In Brazil people live as in a trance, from one nightmare to the other —sometimes, all at once.
By Socorro Gomes*
The extreme-right group governing the country has advocated for arming its followers, who are instructed to react against opposition forces, social movements and the other Powers of the Republic, the Legislative and Judiciary. Demonstrators supporting the Bolsonaro Government are concentrated in front of the Government’s building, Palácio do Planalto, on the streets and in the squares of cities which are under quarantine and non-essential services are prohibited from opening.
The President of the Republic has declared in a ministerial meeting and public speeches that he aims to massively arm his followers, to intimidate the opposition and local authorities in cities and federal states when they adopt measures against those breaching the quarantine norms. Daily, Jair Bolsonaro threatens the democratic freedoms, showing contempt for life and ignoring the pandemic; when he speaks or adopts any economic measure, he promotes the scandalous delivery of the country’s most strategic sectors to the big, national and international finance capital.
The country is drowning in a serious political, institutional, economic, health crisis.
In Brazil the pandemic has already claimed the lives of about 30,000 people as of writing, a number that may multiply in a few weeks. The virus has contaminated over 400,000 people, an estimate that may be seven-fold higher, since cases are under-notified, which demonstrates the government’s total irresponsibility and lack of empathy or concern for the people’s protection. Wanting in common sense, the government is on a crusade against social distancing and on a debouched demoralizing campaign against the medical and scientific community and the authorities that promote the preventive measure.
Bolsonaro contradicts health authorities in his own cabinet, who do not last in the position —in only two months, two Health Ministers were sacked, one for defending social distancing and the other for opposing the uninformed use of chloroquine, the medicine which the president is advertising. In other words, in the eye of a pandemic, he successively sacked two ministers and appointed an Army general to run the Health Ministry, which is illogical, when the world and Brazil face the greatest health crisis.
The president also confronts the World Health Organization’s norms by opposing essential measures to prevent the contagious deterioration and give time to the minimal restructuration of the public health sector, which is shattered by the ultra-liberal policies dismantling the national State.
Jair Bolsonaro is also at war against the Federal Supreme Court (STF) because it has at least formally, as the guardian of the Constitution, defended the rule of law and republican principles. Recently, to inhibit the president’s authoritarian actions, the STF ordered the release of images of a ministerial meeting held on the 22nd of April due to Bolsonaro’s statements on the occasion, which were pointed out as archival evidence in the report-denunciation filed by former minister of Justice and Public Security and former judge in the Lava Jato operation Sergio Moro, a right-wing protagonist whom, as many others, is now in conflict with Bolsonaro supposedly because the ultra-centralizing president seeks to block investigations conducted by the Federal Police (the national judiciary police, a State and not a Government organ) about his sons’ criminal actions and decided to interfere in the organ, which is subordinated to Moro’s former Ministry.
But former-minister Moro is a nefarious character in the national political life whose main role was to contribute to the Jair Bolsonaro’s election in 2018 by condemning former President Lula to prison amidst the electoral campaign, in a blatantly politicized process. Lula, the greatest popular leader in the country, was then the favorite in the electoral process, according to opinion polls.
This is a sketch of the political situation in Brazil: the burst of political contradictions among right-wing sectors and Bolsonaro’s political isolation.
Bolsonaro’s ultra-right government was also installed in Brazil thanks to the US imperialist support, which promoted in the country, as it has done in many other countries in Latin American, the tactic of instrumentalizing law to promote a political offensive, known as lawfare. Such tactics was essential to overthrow President Dilma Rousseff in 2016 in a coup d’état disguised as a constitutional process, and to condemn and imprison former President Lula, in fraudulent judicial process, preventing him from running in the 2018 presidential elections.
The strategy, which overthrows progressive governments, aims to replace them with subjugated, neoliberal, anti-democratic, anti-people and pro-imperialist governments. It has been promoted by dovetailing US imperialist interests and the interests of local dominant classes, which have never accepted the people in power.
The hatred and prejudice against the Workers’ Party and other left-wing forces, and the dominant classes’ rejection of the project of the progressive, center-left government led by Lula, have set in motion the tragedy that may drown the Brazilian society in a civil war, provoked by a government in the service of the US imperialist agenda, in collusion with the organized crime and its militias in Brazil.
The blow against the Brazilian democracy is not dissociated from the US imperialist and brutal offensive against the other Latin-American peoples, victims of illegal unilateral economic sanctions, blockades, the theft of oil revenues and interventionist measures employing terrorist and mercenary groups, besides the threats of war.
The coup in Brazil also aimed at revoking the sovereign and respectful foreign policy of the Lula and Dilma governments, geared towards strengthening peace, dialogue, respect, cooperation and regional integration, which gave significant results by building instruments of regional power.
The progressive governments in place in Brazil between 2003 and 2016 represented historical advancements, such as the struggle against long-standing social inequalities, lifting from extreme-poverty 40 million people, eradicating hunger, bringing electrical power to every corner of the country and building policies for a wider public education in every levels, enabling the poorer to access education.
Jair Bolsonaro is the tool used by imperialism and the dominant classes’ most reactionary sectors to liquidate this project. His biography is that of an extremist advocate of the killing of opponents, of the torture and repression of left-wing forces and popular movements. Besides an apologist of torture, he is racist and violates the Constitution and the rule of law. His government also counts on the massive participation of retired and active generals.
The ultra-conservative Jair Bolsonaro shows his aversion to democracy, popular patriotism, dialogue and peace. He routinely threatens friendly nations, acting like Donal Trump’s foreman, having joined him to try and overthrow the legitimate government of Venezuela and to politically and ideologically attack Cuba and China, pushing Brazil to the edge of unforeseeable conflicts, burying the diplomatic traditions of cooperation and non-interference with which the country gained respect and friendship from nations all over the world.
The tragedy with which Bolsonaro and his team threaten the Brazilian people and neighboring peoples, with his reiterated offensive attitudes, has cast upon all of us, women and men committed to defending peace and democracy, the duty of resisting and fighting.
We have the duty of defending the decisions of the Community of Latin-American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which proclaimed Latin America and the Caribbean as Zone of Peace. Likewise, we defend the sovereignty and the right to self-determination of our nations and peoples, which are now under serious threat from the US imperialism and the local extreme-right forces that have its support.
To Brazilians, we must resist and face the great challenge of, in solidarity, protect each other from the Covid-19 epidemic, while we strengthen the unity of broad forces against neo-fascism, defending Brazil, democracy and peace in the country, in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in the whole world.
We will resist amidst the nightmares. For our dreams of freedom, independence, social justice and peace.
*Socorro Gomes is the president of the World Peace Council