Political update in defense of the democratic rule of l …

The strategy of the Brazilian right maneuvering since 2014 now has four goals: overthrow President Dilma Rousseff; stop Lula from bidding for the presidency in 2018; make the Workers Party (PT) illegal and attack the whole of the left; and liberalize the country’s economy for the multinational companies in the construction and oil industries and submit the country to the rule of financial/monopolistic capital.
In March 2014 a police operation dubbed “Car Wash” begun to investigate the alleged use of a gasoline station chain in Brasília for money laundering purposes came to a suspect, a black-market dollar dealer, who lived in Curitiba, the capital city of the state of Paraná. Due to this individual’s involvement in the case, a Paraná State Federal Judge, Sergio Moro, took it upon himself to conduct the inquest with the support of state prosecutors and members of the Federal Police.
The investigations and confessions by several people over 2014 unveiled a corruption scheme whereby big construction companies and suppliers paid kickbacks to former Petrobras directors, some with the state-controlled oil company for more than 20 years. During the 2014 electoral campaign, the allegations or confessions by some plea bargainers were widely used by the opposition against the PT administration, government coalition parties, and President Dilma. In spite of all the media-led campaign against the PT and the government, President Dilma was reelected.
Refusing to accept electoral defeat, the opposition tried to challenge the result while the press increased the noise; the right wing’s judicial sectors, Sergio Moro included, besides sectors of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office and Federal Police, started to release the hypothesis that the bribes paid by the construction companies and suppliers to Petrobrás had funded the PT’s electoral campaigns. Yet, the companies that made donations to the PT, in conformity with the Brazilian electoral law, also donated equivalent sums to the main opposition candidate, Aécio Neves, defeated by Dilma. Therefore, according to this absurd hypothesis, the sums donated by these same companies to the PT would be fraudulent while the funds donated to the opposition would be ‘clean’ (Read the Dossier in Defense of the PT at http://www.pt.org.br/confira-a-integra-do-documento-em-defesa-do-pt-da-verdade-e-da-democracia).
The tactic adopted by the judge, the prosecutors, and the Federal Police has been to arrest all suspects and keep them in prison until they have decided to collaborate in exchange for leniency. That is, imprisonment has become ‘torturing a prisoner’ until they talk. So far, several businessmen have made collaboration agreements and confessed the alleged participation of other characters who, even without evidence, are also detained, so the confessions and collaboration agreements keep growing. Among those detained who made no agreement are former PT treasurer João Vaccari Neto, in prison for almost a year, having so far been refused a habeas corpus plea to, at least, defend himself against the charges and appeal in liberty, and ex-Minister José Dirceu.
Another legal arbitrariness was committed on March 4, when Federal Police officers detained and, actually, kidnapped ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to force him to make a deposition in their office inside São Paulo’s Congonhas Airport. The law is crystal clear – forcing someone to give deposition can only be justified when they refuse to do so, which was not the case, as Lula had voluntarily given depositions before on three different occasions. But what they wanted was to involve him and spark yet another media show based on the vague accusation that he would have favored some construction companies’ business deals after he left the government. Another intended goal of the media oligopoly with this action was to politically strengthen the right-wing demonstrations that took place on March 13.
The PT, PCdoB, and other leftist parties’ militants reacted strongly, as did labor, the social movement, the landless workers, LGBT activists, and women’s movements, while we witness an escalation in tensions between the left and the coup-seeking right wing in the country. Sectors of the latter are even funded by national and transnational corporations, as well as by conservative American foundations.
The president is once again hounded by the right wing’s attempt to overthrow her by filing an impeachment resolution with Congress and with the Higher Electoral Court. In an attempt to strengthen her government, President Dilma Roussef appointed former President Lula as her Chief of Staff, given his outstanding political coordination capacity and profound legitimacy he enjoys with the Brazilian people. Yet, the Judiciary’s arbitrary and biased investigations are seeking to involve the ex president in the accusations with the purpose of preventing him from being sworn in and suspending his political rights (Read the Statement of Facts: In defense of President Lula at http://www.pt.org.br/blog-secretarias/statement-of-facts-about-lula/ and http://www.pt.org.br/blog-secretarias/memorial-defensa-respuestas-relativas-al-presidente-lula)
Last March 18, demonstrations by the people’s democratic camp, coordinated by the Frente Brasil Popular, a front bringing together the PT, PCdoB, national trade union central CUT, the landless Workers Movement (MST), numerous social movements, totaling over 60 organizations, rallied nearly 2 million people all over Brazil in defense of Democracy, President Lula, and Against the Coup (Read more at http://www.pt.org.br/brasil-tem-dia-de-protestos-pela-democracia-acompanhe-aqui/).
What we are going through in Brazil is a most exceptional situation with violations of the Democratic Rule of Law, since the arbitrary acts committed by sectors of the Judiciary branch and of the Federal Police so far have been the following: selective leakage of investigations under secrecy when these harm the PT, President Dilma, or ex-President Lula; illegal phone taps; denying habeas corpus so that the defendants may not seek to defend themselves in liberty as a means to pressure them to confess; forcing the accused to give deposition even if complying with justice; decision by the Supreme Court that the defendants may start to serve their sentences after being tried by two collegiate bodies only, in stark contrast with the Constitution, which establishes that incarceration only shall start after all appeals have been exhausted; and the politically motivated statements made by several of those conducting the process against the PT, Dilma, and Lula, thus revealing utter bias in the investigations.
This is happening because the 1988 Constitution designed to remove the authoritarian legal framework of the military dictatorship failed to set forth changes in the Judiciary branch’s apparatus, a branch that still lacks the checks and balances already in place in the other two branches of government. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office was created at that time to defend the citizens against any arbitrary act by the State, but turned out today to be an actor against the State or, rather, against democracy, and against the left when it is at the head of the government.
Concerning the economic aspects, there are bills being considered to liberalize the exploration of Brazil’s deep water oil reserves, the pre-salt, and to keep the construction companies charged by Operation Car Wash from signing public works contracts, which has contributed dramatically to the bankruptcy of smaller companies and the interruption of activities, thus resulting in increased unemployment. There is talk already of offering contracts to foreign construction companies and acquiring imported equipment for Petrobrás.
Therefore, what is happening in Brazil today is not just a corruption investigation, which would certainly have all our support, but is clearly a very serious internal political conspiracy with international connections aimed at returning the government and the institutions to the neoliberals.
In face of this context, it is imperative to resist and fight against the coup, uniting and rallying broad democratic and progressive forces, labor, and the youth, women’s, and grassroots’ movements. As it is imperative to defend President Dilma Rousseff’s term of office, democratically and legitimately won in the polls, pushing it forward to keep on deepening policies that will lead to the strengthening of the democratic and social advances that have been accomplished since the first Lula administration and to the undertaking of democratic structural reforms.
Workers Party (PT)