New Political Earthquake in Brazil: is it Now Time for Media Outlets to Call this a “Coup”?

Glenn Greenwald – The Intercept, 05/23/2016

Brazil today awoke to stunning news of secret, genuinely shocking conversations involving a key minister in Brazil’s newly installed government, which shine a bright light on the actual motives and participants driving the impeachment of the country’s democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff. The transcripts were published by the country’s largest newspaperFolha de São Paulo, and reveal secret conversations that took place in March, just weeks before the impeachment vote in the lower House took place. They show explicit plotting between the new Planning Minister (then-Senator) Romero Jucá and former oil executive Sergio Machado – both of whom are formal targets of the “Car Wash” corruption investigation – as they agree that removing Dilma is the only means for ending the corruption investigation. The conversations also include discussions of the important role played in Dilma’s removal by the most powerful national institutions, including – most importantly – Brazil’s military leaders.

The transcripts are filled with profoundly incriminating statements about the real goals of impeachment and who was behind it. The crux of this plot is what Jucá calls “a national pact” – involving all of Brazil’s most powerful institutions – to leave Michel Temer in place as President (notwithstanding his multiple corruption scandals) and to kill the corruption investigation once Dilma is removed. In the words of Folha, Jucá made clear that impeachment will “end the pressure from the media and other sectors to continue the Car Wash investigation.” It is unclear who is responsible for recording and leaking the 75-minute conversation, but Folha reports that the files are currently in the hand of the Prosecutor General. The next few hours and days will likely see new revelations that will shed additional light on the implications and meaning of these transcripts.

The transcripts contain two extraordinary revelations that should lead all media outlets to seriously consider whether they should call what took place in Brazil a “coup”: a term Dilma and her supporters have used for months. When discussing the plot to remove Dilma as a means of ending the Car Wash investigation, Jucá said the Brazilian military is supporting the plot: “I am talking to the generals, the military commanders. They are fine with this, they said they will guarantee it.” He also said the military is “monitoring the Landless Workers Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST)),” the social movement of rural workers who support PT’s efforts of land reform and inequality reduction and have led the protests against impeachment.

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