Global Independent Analytics
Pedro Marin
Pedro Marin

Location: Brazil

Specialization: Latin America, Ukraine, North Korea

Blackmailing Brazil – Dilma’s impeachment odyssey

Goodbye ...or not?

If there’s something no one can’t deny Brazilians have it is the ability to “solve” conflicts through common agreement. Our fame of being friendly has stained our whole history. There are numerous examples: when the Portuguese colonizers came, the first thing they did was trading with natives – objects like mirrors were widely traded for gold – in order to both exploit the land’s abundance of natural sources and to use the native’s guidance.

The slaves, hijacked from Africa and exploited for centuries, were later “freed”, and had to struggle to get employed, as they were given nothing for their work. The military dictatorship, which began in the 60’s and was dissolved in the 80’s, was also the one to provide a broad amnesty for political prisoners.

Not much has changed since then. All this resulted in a mass massacre of natives and in their present struggle for land. Black people, who are a majority amongst the poor, still have to deal with racism in a daily-basis – that’s if police doesn’t kill them, of course. The relatives of those murdered or tortured during the dictatorship still have to swallow the fact that none of the torturers have been arrested, let alone convicted.

A party that passes itself as a left-wing and popular organization, and yet doesn’t break with this tradition, would eventually has to deal with hatred. And that’s where Brazilians are now: the Speaker of Brazil’s Lower House of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, who had refused to disclose his foreign bank accounts and is under investigation for corruption involving Petrobras, announced last Wednesday that he had accepted the procedure for issuing an impeachment against President Dilma Roussef who is accused of fiscal maneuver (Pedaladas fiscais) - using the state-owned Caixa Bank to pay for social programs  for the poor (Bolsa Família) instead from government funds.  Cunha’s declaration came three hours after Dilma’s Worker’s Party announced they wouldn’t go on with Cunha’s blackmails, and would vote against him in the Council of Ethics, which could lead to Cunha’s mandate revocation.

Cunha is a very interesting character. His absolute lack of sympathy has been erased by his undeniable political skills, which allow him to defend his donors interests, of course. In fact, Cunha had the second largest amount of donations among all deputies in 2014 – he managed to get 6.8 million reais (about 1.8 million dollars), mostly from mining companies, banks and contractors such as Spanish Santander Bank, Anglo-Australian Mineração Corumbaense Reunida and Grupo Rima. He is an evangelical Christian.

The Lower House Speaker is also known for maneuvering votes and for being an enemy of the workers and poor, as well as of minority groups. The three main projects he struggled to approve this year were the Law Project 4330, which would allow companies to expand their job outsourcing,  Proposed Amendment to the Constitution 171, that aims to reduce the legal age for imprisonment, so youngsters could be jailed (a very disturbing thing, considering that 28 minors are murdered everyday  in Brazil although only 0.9% of the crimes are commited by them), and a law that would legalize companies’ donations to campaigns.

Cunha is both a spoiled child, who won’t drop his desires untill they’re pleased, and a political genius that always makes others please him. But his reactionary odyssey began to fail last October, when it was found that he had irregular bank accounts in Switzerland and was accused of being involved in a bribery scheme in Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras. The opposition had no choice but  to set aside their support for Cunha.

The Worker’s Party, which was theretofore opposing Cunha, in its turn had to drop its issues with the Lower House Speaker. He had their support . But all that changed last Wednesday. The party now broke the political chains their own cowardice created, and stopped supporting Cunha, moving away from the Brazilian tradition of resolving problems via a mutual agreement. Then Cunha went forward with the process to impeach Dilma.

The problem is that even when falling, Cunha is still a genius. He managed to create a situation in which the Worker’s Party will end up being damaged, no matter what. First, the fact they announced they would vote against him showed that the party, which had betrayed all its campaign promises, will not stand by any thing.  A very interesting message for both the national burgeiouise and foreign players.

Secondly, thanks to Brazil’s dirty press, it may end up looking like Cunha’s mandate revocation was a retaliation for Dilma’s impeachment – after all, the Council of Ethics’ vote on Cunha will only take place on December 8.

It has been reported that opposition leaders met Cunha and agreed to support him. I don’t think  that’s going to happen. If opposition votes against Cunha, it will enable them both to get rid of his decayed image, leaving the newspaper’s headlines for Dilma’s impeachment only, and to claim how ethical they are in 2018’s Presidential elections, as they pursued both Dilma and Cunha.

It’s an undeniable fact that Cunha can’t stand for long: according to a November 30 poll, 81 percent of Brazilian citizens support Cunha’s removal. A poll from the same day showed 65 percent support Dilma’s impeachment.

But why is he so interested in Dilma’s overthrow? It’s pure despair. That’s the only road Cunha had left. The problem, of course, is that his desperate measures could actually lead to something. Brazil is currently facing severe economic crisis. It has the second worst-perfoming currency of the world. As a response to that, the Worker’s Party decided to go on with IMF’s disastrous budgets cuts and neoliberal policies, which, of course, resulted in a political crisis as well. It gave the poor a reason to support these colour-revolution-alike movements that emerged since the last elections. But masssive protests against Dilma may be held in the streets, just as they were in the past,  leading to a snowball effect.

It’s also worth to mention that Vice-President Michel Temer, of the same party in which Cunha is a member (PMDB), obviously would be interested in replacing Dilma. In fact, it was reported that he met with opposition leaders as well to discuss Dilma’s impeachment.

Whatever happens, the Worker’s Party has a decision to make: to align itself with the slaves, the natives, the tortured, or to keep trying to solve conflicts through negotiation. It was their hesitancy to act that created the current mess. If they choose to appease, there’s no doubt they won’t be given a second chance, whether it’s now or on the next elections.

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