Speaking to Tariq Ali, Alfredo Saad Filho, Professor of Political Economy, SOAS, describes the situation in Brazil nearly one year after the coup to remove former President Dilma Rousseff from office, revealing three key targets for which the neoliberal regime had staged this coup.
As he pointed out:
He [Michel Temer] is the most unpopular president in recorded history in Brazil. He has nothing to show for himself except survival, but for one thing. He has managed to implement the program of the coup. And the program of the coup was, first of all, change the oil exploration law to weaken Petrobras, the state oil company and allow transnational companies to exploit oil in Brazil.
They have also changed labor law. Labor law has been essentially abolished to the point that the ILO [International Labour Organization] and trade unions complain that currently, the law is essentially legalizes slavery. It is possible to have slaves in Brazil today in legal terms because the workers have been left bereft of almost any form of protection.
And the government has a third commitment, which is a change in social security law and pensions, to restrict pensions and cut the rights of workers.
This is what they wanted to achieve by removing Dilma Rousseff and the PT [Workers' Party] from office, and they are doing it.
Filho also said that Lula da Silva, the predecessor of Rousseff in the presidency and the PT party, is still the most popular politician in Brazil, despite the media attacks. He also claimed that the accusations against him were staged to get him out of the political game for good.
In July, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) reported that:
The decision by Brazil’s corruption-riddled parliament to eliminate a swathe of protections in the country’s labour laws will impoverish millions of people and leave workers completely at the mercy of employers who will have unilateral power to set wages, holiday entitlements, working hours and bonuses.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said, “This unprecedented dismantling of labour law is a recipe for corporate greed, with a small group of powerful oligarchs who want to turn back the clock to Brazil’s feudal past set to reap huge profits at the expense of ordinary working families. These same industrialists were the cheerleaders for the illegitimate ouster of President Dilma. They are the main beneficiaries of expected cuts to pension entitlements and of the 20-year austerity law, which deprives Brazil’s poor of social security, health and decent education.”
Brazil’s most popular politician, former President Lula Da Silva, has meanwhile been given a 9½ year prison sentence by populist judge Sergio Moro, despite the lack of any real evidence to justify the judgement. Moro is a frequent guest on the Globo media conglomerate, which is owned by the Marinho family, one of the country’s richest families with combined wealth of over USD 10bn.
As described previously, the constitutional coup against Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, as well as, the usual actions of the Right opposition in Venezuela against Nicolás Maduro with the help of the US finger, are far more obvious.
The special weight of these countries, together with Argentina, in Latin America, is extremely important for the US imperialism to regain ground in the global geopolitical arena. Especially the last ten to fifteen years, each of them developed increasingly autonomous policies away from the US close custody, under Leftist governments, and this was something that alarmed the US imperialism components.
Brazil appears to be the most important among the three, not only due to its size, but also as a member of the BRICS, the team of fast growing economies who threaten the US and generally the Western global dominance. The constitutional coup against Rousseff was rather a sloppy action and reveals the anxiety of the US establishment to regain control through puppet regimes. This is a well-known situation from the past through which the establishment attempts to secure absolute dominance in the US backyard.
It appears that after Greece, Brazil is becoming a champion in entering rapidly the neo-feudal era through the violent termination of Democracy by the neoliberal regime.