Dilma Rousseff Calls for Mobilizations to Overturn Coup/ Regime Change: Now, in Brazil, the Battle for Democracy is Fought on the Streets
Ousted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday called on Brazilians to defend their country’s democracy and mobilize against the coup that saw her suspended from office.
“I call for the people to remain mobilized, together, in peace … It is a fight we are going to win, it depends on all of us, let’s show the world the millions of people who defend democracy in our country,” said Rousseff in her first comments from the presidential palace since the country’s Senate voted to proceed with impeachment proceedings.
Rousseff, who as a young activist was arrested and tortured for her efforts to organize against the military dictatorship that previously ruled Brazil, said she “never thought I would have to fight against another coup in our country.”
The ousted president walked out of the presidential palace to a crowd of thousands of anti-coup and pro-democracy demonstrators.
“I am ready to resist through all legal means,” Rousseff told the crowd who answered with chants pledging to resist as well.
“Over the course of my life, like all women, I confronted many challenges, now what hurts most is this situation that I’m living now, the pain of injustice,” said Rousseff.
teleSUR’s correspondent said the Brazilian president dissolved her government after the Senate voted to put her on trial.
She thanked all those who had been marching to denounce the coup in the lead up to the Senate’s vote on Wednesday.
“I am certain that together we are going to remain united, mobilized, and in peace,” concluded Rousseff.
Rousseff Dissolves Government
The ousted president dissolved her government after the Senate voted to proceed with an impeachment trial, requiring her to relinquish power for a period of 180 days, teleSUR’s correspondent in Brazil Andre Vieira reported.
Rousseff condemned the actions of the Congress, which she called a “coup” against her government, she also said she would “fight with every legal instrument at my disposal to ensure I complete my mandate on Dec. 31, 2018.”
Her vice president, Michel Temer, became the interim president once he received notification from the Senate that the impeachment trial would proceed.
WATCH: The Daily Brief: Rousseff to Address Nation Ahead of Suspension
Social movement leaders have pledged to remain ina state of permanent mobilization, according to Guilherme Boulos, national coordinator of the Homeless Workers Movement.
Widespread protests are expected on Thursday calling for the arrest of Eduardo Cunha, the former speaker of the lower house of Congress who spearheaded the impeachment process against the president, and for the ouster of government of Michel Temer, which assumed power after Rousseff’s ouster.
“There are two main ideas: first, to denounce the institutional coup … and demand the departure of Temer: he was elected to be vice president, not president. Second, ask for the arrest of Eduardo Cunha, whose corruption is proven,” said Laryssa Sampaio from the Popular Youth Uprising, which is organizing protests.
The coup has been consummated. Brazil now joins Honduras and Paraguay in the list of countries that Imperialism used as a giant laboratory to test, with undoubtable success, their technique to destitute neo-developmentalist governments.
This recipe is labeled as “moderate” by some analysts that are not experiencing its results in their own flesh, and for those who compare it with the inhuman dictatorships that these countries suffered a few decades ago. In fact, they are brutal, like capitalism is in essence.
In Argentina, for example, in just a few months, 120,000 workers were laid off, as inflation increased dramatically, crushing hopes for a better future. This onslaught in Latin America has to be analyzed in a broader context: it’s part of the same strategy that the heads of Washington DC implemented in the Middle East, destroying one country after the other, until they found out they could attain the same results with more ease in Latin America.
What these coups have in common is that they were propelled by a reaction against the most basic reforms in favor of the people. Each and every one of the heads of state that the coups destituted was targeted only because they began to design some social policies for the sectors that the neoliberalism of the 90s had, plain and simply, thrown into exclusion. Their measures weren’t even revolutionary, such as nationalizing foreign commerce, or making the agrarian reform. On the contrary, the case of Brazil pathetically shows that it didn’t matter to them that Dilma did all types of concessions and made alliances with their side that derived in austerity policies that were clearly in line with the neoliberal project. The bourgeoisie kept attacking from every flank and eroding, day after day, the Workers’ Party (PT).
Unlike the Argentine right-wing and media, which managed to get Mauricio Macri democratically elected, their Brazilian peers forcefully clawed their way into the Presidential house by using the institutions as weapons. Their candidate, Michel Temer, has enough criminal records to enter the Itai Prison instead of the Planalto Palace. But the increasingly discredited bourgeois democracy will allow him to attempt a plan for adjustment that has been plotted by the think-tanks of the opposition.
In fact, it’s announced that the infamous people that were in power with former neoliberal president Fernando Henrique Cardoso will return, and that officers and allies of the IMF and the World Bank will arrive in the country hand in hand with local right-wing leader Aécio Neves. Of all these comebacks, the most disturbing one is that of Henrique Meirelles, who was in charge of the Central Bank under Lula’s Presidencies, between 2003 and 2011, when the economy was peaking unlike these days. Meirelles, a neoliberal whose tendencies were muzzled under Lula’s administration, currently is an executive for big transnational companies and trusted by members of the US Republican Party, will promote in the Ministry of Finance a policy of austerity and indebtment, following the steps that his colleague Joaquim Levy began under Dilma’s administration.
Encouraged by their “victory”, in the next six months without Dilma in power, the Brazilian right is going to try to avoid her comeback (which at this point seems unlikely), and also avoid that Lula da Silva, the only charismatic leader of the working class, holds any chance to win future elections.
However, although the right thinks their dreams of privatizations, layoffs and devaluation are going to soon come true, there’s a factor that they must take into consideration: it’s the enormous popular resistance that for several months has taken over the streets of Brazil. Those workers and peasants that stood up with determination against the austerity policies of former Minister Levy and the pro-agribusiness policies of former Minister Katia Abreu —both of them members of Dilma’s government.
They block roads, they man the barricades, they light up when they hear their peers chanting slogans for “land, housing, work!”, they march for kilometers to denounce that the people of Brazil has been waiting for years for unfulfilled promises. They are workers that chose against occupying seats and defend the class autonomy, precisely to not drown the revolutionary ideas they possess in the sewers of bureaucracy and politicking. That’s the real Brazil, with its Landless and its Homeless, with its metal workers from the ABC union or the combative Mercedes Benz workers, who cried out loud that “there will be no coup”. They are the grassroots from which the resistance will emerge from today on, against this tragic May 12, and will try to counteract Temer’s and his partners’ will to govern the country.