Brazil Stands up for Cuba,Venezuela

Andres Oppenheimer -Miami Herald, 05/18/2016

When I first read that Cuba and Venezuela are leading a diplomatic offensive against Brazil following the constitutional ouster of suspended leftist president Dilma Rousseff and the transfer of power to interim president Michel Temer, my first reaction was that it was a joke.

It’s certainly ironic that Cuba — a dictatorship that hasn’t allowed a free election, political parties or even one independent newspaper in more than five decades — even dares to criticize Brazil’s democracy over Rousseff’s suspension through a series of congressional steps in strict adherence to the Brazilian constitution.

And it’s just as ironic that Venezuela, which has become a de facto regime by refusing to accept the opposition-controlled National Assembly’s laws and by imprisoning opposition leaders, claims against all evidence that Rousseff’s suspension was a “right-wing coup.”

There Is No Coup in Brazil, Says US Representative for OAS

Marcelo Nino – Folha de S. Paulo, 05/19/2016

The US ambassador for the OAS (Organisation of American States) dismissed the notion that a coup is underway in Brazil. He rejected the concern voiced by member states such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua in the plenary of the organisation this Wednesday (18).

This is the first time that the American government has openly dismissed a notion that impeachment of suspended President Dilma Rousseff was a coup d’etat, as she has claimed. Until now, the US’s position was one of cautious reticence, although it had constantly reiterated the conviction that the impeachment case respected democratic norms.

Michael Fitzpatrick, the American ambassador, intervened to contradict the claim made by the Bolivian and Venezuelan representatives that the impeachment was a coup.

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Brazil: Thousands demonstrate against interim government in support of suspended Dilma Rousseff

Alex Wheeler – International Business Times, 05/18/2016

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Brazil, protesting against the interim President Michel Temer, in support of the suspended leftist president Dilma Rousseff, who is due for trial on charges of manipulating the country’s finances in order to gain electoral advantage.

Demonstrators marched through downtown Rio de Janeiro, waving placards which read ‘Temer out’ and ‘Coup no, culture yes’ as they protested against what they say is an illegitimate interim government which took over from President Dilma Rousseff after she was ousted on 12 May.

The new cabinet has been heavily criticised for being made up exclusively of white men, and for folding a ministry of women, racial equality and human rights into the far-bigger ministry of justice, led by a man.

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Impeachment is ruled out as a “Coup D’état”

Daniel Buarque, Folha de S. Paulo, 05/15/2016

The removal of president Dilma Rousseff is not considered a coup d’etat by the researchers who created one of the most complex database about governments which are illegally overthrown.

Even though Dilma believes the impeachment process is a coup against her government, scholars argue that the absence of an infringement in the constitution classifies her removal as legal under Brazilian law.

“Impeachment is not a coup. The idea that there is a coup in Brazil is nonsense” said the political scientist, Clayton Tyne from the University of Kentucky to Folha de São Paulo, a Brazilian newspaper.

He is one of the authors from the database which collects information about all the coup d’etats (and coup attempts) in the world since 1950. He said that Dilma’s impeachment does not classify as a coup.

Thyne started his study, “Coups in the world” with his colleague Jonathan Powell, from the Central University of Florida. The collection of data started originally in 2011 in the academic article, “Global Instances of Coups from 1950-Present” and has been updated since then.

In total, more than 1,200 probable coups were evaluated in 94 countries since 1950. The majority of them occurred in Africa (36%) and in the Americas (32%) and only 2.6% in Europe. The majority of the coups d’etats in the world took place between 1960 and 1970.

Among the most current cases, the study did not consider the overthrow of president Fernando Lugo, of Paraguay – where they consider four coups occurred in the country since 1950, given that the last one took place in 2000.Yet, the fall of Manuel Zelaya, of Honduras in 2009 is considered as an illegal overthrow.

 

Definition

Even though there is not an universal consensus about the definition of a coup d’etat, its association to an illegal process is one most frequently mentioned characteristic.

The political scientists conducted a study of the 14 most relevant explanations in the academic bibliography adopted as a concept of “illegal attempt by military or other state elites to overthrow the Executive power.”

“I don’t see sufficient evidence of any illegal activity taking place in the impeachment process in Brazil,” explained Thyne. “ Some Jurists might argue that the rules are being forced in some sense, but it is a necessary rupture from the constitution to have something considered as a coup. There has to be an objectively illegal activity.”

The evaluation that the impeachment process is legal does not imply the support for impeachment. “ I am not saying that the Brazilian government should or should not impeach the president, I am simply saying that if the process is conducted inside constitutional laws, it is not a coup.”

He emphasized that impeachment is not something bad or good, but it is one way to remove governments from power. “It is in the constitution. It is part of the democracy”. According to the researcher, the accusation of the coup is frequent in cases of governments that are removed from power, even if the proceedings are legal.

The historic study of coup cases indicates that they tend to have devastating consequences for the countries since it can generate an authoritarian rule.

