As a Brazilian living in the US, I find the condescending tone of well-reputed sources like the New York Times odd, especially in regard to the extremely corrupt Brazilian president who was recently impeached. Corruption at the high tier of Brazil’s executive government is not just simple speculation, but it has been proven by months and months of diligent investigation of the Federal Police (Brazil’s FBI). Why then, the protective tone, the subtle approval of the incoherent and failed Brazilian presidency? Why the tacit agreement of the American and European media, with the feeble defense they make of themselves?
One reason comes to mind: ideological allegiance.
The presidential election in the US is near, and all of the last remaining three candidates, after a close look, are ideologically close to the Brazilian politicians who are implicated in this major political and criminal scandal. The same promises, the same worldview, the same defense of an all-powerful, semi-divine State as the solution for all societal evil. Lula, Brazil’s former “social-hero/president”, and Dilma, the impeached, are Brazilian versions of Bernie and Hillary with a hint of Trump. There is not a conceptual difference in their discourse, no moral difference in their defense of the twisted “means” to achieve the final goal of social equality at any cost.
In spite of the connivance of the media with the crimes of the government in Brazil, the facts speak louder than the numerous intentional cover-ups, articulated by the government itself and the national media. But it took us a painful 13 years and a country practically bankrupt to finally see the truth behind all the beautiful, and impossible I have to add, promises of the power-hungry socialist con artists.
The streets were calling for impeachment
The impeachment started to be conceptualized when the public learned about the covering up of the hole in the federal budget. That is a crime listed in the constitution as a reason for the impeachment of the president. Very carefully, two constitutional specialists wrote a judicial piece to present to congress. The piece was in the office of the speaker of the house for several months. The speaker himself, Eduardo Cunha, had been under investigation of being involved in the bribery system and other corruption charges. It seemed for some time that he was not going to have the moral and the political strength to take the impeachment process to a determination.
However, the pressure on the streets started to rise. Several nation-wide protests were organized and took over the nation. The historic, perhaps most important day was March 13th of this year. An immense number of people, some say over 5 million, left home to spend the entire day protesting on the streets of all the capital cities in the nation. The people were asking for change and for the impeachment.
The investigation of the Federal Police also contributed to the popular rage with the legal release of the legal recording of calls made by ex-president Lula to some of his acolytes, including Dilma. In one of the recordings, it became clear that they were plotting together to avoid the investigations. The Federal Police were very close to proving Lula’s participation in the corrupt system. His arrest was imminent. Dilma wanted to make Lula a state minister so, according to Brazilian law, he would not be required to respond to a common jury for his crimes but rather to the Supreme Court, to which he personally nominated all 11 judges.
When the recordings of the conniving conversations came to the public ear, the country convulsed. No more corruption, no more deception. Nobody, except for a small group of Jurassic intellectuals and media people, as well as the ones on the government payroll, was willing to put up with their game anymore.
The popular pressure caused congress to act, and the impeachment process was brought forward to be analyzed by a committee and finally voted on in a plenary section on May 18th. The whole process was scripted by the Constitutional and therefore legally binding. There was no coup like Dilma wants the world to think. There was no coup, no unfairness, just a very, very corrupt government being legitimately judged by the ones who have the legal and the political right to do so.
The problem did not start with Dilma’s presidency
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazilian president from 1995 to 2002 and recognized sociologist, extensively defended the “Dependency Theory” during his academic years. The Dependency Theory basically states: “A country is always poor because of ‘them’, not because of its own mistaken policies and government”—them being any other country in the international order that has more wealth, power, and resources than Latin America. The villain, according to the theory, was Europe and is currently the US.
When in government, FHC (as Cardoso is called by Brazilians) abandoned the isolationism and protected trades ideas of the Dependency Theory, and embraced neo-liberal economic policies that had the effect of catapulting Brazil out of poverty and economic inefficiency to a place of relevance in the international order. He paved the way to prosperity and economic opportunities for all.
Happy and economically thriving, Brazil elected a hard-core socialist much like Bernie Sanders and Hillary to succeed FHC. Lula Ignacio da Silva was a great symbol of the new Brazil; a poor man from the working class with a history of syndicalist militancy and an eye on the presidency since the beginning of his political career.
During the first term of his presidency, Lula kept the neo-liberal economic policies of FHC’s 8 years of government. The prosperity helped Lula finance more and more social programs, creating a mass of over 50 million people that were dependent on the government. It is important to point out that those programs did not reduce poverty. They created a system of socio-dependency on the benefits of the Father-State. What really reduced poverty was the economic dynamic that FHC’s liberalism created. More jobs, more competition, cheaper consumer goods, cheaper food.
Lula had a political formula that was hard to beat. Leave the market happy, reduce interventions, and give the people lots of free benefits, nurturing a dependency that ensured electoral loyalty. He followed it for 4 years. During his second mandate, things started to change. The plan of the Worker’s Party (PT) led by Lula was not just being successful at the presidency. They wanted power large enough to control all parts of government and all national institutions long enough to promote radical Marxist control over all South American governments. This plan is now crumbling down before their eyes all over the continent.
Waiting for a happy end
The impeachment process was approved by Congress, and then by the Senate. Now it is still being processed for a second time by the Senate, the institution responsible for the final verdict. There was no cue, there was no hurry, the whole process was excruciatingly slow but fully constitutional. The Brazilian political institutions are solid, and we hope that they will keep standing firm in spite of the horrible corruption it has suffered for the last 13 years. Do not believe Chomsky and other commentators that are intentionally distorting the truth to “save face”. The president will receive her final sentence in the month of August, and we hope to be rid of the 13-year plague of radical leftism and learn to search for different solutions for our country when she finally steps down.
Braulia Ribeiro is an ex-socialist Brazilian now living in New Haven, CT. She is an MA student at Yale University as well as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Aberdeen. Prior to her life in the US, she was a volunteer social worker and missionary in the Amazon Region, where she and her husband founded a missionary non-profit, serving over 30 Amazonian tribes. She was the president of one of the largest missionary organizations in Brazil (JOCUM- Jovens Com Uma Missão) for 4 years. In the US she began to question her Marxist background and through further study embraced a different worldview. She has a BA in Ethnolinguistics from the University of the Nations and an MA degree in Descriptive Linguistics from the Universidade Federal de Rondônia.
Photo Credit: Demonstration for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff on April 12, 2015. By Juliana Baratojo, via Flickr.