example the highly illustrative New York Times editorial of April13, 2002, on occasion of the brief ousting of Hugo Chavez: “Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator.”

The NYT explained that Chavez had been ousted “after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader.” The key, therefore, is to portray the “ruler” of the target government as a threat to democratic civilization, thus the NYT editorial justifies the 2002 coup in Venezuela because Chavez “battled the media and alienated virtually every constituency from middle-class professionals, academics and business leaders to union members and the Roman Catholic Church.(2)

So, 21st century “regime change”, different from the more traditional 20th century U.S.-orchestrated coup d’état, involves an intense “battle for hearts and minds”, an essential component of the strategy.(3) Thus, huge financial, political and cultural resources are mobilized to bring about hegemony for “regime change” in society and in all state and civil society institutions, going as far, in some cases, as even co-opting sections of the downtrodden. Most of this is “facilitated” with generous NED and USAID grants awarded over many years.

Faced with its own steady decline and the rise of radical governments in the post-Soviet era, the U.S. seeks to destabilize and oust governments through “color revolutions” as in Georgia, 2003 and the Ukraine, 2004 and 2014. Consequently the U.S. has substantially reorganized its architecture for intervention with the CIA becoming a mere appendix but with USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy and their many associated bodies taking center stage and receiving the lion’s share of the resources. The modality may have changed but U.S. foreign policy remains pretty much what it was: to remove governments it does not like. U.S. State Dept. and USAID budget is bigger than the GPD of many states, in 2016 it was US$50.3 billion.

Among the key U.S. institutions involved in “regime change” is the U.S. State Department, the body with the biggest authority, but there is also the United States Southern Command, the Congress and Senate Foreign Affairs Committees, and the CIA. Then further down the food chain, there are USAID, NED, Office for Transition Initiatives, American Center for International Labor Solidarity and American Institute for Free Labor Development, among the most important ones.

They work closely together and in the pursuance of the same aims, with the International Republican Institute, chaired by John McCain of CHECK; the National Democratic Institute, chaired by Madeline Albright; Transparency International; and Centre for International Private Enterprise. They all channel huge sums to support civil (and when possible) military subversion to create the conditions for “regime change”. They also channel huge sums to fund “civil society” associations, political parties, media outfits, NGOs, professional bodies, trades unions, think tanks, business, student groups and so forth.(4)

These institutions are the field commanders that coordinate the national detachments in every target country around a regional perspective so as to maximize the results of every push for “regime change” in any individual Latin American nation. We are increasingly seeing former right-wing Latin American presidents acting jointly to contribute to the destabilization of Bolivarian Venezuela, for instance.

Additionally there is a raft of “private” or “independent” bodies concerned chiefly with Latin America, the most important of which are Inter-American Press Association; Fundacion para el Analisis y los Estudios Sociales – led by Jose Maria Aznar; the Instituto Prensa y Sociedad; hundreds of Think Tanks; and possibly thousands of NGOs that share the “regime change” aim but that do it from a specialist angle. To all of this architecture of U.S. intervention, the overwhelming majority of the world corporate media play a decisive role, making any U.S. led intervention, a lethal political threat to the survival of any “target government”.

Most progressive governments in Latin America have been or are subjected to systematic levels of traumatic and deliberately created social, economic and political chaos, politics and culture, which in many cases it can go on for years. In Cuba for five decades, in Nicaragua (on and off) nearly four decades and in Venezuela for 17 years thus far, with no end in sight.

Venezuela’s Bolivarian government is currently in the crosshairs of U.S. destabilization plans and “regime change” efforts through an economic war that has the Bolivarian process on the ropes. In Argentina, three years of an intense dirty war against Cristina Fernandez’s government, aspects of which had sinister overtones, paid off when at the November 2015 presidential election, the Right’s candidate, Mauricio Macri, won the election by a small margin of 1 percent. In Ecuador, a police mutiny in September 2010, obviously instigated from abroad and with huge U.S. support, nearly succeeded in ousting the government with with President Rafael Correa miraculously escaping with life.

The destabilization against Ecuador continues with the “revolt” of civil society and very violent street protests. And in Brazil, through a very intense and thoroughly intoxicating media campaign, a “regime change” push seeking to oust the democratically elected and legitimate president Dilma Rousseff is underway, as we write it is not clear whether the effort to oust Dilma will be successful or not.

By substantially reducing export revenues that fund progressive social programs, the persistent world economic crisis significantly helps the “regime change” efforts by the U.S. and its allies. It may be just coincidence but the U.S. ambassador in Paraguay when elected president Fernando Lugo was ousted by a right-wing parliamentary coup, was Liliana Ayalde. The current U.S. ambassador in Brazil, where a right-wing parliamentary coup against elected president Dilma Rousseff is in progress, is Liliana Ayalde.

Bolivar once said that the United States appears to be destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty. Exactly, through the NED, USAID and others, the United States must stop destabilizing elected governments in the name of “democracy,” “good governance” and “national security.”