In rare cases, however, Thyne says it is possible that the overthrow of a government open new opportunities for democracy, which is seen in the 2009 putsch case in Honduras.

The database is not going to consider Dilma’s impeachment, but has evaluated 20 coups attempts in Brazil, where six have been recognized as illegal ruptures.

According to research, there has been a coup in 1955, failures in attempts to power in 1959 and 1963, two coups in 1964 and another one in 1969.

See original article here…

Translated by Julia Fonteles

Brazil’s Graft-Prone Congress: A Circus That Even Has a Clown

Andrew Jacobs – The New York Times, 05/15/2016

One of Brazil’s longest-running spectacles features a dizzying array of characters whose theatrics appear on millions of television sets most nights.

The ever-changing cast of 594 includes suspects accused of murder and drug trafficking, aging former soccer players, a judo champion, a country music star and a collection of bearded men who have adopted roles as leaders of a women’s movement.

The cast even includes a clown who goes by the name Grumpy.

But these are not actors. They are the men and women who serve in the national legislature.

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Dilma Rousseff: Brazilian congress votes to impeach president

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 04/18/2016

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff suffered a crushing defeat on Sunday as a hostile and corruption-tainted congress voted to impeach her.

In a rowdy session of the lower house presided over by the president’s nemesis, house speaker Eduardo Cunha, voting ended late on Sunday evening with 367 of the 513 deputies backing impeachment – comfortably beyond the two-thirds majority of 342 needed to advance the case to the upper house.

As the outcome became clear, Jose Guimarães, the leader of the Workers party in the lower house, conceded defeat with more than 80 votes still to be counted. “The fight is now in the courts, the street and the senate,” he said.

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Facing Impeachment Vote in Brazil, Dilma Rousseff Accuses Vice President of Conspiracy

Reuters – NY Times, 04/13/2016

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil said on Tuesday that her vice president was orchestrating a conspiracy to topple her, as efforts to impeach her gained momentum in the National Congress.

Aided by her mentor and predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Ms. Rousseff scrambled to secure enough support from a dwindling array of allies to block impeachment in a lower-house vote set for Sunday that analysts predicted she would lose.

A congressional committee voted on Monday by a larger-than-expected margin to recommend that she be impeached for breaking budget laws to support her re-election in 2014, a charge Ms. Rousseff says was trumped up to remove her from office.

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Brazil awaits outcome of key step in Rousseff impeachment

BBC, 04/11/2016

Brazil is awaiting the outcome of a congressional committee vote – a key step in the process to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.

The 65-member committee will decide whether to recommend impeachment over allegations she manipulated government accounts to hide a growing deficit.

Police in Brazil are preparing for protests in the capital, Brasilia.

A two-metre-high (6.5ft) metal barricade is being built to keep anti- and pro-government protesters apart.

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Brazil’s Middle-Class Revolt

Mary Anastasia O’Grady – Wall Street Journal, 04/03/2016

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff charged last week that the effort in Congress to impeach her is a “coup” attempt launched by her political adversaries. “I want tolerance, dialogue and peace,” Ms. Rousseff of the Workers’ Party (PT) averred in a speech to supporters. “And that will only be possible if democracy is preserved.”

Framing the effort to remove her from office as undemocratic is Ms. Rousseff’s best hope for political survival—if you don’t count buying allies in Congress. It’s also ridiculous.

The impeachment petition has been in Congress since last year. But on Tuesday the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) quit the president’s governing coalition, raising the odds that it will go forward. The PMDB is reacting to a popular outcry against the president. She is alleged, among other things, to have violated the country’s fiscal responsibility law with stimulus spending during her re-election campaign, then of using creative accounting to hide it.

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Brazil is on the brink of unraveling

Editorial Board – The Washington Post, 03/25/2016

AS PRESIDENT Obama traveled from Cuba to Argentina this week, he literally passed over Latin America’s most momentous political developments — which are not the U.S. rapprochement with the Castro regime or the abruptswitch from leftist populism to center-right liberalism in Buenos Aires, but the huge crisis of corruption and political legitimacy in Brazil.

For more than a year, the world’s fifth-largest nation has been stricken byrecession and convulsed by investigations into kickbacks involving the state oil company, the country’s largest construction companies, and scores of high-ranking politicians. Last week, the drama rose to a new level. First, more than 3 million Brazilians turned out to protest the corruption and demand the ouster of President Dilma Rousseff. Then Ms. Rousseff, already facing a congressional impeachment initiative, resorted to a desperate and unscrupulous political manuver.

Ms. Roussef appointed former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as her chief of staff. The move might have made sense a year ago, when he remained a hugely popular national icon, but Mr. da Silva has recently become a target of the ongoing corruption investigations, suspected of accepting bribes and hiding his ownership of a beachfront condominium. His appointment had the effect of shielding him from the federal and state judges and prosecutors pursuing him — and one of them released wiretapped phone conversations that appeared to show Ms. Rousseff and Mr. da Silva conspiring to obstruct the investigation.

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