By Claire Bernish
A nonviolent coup to depose a democratically-elected president and install some of the most corrupt politicians — who, not coincidentally happen to be favored by the U.S. political establishment — is currently underway in Brazil. As the public’s attention zeroes on the readying of troops for deployment to Syria, the U.S. government has been able to quietly lend its approval to the crooked and baseless move to oust Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
Indeed, though the controversy over quintupling U.S. ground troops in Syria — despite vows by the Obama administration at least 16 times there would be ‘no boots on the ground’ — constitutes a valid and pertinent debate, it can’t be allowed to obfuscate what’s taking place in Brazil.
To understand the importance of the ongoing tumult, you need only look at who matters to both the Brazilian and U.S. political elite — and it clearly isn’t the 54 million people who re-elected Brazil’s first female president just 18 months ago.
First, it’s necessary to revisit the mechanics of the coup as well as the controversy surrounding those involved.
Brazil’s lower house of Congress voted to impeach Rousseff on April 17 on the premise of her alleged complicity in albeit relatively minor corruption. But the true impetus for Rousseff’s removal, contrary to the narrative championed by Brazil’s corporate media, is transparently evidenced in those calling for it — and in whom they wish to replace her with.
Bruno Araújo, a congressman who has been implicated as possibly receiving funds from a construction giant embroiled in a corruption scandal, helped tip the vote for impeachment earlier this month. Araújo, as the Intercept reported, belongs to the same PDSB party that lost four elections in a row to Rousseff’s Worker’s Party (PT).
“[T]he most important means for understanding the truly anti-democratic nature of what’s taking place,” the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald explained, “is to look at the person whom Brazilian oligarchs and their media organs are trying to install as president: the corruption-tainted, deeply unpopular, oligarch-serving Vice President Michael Temer.”
For all the negative attention trained on Rousseff, Temer’s unpopular image and duplicitous dealings are worse, and could be worthy of his own impeachment proceedings. And he isn’t alone.
“Altogether, 60 percent of the 594 members of Brazil’s Congress face serious charges like bribery, electoral fraud, illegal deforestation, kidnapping and homicide,” as The New York Times cited corruption watchdog, Transparency Brazil.
But PDSB seeks to bypass that not-at-all minor detail through Rouseff’s impeachment — which, if successful, would automatically bring Temer to power — much to the satisfaction of the United States government.
To wit, another major figure pushing for the removal of Rousseff, Senator Aloysio Nunes, traveled to Washington, D.C., the day after the impeachment vote to consult with the third most powerful State Department official, Thomas Shannon, in a closed-door meeting.
As co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Mark Weisbrot, explained in an article for the Huffington Post, Shannon had no obligatory duty to meet with Nunes — but his doing so sent a clear message of at least tacit acceptance of the impeachment proceedings by the White House.
U.S. support of the current coup echoes that of the previous Brazilian coup in 1964 — a violent usurpation of power by U.S.-friendly dictator, during which Dilma Rousseff, herself, became a victim of physical torture.
But perhaps the most telling indication of U.S. support for deposing Rousseff can be found in a detail of Nunes recent Washington trip. As the Intercept’s Andrew Fishman explained in an interview with Democracy Now, Nunes was a guest at a private luncheon thrown by the Albright Stonebridge Group — a firm co-founded by the former CEO of Kellogg and Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state under Bill Clinton.
“[O]ne of the senior advisers affiliated with the Albright Stonebridge Group,” Fishman, who is located in Brazil, noted, “is the leader of an organization down here that’s very involved in the push against the Dilma government.”
He added that “while the U.S. government hasn’t made any official stance” on Rousseff’s impending impeachment, “it seems pretty obvious as to what their stance is and which side they’re supporting or would support.”
Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.