Francisco Dominguez is a senior lecturer at Middlesex University, where he is head of the Centre for Brazilian and Latin American Studies.

(1) See Gene Sharp, “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” Serpent’s Tail, 2011, first published in 2002.
(2) “Hugo Chavez Departs,” New York Times, April 13th, 2002
(3) The overthrow of Honduras President Manuel Zelaya, in June 2009, has led to the book with the very suggestive title “The Good Coup” (Mario Caceres di Iorio, CCB, Canada, 2010).
(4) See “Evolution of USAID and NED in Dominguez,” Lievesley and Ludlam, Right-Wing Politics in the New Latin America, Zed, 2011.

April 19, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rousseff loses impeachment vote in lower house of Parliament

The BRICS Post | April 18, 2016

The lower house of Brazil’s parliament on Sunday supported the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, with those seeking her ouster securing the support of two-thirds of votes.

The divide among the Brazilian people was demonstrated on Sunday by thousands of pro- and anti-impeachment protesters outside the Congress building where the vote was taking place.

As the votes trickled in favouring the impeachment bid, the ruling Workers Party conceded defeat.

“The fight is now in the courts, the street and the senate. We lost because the coup-mongers were stronger,” Jose Guimarães, the leader of the Workers party in the lower house, said.

While she has not been accused of corruption, the popularity of Rousseff’s government has plummeted owing to a graft scandal at state oil company Petrobras and the investment strike targeting Rousseff’s downfall.

The issue of impeachment will now be put forth in the upper house of parliament for the consideration of the senate. If over 50 per cent of senators support it, Rousseff will leave her post for 180 days, during which Brazilian lawmakers will consider her case.

During that period, the country will be led by Vice President Michel Temer. If senators disagree with the arguments of presidential impeachment initiators, Rousseff will return to her post. If Rousseff is found guilty, Temer will remain acting president until the 2018 elections.

Rousseff has accused her critics of mounting a coup. She released a speech on social media over the weekend stressing that “the sovereign will of the people is at stake. Social achievements and the rights of Brazilians are at stake.”

A Guardian report listed the corruption-tainted deputies who voted for the impeachment bid on Sunday condemning the Brazilian President.

Business lobbies have openly thrown their weight behind the ouster of Rousseff, as they look to Vice President and centre-right leader Temer to restore business confidence and growth.

According to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Temer, watched the impeachment proceedings alongwith bigwigs of his party, including Senator Romero Juca, with whom he is reported to have been planning his next move.

Rousseff watched the vote from the Alvorada Palace, the official presidential residence, together with former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and other allies.

April 18, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Anti-Dilma Media Lies Exposed as Brazil Congress Votes on Impeachment

teleSUR | April 17, 2016

In the week leading up to the vote in the Brazilian Congress on whether to open an impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff on Sunday, three out of the five top stories shared on Facebook were false, exposing some 200,000 people to anti-government misinformation, BBC Brazil reported.

According to a study by Brazil’s Research Group on Public Access to Information Policy accessed by BBC Brazil, the third, fourth, and fifth most-shared news stories between Tuesday and Saturday were actually rumors and not true news.

The top story of the three misinformation reports was headlined “Federal police want to know the motives for Dilma donating 30 billion reales to Friboi,” referring to the Brazilian meat-packaging giant. The piece, published on Pensa Brasil, was shared over 90,000 times on Facebook.

The second untrue story, headlined “Businessman orders pro-Dilma militancy to go armed on Sunday: ‘Shoot to kill,’” published on Diario do Brasil based on fabricated quotes, received over 65,000 shares on Facebook.

The third false story, and fifth top on Facebook during the week overall, was also published on Diario do Brasil based on a rumor about a warrant for the arrest of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva linked to the corruption scandal known as Operation Car Wash. The article, titled “Lula leaves Brasilia in a hurry learning of new phase of Car Wash, could it be an arrest warrant?” was shared on Facebook over 58,000 times.

The study comes as the latest example of Brazilian media distorting information and intervening in political processes to whip up support to have Rousseff removed from power.

Brazilian media outlets such as Globo, owned by and aligned with the country’s dictatorship-linked economic elite, have been criticized for “coup-mongering” and manipulating the country’s massive corruption scandals to sway public opinion in favor of the impeachment attempt in Congress.

Political opponents have latched onto widespread fraud to try to remove Rousseff from power in the name of rooting out corruption. But Rousseff is not accused of financial impropriety or personal enrichment, while lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, leaking the impeachment attempt, is embroiled in a multi-million dollar bribery scandal.

A recent poll by Datafolha found that 61 percent of Brazilians want Rousseff to be impeached, down from 68 percent in March, and that 77 percent support impeachment of Cunha.

As the lower house votes on Sunday on whether to move the impeachment process forward, 318 out of the 594 members of Congress face charges or are under investigation for corruption.

April 17, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment