JPIC - The Political Situation in Brazil
In 2014, the Brazilian people experienced the most polarised election of our young democracy – twenty-six years of a democratic regime – with, on one side the main opposition candidate, M. Aécio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party which governed Brazil during the period 1994-2002. On the other side was the candidate seeking re-election, Mrs Dilma Roussef, representing the Workers Party. She was a survivor of the horrors of the military dictatorship as she had been imprisoned and tortured over a period of two years during that dark time.
The electoral campaign was very vigorous and, finally, Dilma Roussef was re-elected President of the Republic of Brazil by a margin of three million votes. It was a close result given the Brazilian context.
Although the Workers’ Party had achieved success with the re-election of its representative to the most important position in the country, in what concerns the composition of the National Assembly there was a majority of deputies from parties that represent elite groups and who had linked up to form what is called the ’BBB Bench’ (Beef, Ball and Bible)’. The ’Beef’ is represented by the deputies linked to agricultural affairs, the ’Ball’ represented by those concerned with public order such as the police and the military, and the Bible has leaders with a fundamentalist profile, representatives of the neo-Pentecostal churches.
In this context, the federal deputy Eduardo Cunha was elected President of the Chamber of Federal Deputies (parliament), with the support of the majority of the conservative representatives described above, the ’BBB Bench’. It must be mentioned that Deputy Cunha has a history of involvement in corruption scandals since the 1990s. Following his investiture as president of the Federal Chamber he began to a persecution of the president with the aim of embarrassing the government of President Dilma Roussef.
At the same time, branches of the judicial power began one of the largest investigations ever seen in Brazil, operation Lava Jato. The investigations sought to dismantle corruption processes in place since the 1980’s (the period of the military dictatorship) within PETROBRAS, a state-owned Brazilian company that is one of the largest oil companies in the world.
In this context, manipulating the results of this investigation, some sectors of the judicial power and the Brazilian communications media used the reports of the investigation to begin a collective process of alienation. This had the aim of throwing the blame on the Workers’ Party and its officials, accusing them of putting in place an institutional process of corruption.
Nevertheless, the judiciary had itself already admitted that the corruption in Petrobras dated from the period of the military government in 1980 and that the governments formed by the Workers’ Party were those that had given the most independence and investigation structure to the Federal Police and the Judiciary.
Faced with this, and in order to conceal the truth, the communications media disclosed confidential elements of the investigation, seeking to incriminate only politicians linked to the Workers’ Party.
At this point, the president of the chamber of deputies, Eduardo Cunha, who had been mentioned several times by the informants of the Lava Jato operation as one of the main operators of the corruption schemes in Petrobras, allied himself with the centre-right parties of Brazilian politics in an attempt to initiate an impeachment process that had no constitutional basis.
The accusation against the President was based on a report of the Accounts Tribunal of the Union that had suggested the rejection of the Federal Government accounts for 2014 on the presumption that the president had committed an illegal action: "errors in tax information". However, what was done by President Dilma Roussef was done by all the Presidents elected after the re-introduction of democracy in the country. The same action is done by 18 state governors and several mayors.
What is happening in Brazil at present is an attempt to remove the democratically elected president, using supposedly legal proofs that mask a malevolent organisation having as sole aim the seizure of the Presidency of the Republic. The aim is to hinder the investigations concerning Lave Jato.
Politicians of various opposition parties are involved in this, including the president of the chamber of deputies. That is the reality.
At this stage, representtatives of the privileged class in Brazil are financing street demonstrations against President Dilma Roussef. With the opposite attitude, the social movements, the groups on the left, the universities, the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB) and various other sectors of the Catholic Church have occupied the streets of the country to demonstrate against the impeachment of President Dilma Roussef.
B.A. in Public Administration
Sr Marcia Ferreira, LSA
International JPIC Secretariat